Students at Ladysmith Secondary School have been performing in open mic nights at the school every five to six weeks since February, and next week, they’ll finish the year on a high note.
The final Ladysmith Secondary School [LSS] open mic night of the school year will take place Tues., June 12, and the community is encouraged to come out and see students from Grade 8 to 12 showcase their talents.
Griffin Russell, a drug and alcohol counsellor at the school, says it’s an incredible experience to see students have the courage to get up on stage and perform and to see people in the audience yelling and clapping in encouragement.
“That’s the most significant impact it’s had on me — you get to see the goodness,” he said.
The open mic is held quarterly throughout the school year.
“It’s really a collection of different youth from the school who want to take that opportunity to perform and to showcase some kind of musical ambition they’re having,” said Russell.
There are about 10 to 12 performers each time, and performers have included bands, guitarists, singers, poets and spoken word artists.
“Sometimes, depending on the size of the audience, someone out of the audience will come up and perform,” noted Russell. “I like to see that happening because I think that will encourage more people to do that, and that’s more in line with traditional open mics where you don’t have a set list of who’s going to perform and people can be more spontaneous and come out of the audience and perform.”
About 100 to 150 people come out to watch each open mic.
“It’s a nice collection of parents of current students and performers, but also grandparents and neighbours and also parents of past students who really like the energy of it, and of course the performers’ friends with signs,” said Russell.
In the past, LSS’s open mic nights have been driven by a group of youth at the school, but this year’s open mics had a bit of a late start. The open mic nights started in February, and this will be the fourth one this year.
“We’re trying to end it on a high note and build momentum going into next year,” said Russell. “It’s worth coming out, and we do have a lot of talented youth in our community. They benefit in having people come out and show interest in what they do. What I appreciate about it is the degree of respect and courtesy shown between performers and audience — that’s incredibly inspiring and encouraging.”
Russell says there have been a lot of younger performers this year who are in Grade 8 and 9, and it has been inspiring to watch them grow — it also bodes well for next year.
“That’s the thing I guess I’m most excited for next year — we watch people grow and develop, not only in their musical ambition, but also in their ability to work with their instrument and in their performance,” he said. “They never play the same song twice. They’re going away from that and building on that, and they’re trying to build their skills with their instruments and their performances. You definitely see a lot of growth and improvement.”
The LSS open mic night will be held Tues., June 12 at 7 p.m. at the school. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is by donation, and there will be snacks and refreshments.