The Abbey Tavern was recently packed with eager guests and a variety of performers ready to crack a joke or recite some poetry.
On Oct. 7, Friday Night Open Mic (FNOM) had its first event at the Abbey Tavern across the street from the Saint Leo University main campus. The event took place in a separate room away from the main bar/dining area and attracted not only Saint Leo students but also locals from the area.
36 acts were scheduled to perform that night and varied from slam poetry and storytelling to magic tricks and karaoke. The evening started promptly at 8 pm and host Carolyn Graham, an English Teacher at Pasco High School, began the evening with an original poem inspired by last year’s event, SASSabration.
Co-host Marissa McLargin, an instructor of English and Professional Writing, also performed an original piece called “This Belly of Mine” reminding us that we need to feel beautiful in our own skin.
“All it takes is courage” McLargin reminded the audience after introducing the first acts. This inspired others throughout the night to come and perform their own material. McLargin was blown away with the amount of talent performers had and the event far exceeded her expectations.
When asked why she decided to start FNOM, McLargin answered, “We [Carolyn Graham and herself] were disheartened by the dark turns we’d witnessed in our culture, country, and community. Knowing that light drives out darkness, we wanted to do something to add beauty to the world.”
Yohanna Fasida, a junior and business major, was very eager to perform his latest poem that night. The work, called “Living,” spoke about the struggles of growing up poor in America.
“I am a founder of the poetry club, so I felt that I needed to show what I hold within; poetry is an expression of self and by performing I was essentially allowing everyone to get a glimpse of myself.” Fasida said that he would definitely perform again and that he loved the atmosphere of the Abbey Tavern.
The acts were split into two segments, 8:00-9:30 pm was PG-13 Rated material, and 9:30-11:00 pm was R-rated material. Slam poetry seemed to be the biggest hit of the evening as audience members roared with applause after hearing Tessy Jacques’, sophomore and political science and global studies major, original readings about love and beauty. Members of her sorority, Gamma Upsilon, came out to support her, as well as fellow members of the Slam Poetry Club.
The hosts of FNOM gave away multiple door prizes throughout the evening, including gift cards, free appetizers, and even a pitcher of beer. Guests received a raffle ticket at the beginning of each segment to participate in the giveaways.
Overall, FNOM’s first event was a success and there will be another Friday Night Open Mic event on Dec. 9, from 8-11 back at the Abbey Tavern. McLargin and Graham have high expectations for the next event and hope to see even more students express themselves.