Jack Downey ’23
Last week provided even more proof that live music is coming back to Providence College. On Friday, Sept. 17, the Board of Programmers hosted an open mic night on Slavin Lawn. The overall atmosphere was welcoming and relaxed, with no pressure put on the performers. Those who performed either sang to a pre-recorded backing track or played guitar while singing.
The setup for the open mic was a stage similar to the music festival Stuartstock, hosted by WDOM 91.3FM and held on campus during the Spring 2021 semester, just on a smaller scale. It gave the audience a perfect angle to see the singers. Next to the stage was a table where attendees could grab Insomnia cookies, a favorite of PC students.
Leading off the performances was Lauren Fraser ’22, one of the guest singers from the Sept. 9 show at The Met. She sang along to Taylor Swift’s “The Man,” which got the crowd pumped up and ready for the rest of the show. As the open mic night progressed, a variety of talent was on display. One example was Jack Lamere ’24. Armed with just his voice and an acoustic guitar, he ripped through one of his original compositions, titled “Leaving Seventeen.” Angsty and urgent, the song struck a chord with many in attendance.
The show featured some brand-new talent as well. Towards the end of the open mic, Ryan Peduto ’25 took the stage. What was unique about his performance was that he used an electric guitar. For his first song, he played The Star Spangled Banner before calling up a friend of his to accompany him on acoustic guitar. The duo played a stirring rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” which featured a great guitar solo by Peduto. The pair then did a tongue-in-cheek version of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Check The Rhime.” The two traded verses, exemplifying an impressive flow while still having fun with it. The crowd certainly enjoyed their performance.
Overall, the entire event was a good time. While not everyone in attendance performed, both those who took the stage and those who came to cheer on their friends were able to enjoy the live entertainment on Slavin Lawn on a temperate day towards the end of summer.
It was also great to see an open, low-stakes music event where anyone could showcase their talent. Seeing this many musicians on PC’s campus is truly spectacular. This is even greater to see after last year when opportunities for musicians to present themselves were rare. Occasionally, passersby would see an intrepid musician playing guitar near Guzman Hall or Calabria Torch. However, this was not common, particularly in winter. For on-campus musicians, it was truly a stagnant time.
Last week’s open mic night truly proves a glimmer of hope that casual musical events will become the norm on campus. There have even been talks of a weekly concert series outside Smith, although whether or not this comes to fruition remains to be seen. Hopefully, all of the student musicians at Providence College will get more opportunities like this open mic night to showcase what they can do.