The school year is upon us, and that means late-night hours cramming in College Library, ingesting large amounts of caffeine to stay awake through lectures and, thankfully, fun events across campus like Open Mic Night at Der Rathskeller. 

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, the first of this year’s Open Mic Nights will commence and some students will grasp the opportunity to showcase their talents on stage, while others come to spectate, hang out and enjoy some local talent. The Union encourages all kinds of musical performances, poetry, and comedy. 

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The crowds at Open Mic Night tend to be a very forgiving bunch, but, besides a few Rathskeller regulars, don’t expect a packed house for your performance. 

It’s always a good idea to bring some friends along for support in case the audience isn’t too receptive, but even if you’re flying solo you will definitely have a good time performing at the Rath.

I got the chance to perform a rap song at an Open Mic Night my freshman year with a few of my friends, and it was a great learning experience. I was super nervous beforehand and had no idea how the audience would receive our off-the-wall, politically charged song, but the reception was positive and I made a few quality friends in the audience afterwards. 

The vibe of Open Mic Night proves warm and welcoming to all performers, even when there is a gap in talent and experience from performer to performer. This is the beauty of the event from the audience’s perspective — nobody knows how the performance is going to go down until it happens, and there are usually a lot of unknown artists who have been too afraid to perform on stage in the past and surprise the audience with their talents.

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Memorial Union does an outstanding job of providing high quality mics, a stellar sound system and audio engineers to take care of any performer’s needs. The event begins at 8 p.m. every Wednesday, but make sure to get there at 7:45 p.m. if you want to secure a slot to perform. Performances are typically seven to 10 minutes long.

Whether you want to perform or just spectate and hang out, come out to Memorial Union tomorrow night and help the school kick off another year of Open Mic Night.