Hofstra clubs host open mic for Haiti

By Ryan Sexton
On February 25, 2010

Tuesday night, Shake It and Hofstra Concerts teamed up to produce the "Haiti Open Mic Night."  The event raised money for Haiti, collecting a dollar from every student that went. Students shuffled in at 8:30 and quickly filled up the n the Multi Purpose Room of the Student Center. First to play was Shark Jumper, a trio led by Chronicle Editor Ryan Broderick. They played a set of slightly prog tinged punk, and were interrupted because of time constraints.

Next, Swagger Jack and Odrax reminded us that in Nassau County, not everyone should have access to a synthesizer and myriad rap influences, especially because they incorporated a talk box effect (minus the guitar.)  Things heated up with Mark Rosenberg, whose surprisingly strong voice emanated behind a shock of curly hair and a white t-shirt. Despite some people already seeming bored three acts deep, Rosenberg woke us up with his unceasingly good love song. Sometimes, crowds at open mic nights almost expect failure: it's shocking to see amateur musicians with such talent.

Another standout was Erin Willett, who played "Empire State" on the acoustic guitar. The cover was not awkward or poorly transposed in any way. If anything, it sounded much better coming through her acoustic than out of the windows of the rattling Hondas going down the Turnpike.

Scott Schendlinger amused most of the people in the audience, except for a few stoic parents, with his sexually charged standup. While it was downright dirty, it gave many of the students, some of whom were overtly yawning and watch checking, quite a few chuckles.

As the acts progressed, the hosts from Shake it, Chrystina Orlando and Yael Becker, had to keep the eager performers to a one song limit.  Surprisingly, there were too many kids interested in helping out Haiti and putting their souls out on stage to allow all to perform, yet many RA's typically struggle to coax residents into going to equally well intentioned free ice cream nights and the like.  It was apparent that the tragedy in Haiti had struck an unusual nerve in the seemingly apathetic Hofstra student body. 

At the end of the night, a Ziploc bag full of crinkled bills contained and impressive $290. Memories in Play pledged to donate some of the money raised from their CDs on sale that night to Haiti. Yael Becker of Shake It admitted that the night was more team work than a one man show: "Obviously we were motivated to do something because of the tragedy, but we figured we are only six girls in a club, so I figured who was better to team up with than Hofstra Concerts."

The night ended with Mike Petrow, a talented rapper, backed up by impromtu guitar from Erin Willet: two musicians who didn't know much about each other but knew what they were playing for.

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