Open Mic Nightwhat does that mean? For some, you might envision karaoke night at which a gaggle of girls climb on stage to sing Shania Twain. Others might picture a local comedy club or a coffee shop evening filled with aspiring songwriters. However, for some of you, the thought of an open mic night might be terrifying. Perhaps you associate the term with more painful memories as you recall a time when you stood up to share a new piano piece at your school talent show, only to be mocked by friends later. Others could recount an evening in which a new song you wrote fell flat on a disinterested crowd.

Anytime a person shares an artistic gift, it comes with a level of risk. Art is vulnerable. It is rooted in a part of your core being that is deeply connected to your soul. Believe it or not, there are still times when an element of fear accompanies me as I lead worship. Any time I try something new or share a song I’ve written, I guarantee that my hands are trembling. It is because art opens you up to others and shows the true self. The thought of exposing this piece of you to a group of people can be intimidating.

It is for this reason that we created Open Mic Night at Floris UMC two years ago. The purpose is to provide an open and welcoming forum in which members of the church and greater community can come together and share their gifts. At first we didn’t know what to expect or who would come, but it has grown into something truly magical. There has not been a single Open Mic event that I have walked away from without feeling some form of inspiration or a Godly touch.

The beauty of Open Mic Night is that no two events are ever alike. We have enjoyed a high school improv group, newly budding songwriters, an Indian drummer, songs from various languages and an Italian aria. Ballerinas, hip-hop dancers, Bollywood dancers and modern dancers have all graced the stage at one point or another. Actors have shared monologues before magicians dazzled the crowd with a new trick. There is no experience required, as you will see brand new performers mixed in with people who have spent their entire lives honing their craft.

Recently I asked some participants to share with me why they are involved in Open Mic Night.

“I love open mic because it gives my [dance] group an opportunity to share with others about the beauty of God while presenting it in an entertaining and fun way!”

“Open mic is one of our favorite events in Floris. The reason being, it has helped my kids a lot to share their talents for the Glory of his kingdom. Looking back at the very first open mic in 2014 I attended with my family, until the last one, it has made a big difference in the way they have grown with their musical skills. This skill that they developed has helped [our kids] to perform at various other events in Floris. Last year we even did a neighborhood Christmas caroling!”

“Variety of performances, coffee house feel and free snacks is a hard combination to beat!”

“For me, Open Mic is a joyful event to experience what happens when God encourages folks to share their gifts with others.”

If you are an artist of any flavor, or merely someone who respects the arts, this is a place for you. Come take that leap of faith with others by sharing your gift in a community built to embrace one another as we say, “I see you. I feel you. Your art is special.” This is a safe space, void of any judgment, and filled with nothing but love and acceptance of the creativity with which God has gifted each person.

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Floris UMC Update

In response to COVID-19, Floris UMC will close its facility for large gatherings, including worship and small group activities. This is effective March 12, until further notice. The building will remain open for essential staff/employee activities. Live Stream worship will be available Sunday at 9:15 a.m. Life Groups are encouraged to meet online using virtual platforms. For further information, please view Rev. Tom Berlin’s Weekly Message; or contact the church’s Executive Director at 703-793-0026, Ext. 115.