Open mic event allows cultural exchange between students

The Haitian Student Organization and the Temple University Philippine American Council collaborated to host the event for student performers.

(Left) Kate Martin, a junior film and media arts major, prepares for the next verse in her poem as senior music technology major Zacharie Raphael sings a solo at Morgan Hall on Feb. 21. | ISAAC SCHEIN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University’s Haitian Student Organization and the Temple University Philippine American Council hosted “Mosaic of Cultural & Human Alikeness,” an annual open mic and coffee house event at Morgan Hall on Friday.

Around 75 students, friends and supporters attended the evening event.

MOCHA was founded in Spring 2019 to bridge cultural gaps between students through art and musical expression. The two organizations collaborated once again this semester to bring the program back for a second time.

“I wanted to break the bubble of collaborating with only Asian organizations on campus,” said Lucas Geniza, a 2019 music technology alumnus and co-founder of MOCHA.

Geniza, the creative director of TUPAC last year, and his friend Zacharie Raphael, a senior music technology major and HSO’s marketing and promotions chair,  came together and created the concept of MOCHA. When they brought the idea to their respective organizations, both groups were immediately on board.

 “I think a beautiful way to connect people is through music,” Geniza said. “I think one thing as people we need to do more listening and hear people out.”

“We always strive to have a presence on campus,” said Garlie St-Cyr, vice president of HSO and a sophomore public health and healthcare management major. “Continuing MOCHA and trying to make this an annual thing, we believe that it will increase our presence, awareness and give people the opportunity to showcase art they may not feel comfortable with showing otherwise,” St-Cyr said.

From acoustic solos to spoken word performances, the event featured a wide range of musical and poetic talent by more than 20 student performers.

Nasir Mack, a sophomore double business management and media studies major, performed his song, “Red Suns,” from his newest music project, “Colors,” under the stage name, “Mizzy Mack.”

“‘Red Suns’ talks about contrasting of two people in a relationship who bring out the worst and best of each other,” he said. “It talks about vulnerability and struggles with being vulnerable.” 

“I hope that my performance makes people think deeper about vulnerability,” Mack said before the show. “Culture is one of the most beautiful things in the world and music is a language that unifies different cultures and brings people together.” 

Mack was among one of several students who performed original pieces at MOCHA.

Joshua Spaet, a sophomore music technology major, was another student who performed an original song.

“I wasn’t able to perform for a long time because I had a voice condition and couldn’t reliably sing, so I didn’t perform for a year and a half,” he said. “Now I’m getting back into it and any opportunity for a performance I hop right on it.” Spaet sang his song, i’m not worth a second of your time.”

Spaet said he was excited to be a part of an event full of cultural exchange.

“There so many different cultures, particularly musically, so what constitutes as “normal music” is so different within each and every culture,” he said.

For Geniza, it was a proud moment to see MOCHA happen once again.

“A humbling thing for me to see an idea I had in a notebook come to life”, he said. “I don’t want to take all the credit; I couldn’t have done this without the support of my friends.”

(Left) AJ Bartolome, a sophomore business and management major, begins the open mic night singing a duet with senior biology major AaronRey Ebreo at Morgan Hall on Feb. 21. | ISAAC SCHEIN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

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