Jasmine Montavalo

Jasmine Montavalo

By Kristen Griffith, The Whetstone

SPEAK’s second open mic night of the semester attracted about 50 students to fill the dozen couches and chairs facing the stage.

“Open mic is a time for people to express themselves through art,” Kevin Johnson, the spoken word club’s president, said to the audience.

The spoken word club offered a sign-up sheet, microphone and small stage Dec. 3 for anyone who wanted to perform.

Freshman Mavin Willis was SPEAK’s featured artist of the night.

“A feature artist goes up during a certain time of the show and does a set of about three pieces,” Willis said.

Willis stepped to the stage during the middle of the open mic with an introduction and explanation of her poems, “Step into my heart” and “Love song.” Willis said the poems are part of a series.

“[‘Step into my heart’] is getting to know the person you like, and [‘Love song’] is now that I got you, here’s how I feel,” she said.

Willis said she was nervous during her first poem.

“For the second poem, I was warmed up, and for the last one, I knew I had to kill it,” she said.

Snaps, hoots and hollering went on throughout the performance. The audience even demanded Willis to repeat certain stanzas to enjoy it one more time.

“I like getting the crowd’s attention,” she said.

Mavin Willis

Mavin Willis

Junior Dominic McAnulty, vice president of SPEAK, said he was impressed with Willis.

“Real big props to Mavin, she was phenomenal,” he said.

McAnulty performed a poem he wrote in 30 minutes during one of SPEAK’s meetings.

Junior Patrick Schlosser, SPEAK’s treasurer, said this open mic exceeded his expectations, although he had hoped for a bigger audience.

“I think it was a big step for us,” he said. “I think this one was a bit smaller than the last one we had.”

Schlosser previewed two original pieces that night, “Suicidal Steps” and “Old Souls.”

“I wanted to get a feel for how it sounded and the audience’s reaction,” he said. “They both hit how I wanted them to hit.”

Johnson said he was content with the performances.

“A lot of SPEAK members that performed showed their progression, especially Mavin and Kierra,” he said.

Kierra Dukes and Savanah Love were other SPEAK members who performed a couple of original pieces.

Johnson also performed two pieces as well.

“The set I did today was kind of highlighting my new lifestyle,” he said, referring to his closer relationship with God.

His poem, “An open letter to my past ways,” was a personal reminder to remain who he is, and not who he was.



Open mic did not only consist of poets, but also singers, rappers and dancers.

Jasmine Montalvo played her guitar while singing Adele’s “Hello.”

Amber Roddy performed Lauren Hill’s, “Can’t take my eyes off of you,” acapella, as some of the crowd snapped its fingers and sang along.

Toward the end of the event, three students danced.

“I feel like I can bring a lot of energy,” Freshman Symere Brown, one of the dancers, said. “I just like making everyone laugh and happy.”

He said all the performers at open mic did an amazing job.

Freshman Jeanerre Smith said she was entertained.

Some had a lot of talent,” she said. “And others need to work on it a little bit.”

Sophomore Courtney Passeau said open mic was fun and interesting to watch.

“I enjoyed seeing different styles of talent,” she said. “There wasn’t anything I did not like.”