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A spotlight on student talent

Murmurs of conversation in the Shade Family Room are silenced by the lights cutting out completely, followed by a blue light slowly emulating from beneath the stage. 

Eager students await their chance for the spotlight, but more make up the audience cozying up in the various leather armchairs around the room. The emcees make their way up to the mics, and that can only mean one thing.

It’s showtime.  

This past Friday, Miami Activities and Programming (MAP) did something they had never done before. They hosted an open mic night, with the door open to all kinds of talents including poetry, singing and stand-up comedy. 

Director of MAP Series Events Alissa Cook said that it was an idea the organization had been tinkering with for a while. 

“It is basically what we did with our coffee house series but with the performer being the students,” Cook said. 

MAP’s coffee house series involved with a musician coming to Miami University and performing whatever they wanted to. 

Some people signed up before the show started, but with the show’s placement being in one of the main entrances of Armstrong, a lot of students were inspired enough to sign up throughout the night as they could not help but be lured in by the spectacle. 

First-year Sakshi Shah performed a song that was entirely in Hindi. She found out about the event through MAP’s Instagram page, and she knew she wanted to take part in it. 

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it or not because of my homework,” Shah said. “But I got it done and stopped by. It seemed really chill so I just picked a song. I enjoy singing so I really just wanted to give it a shot.”

Her impromptu performance got rave reviews from the crowd, and Shah is looking forward to the next open mic night. 

The top performance of the night, from the audience’s reaction, was from a three-person group that called themselves Used Car Dealership. Sophomores Owen Berg, Nathaniel Ike and Lyric Rains-Bury all teamed up very soon after the event began. 

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“I found out about [open mic] at 9 p.m.” Berg said. “I called Lyric up at 9:20 p.m. and we were all on stage by 10:10 p.m.” 

Their set was also impromptu, as Berg played the chords to “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 on his guitar while Rains-Bury rapped over it. The audience was jamming along when suddenly the performance switched up. Berg began playing “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. and Ike began singing. Rains-Bury and Ike soon became a rap/sung duo and the crowd could not get enough of it. 

The night was not just a gateway for Miami’s talent, it was also an opportunity for the students to watch their peers showcase their artistic side. 

“I loved it with every fiber of my being,” sophomore Erin Bingaman said. “I loved the fact that people were going up there to show off their talents regardless if they were [the best] or not. It was fun.”

Overall, MAP was very pleased with how successful the night went. 

“I think it went really well.” Cook said, “I was really excited to see all of the talent we had at Miami, and I don’t think we have a lot of opportunities like this.”

MAP is in the process of organizing more events that put student talent front and center with a live band karaoke night coming this November. For more information on more MAP events, email