Fourth Anniversary of Open Mic

Shortly after 9/11 Heather Pierson noticed that people were hunkering down, not coming out and socializing as much as they used to. This bothered Heather and she got the idea of starting an Open Mic to help bring people together. She contacted the First Universalist Church of Norway Maine and her first Open Mic was held on the last Friday evening of January 2002.

On January 27, 2006, the four year birthday of Heather Pierson’s Open Mic was celebrated with great enthusiasm at the church. The concert hall was crowded with people of all ages, some newcomers, and some old timers (often young) who hadn’t shown up for years. One young old-timer named Josh played a flute, with Heather on the piano, in a beautiful and remarkable duet improvisation. Josh then sang unaccompanied two beautiful songs of his own creation in a deep and mesmerizing baritone. This was the highlight for me but there were many other highlights.

The wandering minstrel of Bethel enchanted us with stories of peace and beautiful tones from his Indian flutes, and the Indian flute playing of Kelleher and his stories also captivated us. Nate Towne was at his best performing his own songs in a strong and vigorous style with great guitar playing and singing. There was a quiet man with a beautiful dulcimer who lovingly strummed out and sang his own creations to great applause. A young Chinese girl, the new step child of old-timer Russell Moat, skillfully played three classical pieces on the piano, titles in Chinese script, and then apologized for making mistakes which drew laughter and more applause. Then there were the two young women, one named Suzanne who attended the church at one time, who got up and effortlessly sang three beautiful songs unaccompanied. Later their two children, a boy of one woman and a girl of the other, created a brief but hilarious comedy sketch to much applause. The girl’s name is Mahina daughter of Suzanne. A long-time performer named Bob, science teacher at the Molly Ockett school, presented Heather with a bouquet of flowers in appreciation of her terrific leadership of the Open Mic over the past four years. He then did some amazing guitar work and singing. Several other performers, including yours truly with three poems, took the stage, and the evening closed in its traditional manner with Irish songs and poems by old-timer Tom Foley.

All in all the evening was filled with much applause and good feelings all around. A drawing was held at the end and several interesting prizes were awarded. Many pitched in at the end to help Heather clean up and restore the many tables to their proper places. What a great evening! :-)

  1. Mardy’s avatar

    Ok, that’s it in a nutshell, a sane and polished exercise good for the Norway UU Church newsletter. So, hey, what really did happen at that Open Mic? :-)

    I tell ya one thing, I was getting tired after the break and maybe a third to a half of the people had left. Also, poor Russell with his persistent Lyme disease had to turn the thermostat down and it got even colder after he left. Finally I think Heather turned it back up a bit which helped. And Tom Foley was tired as well and cut his gig back to singing only “Tu ra lu ra lu rah”. Red Wing asked me what it meant in Irish but I couldn’t answer her because I didn’t know.

    But I was overwhelmed by that duet of Heather on piano and Josh (looked almost babyish with fuzz around his chin but he must have been twenty-something) on the flute, a real flute, one you hold sideways not up and down. Heather’s playing was incredibly rapid and brilliant and seemed so effortless and Josh would always come in at just the right point I felt to add a beautiful upswing tone and music and swing to the incredible thing. It could have gone on indefinitely I felt. Took my breath away.

    I didn’t do too badly myself. Had three poems, a silly one, a deeply sad one, and an upbeat one. The silly one was of course Jabberwocky. I even passed out color pictures and got a lot of laughs. The deeply sad one was, what else, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. I played this one for all it’s worth and felt it too. Then I closed with the romantic Mary Oliver and her “Why I Wake Early”.

    Ok, haven’t I gone on long enough for now? :-) :-)

  2. zgirl’s avatar

    Wow. What a great report Zdad! Sorry I missed it..

    What about Mary the Ukelale Lady? Did she miss the 4th anniversery? I like her.
    She sings a song about going to the Fryeburg Fair.

    It can be hard to leave the house on a freezing January night. What a trooper you are for getting out and going!

  3. Mardy’s avatar

    Thanks, zgirl! No, Mary the Uke Lady didn’t make it. She must have been sick or something because she has been so loyal in the past. Yes, zDad’s a trooper, and sometimes, well, even a pooper, a proper pooper? lol :-)

  4. zgirl’s avatar

    A proper pooper? AHA!

    At least you’re not a pooper popper.
    That would really be a BUMMER.


  5. zgirl’s avatar

    Potty humor alert!


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