The spotlight for diversity & laughter: ECC’s spartan mic night

Vanessa Passo

“Can we dim the lights a little?……Aliiittle bit more?”

The crowd erupts in giggles as Alex Perteete, a second year student at Elgin Community College, takes her seat at the piano, spotlight shining along the black and white keys, feeling the nerves of the eye’s of about 30 people anticipating her act.

These nerves and anxious butterflies were not uncommon for most of the nine performers at ECC’s Spartan Mic Night on the evening of Dec. 2.

In room H245, students, family and friends gathered for talent, food and laughs at 7 p.m, to be entertained by ECC’s very own students.

Spartan Mic Night was hosted by the Performing Arts Club, and President Marcus Koseck did the honors of hosting the night filled with acts of singing, instrument-playing, stand up comedy, spoken word poetry, storytelling and even improvisation.

“I don’t feel like student’s have enough performance opportunities, and so I wanted something where they can just do a short performance, and as many people who wanted to perform could perform”, said Performing Arts Club Adviser Susan Robinson, in regards to the creation of this free event.

This opportunity for students to perform has been ongoing for a short amount of time at ECC.

“My first year was two years ago, and we started it that first semester,” Robinson said.

The talented performances were not the only things filled that night; so were the seats in the crowd! Koseck was enthusiastic about the turnout for this semester’s event.

“[The turnout was] rather well”, Koseck said. “More than I expected!”

The opportunity to perform in a Spartan Mic Night is rather simple, and such an open opportunity may be often overlooked for how easy it is for students to actually perform.

Koseck reiterated this fact, saying “There’s always things going on, so just email me or contact me!”

Taking advantage of the openness of the opportunity, ECC student Raul Hernandez, 28, told a short story  the pleasure to witness that night.

“I was nervous, but when I went up I eased into it. I was wondering ‘can they hear me? Can they understand me?’”, Hernandez said in regards to his first experience performing at Spartan Mic Night.

Although a first-timer at open mic, Hernandez is not unfamiliar with the theatre classes offered at ECC, taking enrollment in Acting I, Voice for the Stage, and Improvisation to Theatre.

Hernandez shares thoughts to fellow students on his own theatre experiences and why it might be of benefit to participate in them for themselves.

“[They] help you out of your shyness! You can be another character, it feels kind of free,” Hernandez said.

It is this very attitude that Robinson hopes to emulate from students through the use of art and performing, and why events such as Spartan Mic Night are something she truly values as an instructor, adviser and director.

“Now it’s more important than ever that we have community events where we can come together and both celebrate our talents and also speak for the people who don’t get to use their voice on a regular basis,” Robinson said. “We have to speak in diverse voices so that we can teach empathy to the world. So, that’s how I feel…that I am being called to respond to what is going on in the world.”

She predicts a hopeful future for the Performing Arts Club.

“We will be doing more of these, and many other things, because right now it is really important that we speak and use our voices for good…that’s what art’s for!”