Monthly ‘Open Mike Night’ helps ‘ward off winter blahs’

By Wally Robinson - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Fri., Jan. 28, 2011
Monte Michalec played guitar and sang during the Open Mike Night. Photo by Wally Robinson.
Monte Michalec played guitar and sang during the Open Mike Night. Photo by Wally Robinson.

STAFFORD - The Stafford Arts Commission held its monthly Open Mike Night at the Ben Muzio Town House on Jan. 20. The bitterly cold weather made for a sparse crowd, but did nothing to dim the enthusiasm of those who turned up for the event.
The evening is hosted by Town Troubadour Jim Bailey, who invites musicians, singers and spoken-word performers to take to the stage. “We do this on the third Thursday of the month during the winter, right through April,” he said. “The idea is not only to give the performers a venue, but to give folks in town another way to ward off the winter blahs.”
Among those appearing was Mike Peters, of Ashford, who played acoustic guitar and sang tunes of his own composition. A quiet, self-effacing young man, Peters enjoys expressing himself through music. “I’ve had a lot of time to practice lately,” he said with a rueful smile. “I’m unemployed right now.”
Local antique dealer Monte Michalec also played guitar and sang. He was later joined by his sister, Georgia, an Arts Commission stalwart who has taken up playing an African drum. “I was always and forever keeping time to music by tapping my fingers of the tabletop, so I figured, what the heck, give it a try,” she said. “I’m no threat to Santana, I’ll tell you that,” she laughed. “The truth is I’m not very good. Yet.”
Admission for the Open Mike Night is free to performers and audience members alike, and refreshments are always available.
Arts Commission members offered special thanks to sound technician Jim Lawlor, whose time and expertise do much to enhance the evening. They also announced plans for an April production of “Elvis People,” by Doug Grissom. The two-act comedy/drama is a series of short vignettes, each in its own way describing the incredible impact the star had on people.
Auditions will be held at Ben Muzio Hall Feb. 5 at 2 p.m., and Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. For more information about the play and other upcoming events, call 860-597-6326.

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