Students and Galesburg residents alike have found a place to perform their art. Without a need to sign gig contracts, open mics at the Beanhive have given a creative outlet to those who need it. Mary Christianson, owner of the Beanhive, said that she began holding the open mics in January 2013 as one of the first changes she made since she took over as owner.
“I think we’ve kind of gotten a better idea about making the transitions from performer to performer a little bit easier,” she said.
Christianson said the supportive community and positive vibes have provided a space for musicians to feel comfortable to share their art and connect with other musicians. She has been able to witness several friendships result from sharing experiences at the open mics.
Freshman Noah Zand sees the open mics as an opportunity to gain experience in performing music live. Zand began singing in high school, and recently began playing guitar and writing his own music. Though he has been in choir, he hadn’t had much prior experience in performing live. After hearing about the open mic from other choir students, he developed an interest and performed his own solo set prior his group performance. He hopes that the experiences he has performing at The Beanhive will prepare him for playing at larger, more professional gigs. The support and forgiving nature of the community allows for experimentation and mistakes to be made. He feels that the experience of playing in an informal atmosphere is important in an artist’s learning process. Zand mentioned that the open mics provide an opportunity for musicians to perform without the added pressure of trying to perform a piece without flaw.
“I like music and I enjoy performing, and the open mics offer a good place to do that and just have fun with it,” Zand said.
In addition to performing at The Beanhive, Zand is working on his own EP and plans to participate in the DIY Galesburg projects once it’s completed.
Freshman Tristan Schuerman considers the open mics to be beneficial for those who are just beginning to play live music. Schuerman has been playing guitar for around 11 years and started singing around six years ago. He feels that the open mics offer a good balance of practicing his work live while still being able to complete his schooling. He also explained that playing at a local setting gives people an opportunity to learn to play live music. Schuerman mentioned that he is heavily involved with his band back home, and the open mics offer him a chance to experience performing in a different setting and with a different group of people.
“A lot of people have nerves, so playing at events like this gives people an opportunity to learn how to deal with those obstacles in a welcoming community,” Schurman said.
Freshman Soleil Smith found the idea of open mics appealing after seeing posters advertising them around campus and hearing other people talk about their experiences participating. She has been performing with Schuerman and Zand for about a month, but they had not performed at the open mics as a group prior to this month. Smith has been playing the bass for about three years but has only been playing the guitar for about a year.
“This is our first time playing at the open mic as a group, but we have a good time performing together,” Smith said.
She hopes to continue performing with Zand and Schuerman at the open mics, as well as other gigs around Galesburg.
Cameron Schierer, a sophomore at Carl Sandburg College, has been a regular customer at The Beanhive and the open mics for three years. After attending the open mics for about a year, Schierer felt comfortable enough within the community to perform himself. He performsed in a band and had played other shows elsewhere, but was still relatively inexperienced in performing solo before the open mics.
“I actually really hadn’t performed anywhere else by myself beforehand so this is kind of the first place. And it just seemed like a nice place to be able to start,” he said.
He emphasized that the people involved in the shows and the community in general provide a place for musicians to grow and develop in an encouraging and lighthearted environment. Aside from performing, Schierer writes poetry as well as his own music. Though Schierer doesn’t consider himself a strong vocalist, he considers his less than professional vocals to be part of his ‘charm.’ He tends to play a variety of music when he performs, ranging from his own music to covers of music from the movie “Frozen.”
Morgan Jellison ‘16 first saw the open mics as an opportunity to perpetuate his band, The New Regular’s, name and improve the overall quality of the band’s performance. Though he has been involved with his band since last year during Lincoln Fest, he only recently became involved with the open mics.
“This year I’ve been trying to get more things together for us, cleaning us up, more sets, more songs,” Jellison said. “And I thought that there was no better way to do that and get our name out there than at the open mics.”
He performs at the events either by himself or with a combination of a few of the six members of the band. Though Jellison has a few friends who frequent his performances, he would rather avoid pressuring his peers to listen and attend his shows. Jellison said that, while he has never performed a cover, he takes inspirations from songs and uses that to write a similar song of his own. He mentioned that a characteristic of successful musicians is taking inspiration from others and creating a new version of an existing piece.
“Good musicians borrow, but great musicians steal,” he said.