Last night a variety of music, ranging from Backstreet Boys to The Beatles, was covered in East Commons.
Student Leader Advocates of Music held its first ever open mic night, showcasing student talent Tuesday evening in 103 Johnston Commons.
SLAM!, founded last year by Ian Weissman, is Penn State’s first and only philanthropy-focused organization for student and local musicians. The group aims to empower musicians and those interested in music to make positive changes in the community by teaching music lessons to underprivileged children in local schools and busking, or performing on the streets, to raise money for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation once the weather warms up. The group also plans on holding more open mic nights and benefit concerts. Weissman (junior-history) said that he began the group as a project through his internship with Penn State Hillel.
He got the idea when he saw people in downtown State College busking for Relay for Life. He is also working with a student from University of California, Los Angeles who is doing the same project there.
Because it was the first open mic night, Weissman and the other members of SLAM! weren’t sure how many people would attend the event. But by the end of the six performances, almost every seat in the room had been filled, which pleased Weissman.
Hannah Ramsey attended the open mic night to support one of her friends who serves as the vice president of SLAM! Though she doesn’t play any instruments, she decided to join the organization that night.
Ramsey (freshman-biology) said that of the six performances, she most enjoyed Brian Kilkelly’s because he had a different sound.
“It’s something I would download,” she said.
Kilkelly (junior-psychology) — a member of SLAM! — said he liked playing open mic nights because of the atmosphere.
“It’s nice to see everybody perform,” he said.
Kilkelly surprised attendees by taking off one of his shoes and slipping a tambourine onto his ankle before he began playing.
“It was a little awkward at first,” Ramsey said, laughing. “But it was good.”
Kilkelly played three instruments at once by tapping his foot to shake the tambourine, strumming his acoustic guitar and playing his harmonica, with the use of a neck rack.
“It’s not too bad because you’re just tapping your foot,” he said.