Open Mic Night highlights talent and fellowship within the APU community.

Sparkling Christmas lights, the smell of firewood and brave hearts filled Seven Palms on Friday evening as Communiversity’s Performing Arts held its traditional Open Mic Night.

One by one, 13 performers took the stage to showcase their talents in front of an audience of around 100 people. The students’ performances ranged from original song covers and duets to self-written poems, catering to the “starry night” theme of the event.

The crowd that gathered was large, but Dominque Butler, a freshman kinesiology major, compared the atmosphere to a karaoke night with her family in the living room.

Cheers were audible from the crowd as friends shouted out performers’ names, sang along to songs, danced and applauded the performers’ efforts.

“The fact that [these artists] are taking time out of [their] days to perform and are putting [themselves] in a risky position is admirable and should be celebrated whether or not [they] reach the standard of success,” said Connor Lott, a senior marketing major who performed at the event.

“Moxy” Mohr and Jeslin Preap, Communiversity Performing Arts interns and microphone controllers for the night, kicked off the event by welcoming the crowd and by introducing the first performer to the stage.

Dhyana Kimie-Brylka, a sophomore music and worship major, played an original song called “Shadow Box” on her ukulele. Kimie-Brylka said her song was personal, but she was eager to share it so that it could impact the crowd members.

As the night continued, the crowd wrapped themselves in blankets and pillows that were laid out across the lawn and were offered s’mores, popcorn and hot chocolate by event staff. The strung-up Christmas lights and candles lining the stage provided a luminous glow to the atmosphere and cut-out paper stars were hung in the background.

Natasha Minier, a sophomore English major, performed a self-written poem titled “The Mask,” inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Minier’s poem was motivated by the everyday struggles of students, and its relatability stilled the crowd.

“I wanted to send a message because we’re at an age where we’re continuously going through struggles,” Miner said. “We’re trying to figure out who we are, what we are supposed to do, what our place is [and] what major is right for us.”

Lott performed the last two acts of the night by playing the guitar and harmonica in unison. Lott started with a cover of the hymn “Be Thou My Vision,” and sang an original song titled “I Love You.” “I Love You” is rooted in the idea of convicted civility and in loving one another.

“Though we have a lot of differences as people, why can’t we love each other…no matter what we do––especially from a Christian worldview,” Lott explained. “It’s a really important message that [can] hopefully [be communicated] through music in a way that just works candidly.”

Preap said she was grateful to have been one of the coordinators of Open Mic Night, for it was rooted in communal traditions and was “more than just a little talent show.”

“People that sign up for Open Mic Night are so brave. They just want to showcase their talents and their passions, and being able to [be a part] of that process has been super fun,” Preap explained.

“The best part of every event [is] standing back and seeing different groups of people interacting,” Preap said. “It is a great way…to build community and a great way to reach people.”