The NK Teen Open Mic Night, hosted by the North Kingstown Marketing Company, was a huge success. The event occurred at the North Kingstown Town Beach’s Cold Spring Community Center on Thursday, November 10th. Teenage musicians living in North Kingstown and surrounding areas were invited to showcase their talents in a safe, friendly open mic format. The event was also intended to raise money and civic pride in a local community organization, the Special Olympics of North Kingstown. A donation box was set up at the entryway of the center so guests could donate to this great, local organization. As the host, proud parent of a teen musician as well as a proud parent of a Special Olympian, I couldn’t be more proud at how well the event went.
I want to take a moment to thank the pre-show staff of teen volunteers who helped set up the chairs, get the sound just right on the amps for singing and guitar play, and just helped set the mood for the event. We started around 4:30 getting the event ready. We anticipated about 30 to 40 guests and singers. We worked on the sound, lighting, and as well as the sign-up sheet and donation area. The singers and spectators and some parents starting coming in around 5:30, along with Coach Lisa McKay of the North Kingstown Special Olympics.
After a brief introduction and welcome, we had our first performers. Abby did a solo, then Sophia did a solo number with her ukelele. Then Sophia joined Spencer for a few songs, then an impromptu ensemble with Sophia, Abby, Spencer, and Mateo. Caroline did a solo performance, then a duet with Lizzie and Cassie, who was celebrating a birthday. Then, it was Rebecca for a solo number. Followed by Sam and Spencer with a great rendition of “American Pie.” The crowd cheered and cheered with each performance. I really appreciated the fact that the kids were so supportive of each other. All positive vibes, all great attitudes. Every teen, parent, and performer was just in a fantastic mood all night.
After a brief intermission, we had a number of surprise guest appearances up on stage. Jaycee and Sophia were the most courageous and got the loudest applause from the crowd. They also happened to be the youngest of the group. Then Connor, Kevin, and Justin took turns entertaining the crowd with both singing and dancing routines. I have to say I will never forget Connor’s rendition of “Stayin’ Alive.” Caroline, Jessie, and Annie got the crowd laughing with their spoken word/rap about some sort of Shia Labeouf adventure/conspiracy situation. The evening was filled with humor, great musicians, and a really cool vibe.
After nearly two hours of singing, guitar play, laughter, and joy celebrating our NK teen musicians, it was time to call it a night. Every single person helped clean up the community center. Chairs were stacked, tables were folded, instruments were packed in my Tahoe, and the floor was swept. After the guests had left and we locked up the facility, we counted the money in the donation box. I am thrilled to report that over $200 ($205.75 to be exact) was collected and donated by the teens and parents who attended. A donation check will be written for the full amount and will be presented at a ceremony at a unified basketball practice in the coming weeks. I spoke to Coach Lisa about the donation and she was thrilled and excited to know that the kids and parents were so generous. Overall, it was a special evening that these kids and parents will remember for years to come. And, it provides a foundation for future events like this to build on. Thank you to everyone who attended, sang, played an instrument, and celebrating civic pride with us for the North Kingstown Teen Open Mic Night.