UNC’s Homecoming: Open Mic Night

Student performing at Open Mic Night. Photo Courtesy of Madalyn Benham.

The week of Oct. 14 up until Oct. 19 was Homecoming spirit week at the University of Northern Colorado. The theme was “Bearea51” this year.

With various events taking place around campus during homecoming week, one event that remains constant throughout the semesters is “Open Mic Night,” hosted in the UNC Campus Commons. Open Mic Night is an event where students, of any year or major, are able to display their talents in front of their peers. Many students performed in groups or as individuals, demonstrating their talents through songwriting, singing, reciting poetry, playing an instrument, by disc jockeying, and more.

A UNC sophomore and a theater studies major, Ann Marie Parra, presented one of her own original poems titled, “Mr. Dream Guy,” and she also performed a karaoke version of a Latin American song called “Cucurucu” by Lola Beltrán.

“I grew up a Latin dancer, I did it my whole life,” said Parra, “My mom chose a song for me to sing one day in my performing arts class and I ended up singing it, from there I taught myself how to sing. My mom is a dance instructor also, so I grew up with a dance background.”

Parra performs at many different locations, as well.


“I do performing arts of all sorts, so I’m also in the Musical in the Heights which is a cultural thing that Operation Cheesecake is hosting,” Parra said. “My favorite places to perform depend on what I’m performing; for my poems I’m always here at Open Mic, but for dancing and singing I normally perform at cultural events in the cultural centers. César Chávez house and the Mexican American studies is having a Día de los Muertos event so I’ll also be performing there.”

Operation Cheesecake is a theater for social change group on campus that produces and performs various forms of art for the UNC community. The group consists of a board of producers that address different social justice issues that they want to create/provide art for, giving them a wide range of projects. Operation Cheesecake reaches out to people all around UNC, creating movement pieces for events, such as the MLK March that took place last year. 

UNC”s Homecoming these was #Bearia51. Photo courtesy of Madalyn Benham.

A UNC sophomore and art and design major Elayna Hughes, performed two of her own original songs, one titled, “Joseph,” after her friend, and the other titled, “I want my Effing Books Back,”

“I just started doing Open Mics over this past summer and it’s just something I enjoyed and started doing,” said Hughes, “I just started performing by myself this summer, but I’ve been apart of a few choirs.”

Currently, Hughes is only involved in Open Mic events.

“Right now it’s just this, Open Mic, but I’m currently looking for something more regular,” Hughes said.

UNC senior and business marketing major, Matthew McQuirk, and a known DJ around UNC’s campus, performed an unnamed beat that he wrote on his turntable, where he presented the art of scratching,

“I started performing when I was 15,” said McQuirk, “I just got into it because of my love for hip hop, and I want to show people that DJing isn’t just EDM and electronic music. I want to bring the art of scratching and turn-tableism to a newer generation since I didn’t really grow up with anything like that, that’s what I want to do.”

McQuirk said his favorite events to play at are parties and venues.

“I love open mics, but parties and venues are my favorite place to play at,” McQuirk said. “I’ve done a couple of paid, professional side projects besides the performances, occasionally I’ll work with clients. But I love showing people what real DJing is, it’s not all just pushing buttons and using a laptop.”

The Open Mic Night Event at UNC takes place a couple times per school year. The upcoming and final Open Mic Night for the year is December 2 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the UNC Campus Commons. Any and all students are allowed to participate, so UNC students can stop in and perform, or sit back and watch their peers perform.


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