ABOUT IN MEDIA
And new to the Cape next month: an open mic for classical music, which is subtitled “the micless open mic,” at First Parish Brewster Church... (Cape Cod Times - by Andrew Roiter, Jan 22, 2015
Who else will play is a surprise for everyone.
“Except for our featured performers, we don’t know who else will come to sign up and play until the last moment or an hour before our event, when our rehearsal with our collaborative pianist starts,” explains Woods, who was featured in March and was winner of the Cape Symphony’s 2013 Soloist Competition. (Cape Cod Times - Sound Choice, April 16, 2015)
An open mic for classical performers?
Open Mic Classical is spreading its wings and expanding its outreach. A special Open Mic Classical event, in collaboration with the Sandwich Arts Alliance and with the help of percussionist Amy Lynn Barber, will be held May 20, 2018 at 3 PM at Sandwich Town Hall.
The featured guest performer on May 20 will be Trio Vivo & Klarinetista: Bruce Abbott (saxophone), Mariellen Sears (flute), Lucy Banner (piano), and guest clarinetist Monika Woods. Collaborative pianist of the day will be pianist Ben Healy. (Wicked Local - Snyder's Sandwich, April 20, 2018)
Open Mics are not just for pop Music
The afternoon welcomes “any level, any ages, no program in advance. It almost sounds like a recipe for failure, doesn't it? But instead you discover hidden treasures,” she adds in an email. Woods gives the example of one of the 11 people who performed in March: a woman who picked up the clarinet in her 60s.
“Three years later, she is playing sonatas at our Open Mic Classical with so much passion and musicality.
What an inspiration!” (Cape Cod Times - Sound Choice, April 16, 2015)
“We have the open mic on the third Sunday of the month at three o’clock to encourage kids to come,” Woods explained, and the result, she said, is that the event is “intergenerational, with students of many teachers.”
Sometimes the performers like to spring fun surprises. At a mandolin and guitar concert, they offered some quotes from Shakespeare. At a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (Woods played that clarinet wail as the piece begins), they wore Twenties costumes.
Woods said that, with the open mics, she and others who love classical music “are taking action to make our own community” – and they welcome more people into it.
Open Mic Classical in Brewster inspires musician to go back to the flute;
Flutist Carl Gutowski has made it to New York’s Carnegie Hall, by way of a Brewster church’s Open Mic Classical program.
Gutowski, a longtime software engineer with homes in Brewster and New York’s Hudson Valley, will perform on March 21 at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. He won the opportunity through an audition with the Association of Classical Musicians and Artists.
His concert will include the world premiere of composer Debra Kaye’s “a deafening silence – an elegy,” a piece he commissioned in memory of his brother Paul, and Ian Clarke’s “Hypnosis,” with pianist Toshiko Jones.
Gutowski had stopped playing flute for more than 20 years, according to press information, as he raised a family and pursued his career. Four years ago, he drove by First Parish Brewster UU Church on Route 6A and saw a sign for its monthly Open Mic Classical program.
Intrigued, he began to practice, and, after a month, he attended, performing Gabriel Faure’s “Morceau de Concours” with pianist Lucy Banner. He returned again and again, inspired by the encouragement he received, he says in a press release, and then began playing in recitals and chamber music concerts around Cape Cod, the Hudson Valley and New York City.
Open Mics give everyone a chance to shine
A different kind of music
But local open mics aren’t limited to vocalists or guitarists on the bar scene. Open Mic Classical — which notes on its website that it’s “aka the mic-less open mic” — has been a monthly off-season program since 2015 at First Parish Brewster UU Church (and has also been presented annually with the Sandwich Arts Alliance).
Each month, the free event (thanks to an anonymous donor) offers a featured performer plus a chance for others to sign up. At 3 p.m. Sunday, the performer will be international pianist Ana Glig.
If they need piano accompaniment, musicians are asked to send in sheet music ahead of time, and there’s a rehearsal option an hour before performance. Clarinet player and teacher Monika Woods, co-founder of Open Mic Classical with Bob Marcus, says the musicians who have participated have represented a mix of ages, instruments played and experience levels.
“It seems we always get someone new who has never been there before, so (the open mic) really seems to fill a need,” Woods says. “Word has gotten out.”
Word spread, for example, to a man from New York who saw a sign for Open Mic Classical and decided to pick up the flute he hadn’t played in years. That opportunity pushed him to keep playing, and he’s now getting paid for it, Woods says. She tells a similar story of a Cotuit mason who didn’t pursue his piano-playing as a career but has enjoyed the open-mic music outlet.
A woman with a cochlear implant and service dog to help her hearing once agreed to go on stage as part of a duo, Woods recounts, and was so encouraged that she later won an international music competition for people with cochlear implants.
“We’re definitely helping both amateurs and professionals,” Woods says. “We have many amateurs who never have a chance to perform.”
Opening up the program to anyone can be a little nerve-wracking for organizers, because it’s possible no one will show up or there could be 30 wannabe entertainers. So several open mics use the featured performer, or the host musician as the main act who can play more if it’s a slow week.
“We’re all musicians,” notes Woods. “So if no one shows up, I can play.”
IN THE RADIO
Person of the week, Monika Woods at mvyradio (88.7FM), talking about Open Mic Classical (aka the mic-less open mic) in an interview made on February 18th, 2016
Transylvanian Clarinetist Makes a New Home for Her Music
To listen to radio interview with Monika Woods by Dan Richards, about Open Mic Classical aired April 10th, 2017 on WCAI radio 90.1FM
Listen to WOMR interview with host Felice Coral talking to our co-founders: Bob Marcus, Monika Woods, and our guest performer of the month Christian Holleck. Special thank you goes to pianist Elizabeth Tipton, clarinetist Janet Atherton, and guitarist John Dirac, who helped us with the soundtracks.
Open Mic Classical on Arts Week with WOMR Radio Host Candace Hammond (September 28th, 2017)
Co-founder Monika Woods, and pianist Ana Glig (who was our feature guest performer on Jan 21st, 2018) talking with Felice Coral WOMR host from Caffe Classicale about their musical background on March 8th, 2018
For Photo Gallery of Open Mic Classical
For Video Gallery of Open Mic Classical