February 09, 2010

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 80, Issue 11

Attention NU performers: Showcase your talent at the 'Toast & Jam' open mic

Act from the 'Toast & Jam' perform at The Brickyard

Act from the 'Toast & Jam' perform at The Brickyard

The Lewiston Council on the Arts is holding its annual "Toast & Jam Open Mic Night" at The Brickyard Pub & BBQ in Lewiston on Monday nights. Each week, artists from as far as Portageville drive into Lewiston to share their musical abilities with a spirited and supportive crowd.

Now in its 11th year, this six-week series of open mic entertainment welcomes artists of all kinds to display their talent. Singers, poets, comics, dancers, performance artists and actors of all ages are able to enjoy a moment in the spotlight at "Toast & Jam." Niagara University students looking for a place to show off their performing skills are encouraged to do so at the "Toast & Jam."

Eva Nicklas, the artistic director for The Lewiston Council on the Arts, helped to start "Toast & Jam" and shared some insight about the event's beginning.

"We realized that there was a lot of local talent that needed to be spotlighted," she said. "We have performers that have been coming for years, and people in the area have really started to look forward to it. We love when we get new performers, and welcome everyone to come and show off their talent."

Singer/songwriter and open mic veteran Dale Campbell hosts this event and welcomes the audience with his own performance. On Feb. 15, the first night of "Toast and Jam," Campbell kicked the night off with a few country songs. Musicians also bravely performed rock, jazz and blues songs, involving the entire crowd in their sets throughout the night.

Solo performers and lively groups of musicians graced the stage with enjoyable original songs and covers of classics such as Elvis' hit "All Shook Up" and Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide."
Several of the participants welcomed each other to the stage during their performances, including some harmonizing duets in their sets to add more fun to the show. The welcoming and supportive atmosphere of the open mic night enhanced the musicians' sets, and their pleasure during their performances was visible.

Most of the participating musicians complemented their performances with acoustic or electric guitars, but some wowed the crowd with instruments you do not see everyday. A snare drum, autoharp, bongo and accordion were just a few interesting instruments that were incorporated into the night's performance, and they truly added to the performers' acts.

A highlight of the night was the energetic collaboration between a young fiddler and a spirited accordion player who met during the show and decided to play together.

Kathryn Serianni, the outreach coordinator of the LCA, expressed her pleasure during their performance, saying, "This is just another great example of why open mic nights are so great. You have people playing together that have never met before, and they put on a wonderful show!"

The Brickyard hosts "Toast & Jam" from 7 until 10 p.m. every Monday night through March 22.

Performers of all ages are welcome and encouraged to come and spotlight their talents.

For more information, visit: www.artcouncil.org/events/toastandjam.php.

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