It was a peaceful, tranquil night. The Bell Tower, in the center of Main Campus, was the “perfect location to grab people’s attention,” said Kayla Raniero, a freshman student design major.
Raniero organized an open mic night for music and spoken word at the Bell Tower on Sept. 12, at which she also performed.
“I want this to be a safe place for people to just let their art out,” Raniero said.
Raniero said her goal for the event was to allow artists to be free and open with their artwork in front of an engaged, responsive and friendly audience. Passersby who witnessed the event gathered in front of the Bell Tower, some joining in.
Raniero said that closeness has always enticed her. Originally from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Raniero said she came to Temple to explore the local music scene.
The event experienced a half-hour delay due to missing technical equipment and the absence of an outlet, but was resolved by eliminating the microphone altogether; performers were simply made to talk openly to the audience, adding to the affection and closeness of the gathering.
The open mic catered multiple mediums of performance art. It combined poets, singers, synth players, trombonists, guitarists and artists.
“[The open mic is] a good way to start a conversation,” said poet Gabrielle Weaver, a freshman psychology major. “I felt better about my work after the open mic. This should happen more often.”
Keeland Bowers, a freshman jazz performance and media studies and production double major, shared a poem about sexuality and objectification.
“I needed to be really good, because I didn’t want to embarrass myself,” Bowers said. “I knew it was important to my friends. I felt good about it. It provided a safe space for artists to present their work, and I was pleased and invigorated by my own writing and performance.”
Raniero performed at sunset. “It was awesome, because thanks to us not having an outlet, I had to play an actual synthesizer. I’ve usually just played a keyboard on synth settings, so I had to adjust to it pretty quickly,” she said.
Raniero said the unpredictability helped her grow as an artist and push herself out of her comfort zone.
“I had to sing louder, and that attracted attention from passersby,” Raniero said.
One audience member noticed that the event organizers experienced some technical difficulties.
“The setup wasn’t that great, but they tried to make it work,” Diana Nguyen, a freshman political science major, said.
Even so, Reniro said she thinks that the performers benefited from the relaxed environment.
“The event was super impromptu, which actually made it feel comfortable and intimate,” she said.
Anmol Hedge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.