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Davis, California

Friday, May 24, 2024

Open Mic, open heart


Entertainment Council event offers healing, de-stressing for students

Studying at the CoHo usually entails stuffing your face full of pastries and chugging four cups of coffee, but ASUCD Entertainment Council (EC) has added an additional free element of pleasure.

At least once or twice a month, EC hosts an Open Mic Night featuring some of UC Davis’ most talented students, hosting a variety of acts including music, spoken word and comedy. Haley Noble, a second-year communications and psychology double major and assistant director for EC, is the main coordinator for the event. With her team at EC, she looks through student performance submissions sent to the EC email to put together a program for each event.

“We have people that come out [who] are electrical engineers [or] design majors, so it’s really cool to see how diverse the student body is with what their academics are, but also that they have this creative side,” Noble said.  

Most of the events take place on weeknights to provide a study break for students.

“[UC] Davis is so academic and I like to think EC can make it fun, and help students relieve stress through being entertained, and I think there’s a lot of value in that which can often be overlooked when you’re stressed in school,” Noble said.

Open Mic Night aims to create a safe space for students who might not have connections to perform in other venues or who are first-time performers.

“So many people are so afraid [and have] stage fright. It’s personal growth at the micro-level and also it creates a more diverse experience at Davis,” Noble said.

This organic no-frills environment is evident to the audience as well. Jessica Kim, a third-year computer science major, believes this space is key to giving students a supportive setting to perform.

“It gives students a chance to express or have a safe space to share music [and art] that may not be comfortable sharing in a more professional environment, [and they] can really express themselves without the pressure of having to perform at a certain level,” Kim said.

Samantha Sipin, a fourth-year English major, has performed at Open Mic Night three times and often showcases her own songs. For her, this space is especially important in the wake of the recent election results. She performed the day after the election and sang a song that she wrote called “Mary.

“In light of the election, I felt that I needed to reaffirm my queer identity. I don’t put many political messages in my songs, at least not intentionally, but singing ‘Mary’ felt subversive and empowering,” Sipin said. “And now, that’s how I want all my songs to be, not just for my sake, but for anyone who feels like they could be erased because they’re not adequately represented.”

Through singing, Sipin hopes to not only navigate her own feelings about the election but also to help her audience.

“I would urge people not to underestimate the healing power of music. I know this is an extremely trying time for lots of groups and minorities,” Sipin said. “People have often turned to music [to express] their frustration with the system or their frustration with their own oppression. I think we could all benefit from looking at the arts to give us some solstice in this time of chaos and unrest.”

To hear Samantha Sipin’s work, follow her on SoundCloud.

For more information about upcoming Open Mic Nights, visit EC’s Facebook.


Written by: Abigail Wang — arts@theaggie.org


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