Patti McGregor opens the show at Open Mic Night at the Firehall Centre for the Arts.

Patti McGregor opens the show at Open Mic Night at the Firehall Centre for the Arts.

A night at the mic

Whether amateur or professional, people have a chance to experiment in front of a crowd at a North Delta theatre



Patti McGregor wasn’t just the MC.

The longtime member of the Delta arts community strapped on her acoustic guitar for a bluesy opening number at a recent Open Mic Night at the Firehall Centre for the Arts.

The monthly Delta Arts Council event had an audience of about 40 people, a good start for a new season after a long summer break.

There was a “smashing lineup” to come, she told the crowd. “We have a variety of poetry and a variety of singing styles, and we have a little surprise towards the end.”

The rules at an Open Mic Night are simple: Pay your $4, sit and watch, or sit and wait to be called for your two performances, in any style.

It’s a backstage club for people to experiment in front of a crowd, where performances can be musicians, comedians, poets and improvisational artists – it the mix varies from night to night.

One restriction: “We don’t want 40 verses for one song,” McGregor said in mock admonishment. “That’s not very fair.”

 

The evening’s highlights:

 

• Marilyn Kruger, a North Delta resident for 25 years, played two bluegrass songs using a metal slide on her “new toy,” a resonator guitar in her lap. It was her fourth performance at an Open Mic Night. “I live to sing,” she said after the show, adding that she started playing guitar seven years ago “because I didn’t have anybody to accompany me.” She told her audience: “I love that this opportunity has been given to us to come out and share some of our music.”

• Doris Lavoie, a senior Metis from Manitoba with a deep vibrato voice, played two bluesy acoustic songs. She has played across Canada, and can be found on a Youtube video from 2007.

• North Delta Grade 12 student Jeremiah Ackermann, in his sixth visit, multi-tasked with an acoustic guitar, vocals and a bass drum and crash cymbal operated by foot pedal. Ackermann, who has played guitar for less than two years, performed at Watershed Artworks Society’s grand opening in September.

• Delta Arts Council regular and “arctic blonde” Leah Catherall and Bobby Dixon, Open Mic Night’s sound man, played two piano instrumentals apiece. (Dixon played both classical and Coldplay.)

• Russ Morgan, a self-described “old fogie” went a cappella with two oldies-but-goodies. The second song, he said, was rehearsed in the shower.

• Accompanied by her husband Brian on guitar, Linda McCrumb sang Autumn Leaves and Let It Be Me.

• Sands Secondary grad Shayla Gibson, 18, fought her nerves to recite a poem she wrote in class, and then sang The Celtic Thunder song A Place in the Choir in hybrid a cappella/iPod form.

• Ophelia Gabriel played Ray Charles and Olivia Newton John songs with a ukulele.

• After singing Waltz Across Texas, Peter Scott taught the crowd how to mimic the sound of a bagpipe by plugging the nose and tapping the voice box with the side of one’s hand. The lesson was for a song about the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot, also known as The Black Watch.

McGregor said the Open Mic Night is “the best mix of an inter-generational audience that I’ve seen. It’s not just us old fogies.”

She’s also urged visitors to consider getting involved in group numbers for the end of the show (though not bands, which take too long to set up in this venue.)

Indeed, the “little surprise” McGregor promised to finish the show was a quartet accompanied by Brian McCrumb on guitar.

“Whenever I get good harmonies, the hair at the back of my neck stands up,” said McGregor.

Open Mic Nights take place on the last Friday of each month (from September to November and from January to May) at 7:30 p.m. at the Firehall Centre for the Arts (114889 84 Ave). Anyone is welcome to attend. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is $4. For more information, call 604-581-6270.

The next show takes place on Friday, Oct. 28.

bjoseph@surreyleader.com

 

 

 

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP detachment. (Contributed file photo)
RCMP investigating report of shots fired in South Surrey

Police say they have not yet found evidence to confirm incident

Bucketheads – A Star Wars Story is being filmed near the 19000-block of 16 Avenue in South Surrey. (Mychaylo Prystupa photos)
Star Wars fan film ‘Bucketheads,’ shot in South Surrey, makes its debut

Volunteer initiative features new LED screen technology

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
More victims come forward after ‘indecent act’ at Surrey playground

Surrey RCMP is now releasing sketches of the suspect

A proposed 29-storey highrise development in North Delta’s Townline neighbourhood is headed to a public hearing on June 8, 2021. (Penmat Mana JV (Delta) Ltd./City of Delta report image)
North Delta highrise proposal headed to public hearing

Council voted 4-3 Monday (May 10) to move the 29-storey project forward

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

The Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program welcomed a new chick in April 2021 after it was artificially incubated for 32 days while still in its egg, hand raised for a week and then returned to owl foster parents Sedin and Amore. Chick B is now settling in at the family nest, which the public can view live online. (Jasmine McCulligh/Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Baby owl welcomed at Langley’s Northern Spotted Owl breeding site

Facility has launched an Adopt-a-Chick fundraiser to help with expenses

Most Read