This past Friday, Knox broke out of the traditional on-campus bubble to perform at Off Knox, an open microphone that welcomes students, professors and community members alike.
Originally the brainchild of associate professor of English Gina Franco, Off Knox is held several times yearly and offers an open forum for anyone from Knox College or the Galesburg community to present their work, whether it be prose, poetry or a musical selection.
Although the event has traditionally been organized by a post-bach student, this year junior Willi Goehring has stepped in to fill the role of lead coordinator and was enthused about his role in putting it together.
“I’ve wanted to [organize] it for a long time,” he said. “When I was a first-year, I thought it was the coolest thing ever.” He also expressed appreciation for the fact that Off Knox offers students to present their work to a live audience.
“So often the writing work at this school doesn’t make it off the paper,” he said.
For the first time, Off Knox was held at The Center. Located on Cherry Street, The Center functions almost as a community center and offers events and programs that help bridge the gap between Knox and the Galesburg community. Although the venue will change for each performance, Goehring was particularly enthusiastic about holding it at The Center.
“It’s a way to connect with the community,” he said. “People from Knox and Galesburg get together and create a larger discourse about where we live. That’s what the arts are about.”
The arts performed included a wide diversity of acts. The most popular genre of the evening was poetry and several students read their original compositions, some leaning towards the humorous side while others explored more serious subjects. Franco read her non-fiction essay that explored topics from religion to art to Kierkegaard and ended by tying them all together.
Several students read the works of authors other then themselves in order to gain performance experience. Musical acts, interspersed effectively throughout the evening, ranged from groups playing folk tunes to one-man bands playing both guitar and harmonica to a cappella.
The event drew a good-sized crowd- the room was full at the start of the evening and more people continued to squeeze in the back throughout the night. Most of them appeared to appreciate the evening’s events, even though the open mic event lacked a real microphone.
“I liked the intimate performance setting between the audience and the performer,” said sophomore Katrina Firor. “The fact that there was no microphone made me feel more connected with the performers.”
“I was very impressed by everybody’s work,” said sophomore Micahel Kaminski. “It was nice to be able to go there and support people’s endeavors.”