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First ‘open mic night’ at Flower Memorial Library brings out stories and songs


A trial run of an “open mic” night at Flower Memorial Library Wednesday night brought out songs, stories and poetry.

The event was the creation of Suzie C. Renzi-Falge, reference librarian and organizer of adult programs at Flower Memorial Library.

“I’m always looking for new programming ideas and I had a few people mention they might be interested in an open mic night at the library,” Ms. Renzi-Falge said.

A half a dozen people attended the inaugural event. The turnout was a pleasant surprise for Ms. Renzi-Falge.

“We have a pretty good crowd tonight for the first one ever,” she said during a break at the event held in the community room on the first floor. “I’m highly impressed with the amount of people who brought their written words. I honestly thought we’d get more music.”

It was opened by singer and guitarist Amanda J. Phillips, the sole musician for the evening. She performed two songs: “The Man Who Would Be Santa” by Vertical Horizon and “Breathe” by Anna Nalick.

It was only the second time that Mrs. Phillips, events coordinator at the Black River Valley Club, performed in front of people.

“It was good practice,” she said.

The library open mic night is also good for getting over the fear of speaking or performing in front of people, said Kristina Rusho, who read a poem, “Anger,” and a short story, with the tentative title of “Love.”

“It’s not easy to read in front of people,” she said. “But once you get up there, it’s not like people are throwing tomatoes at you. It’s just overcoming the fear.”

Miss Rusho’s short story concerns a couple who leave on a road trip and quarrel over things ranging from pork rinds to personal habits before being involved in a car crash as their memories flame out.

“I tried out a few things I was toying with,” said Miss Rusho, marketing manager for Caskinette Lofink Ford in Carthage. “It helps to hear it out loud. I’m going to go back and fix all the terrible alliteration problems because I was stumbling over my words.”

Watertown playwright Craig S. Thornton, who has had his plays produced in New York City, Los Angeles and regionally, brought along some poetry and film commentary.

“Poetry is more for fun,” he said. “It’s playing with words. I don’t consider myself a very good poet at all. But I like to experiment with other genres. It keeps me flexible.”

He added, “Plays don’t read well in front of crowds. You’d have to bring in actors.”

Ms. Renzi-Falge said based on the turnout for the first open mic night, she’ll likely host another, but as yet it is unscheduled. Last Wednesday night’s open mic was held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. A few participants said a 6 p.m. start would work better and that it would be nice to host it monthly.

“I think it’s a great event to continue,” said Mr. Thornton. “There’s a lot of people who like to write out there.”

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