Montclair State University students were given the opportunity to perform in any way they pleased with one of the university’s open mic nights.
Hosted in the Student Center’s Rathskellar by the Center for Student Involvement, any student could sign up to take the stage and perform their hearts out.
The Rathskeller provided a chill atmosphere for the event, rather than something that might give people some serious stage fright. The overall event was comfortable and felt like it was just a bunch of friends hanging out. The people who attended were welcoming, accepting and supportive of all performers who dared to try.
The first act, by freshman film major Jenny Asuzano, gave us an electric opener that got everyone to cheer and sing along.
Asuzano sang and played “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John on the piano. Her voice, as well as her piano skills, were powerful and exciting.
“I knew it’s a song most people know and I feel like it’s something that can really engage the audience,” Asuzano said. “It was a song that I was supposed to sing at a talent show. Then [the coronavirus pandemic] happened so it never got to happen.”
Following Asuzano came one stand-up comedy routine, and the rest of the night were singers and songwriters. All the acts were amazing, but a few really stood out and got the crowd going.
One of the fan favorites, Lance Trusty, a senior television production major, debuted two songs from his upcoming album expected to release in early May 2022.
With the confidence many dream of having, Trusty put on a show with his suave dance moves and soothing voice.
“I’ve been performing since my freshman year,” Trusty said. “I did a poem and I was shaking and super nervous. I have an art I want to show people. [Now,] if I get nervous before a show, I remind myself this is just an expression of myself.”
Someone with a similar star quality as Trusty who we also hope to see on a bigger stage someday is the one and only Tommy Robert, a sophomore fashion studies major. Robert is an absolute star, and I think we all felt like we were in the presence of someone like Beyoncé.
Robert immediately took the microphone and started interacting with the crowd, cracking jokes, getting them to clap for the beat of the songs and just having a good time overall.
What made Robert stand out, even more than before, was the fact that the crowd picked the closing song. We picked “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé, to which Robert responded with, “Y’all have to clap really fast though, y’all already struggled [with] claps.”
The sophomore has the same confidence as an A-list superstar, which he attributes to his culture.
“I’m an African, so it comes to me naturally,” Robert said.
Though Robert currently works at Urban Outfitters, we know we’re going to see him turn into entertainment royalty.
One of my personal favorites was Steffani Aisenman, a junior music therapy major, who performed her own original song “Life Is Not Mythology.”
One of the audience members, Paige Blaier, a sophomore film and television major, especially enjoyed singing from Trusty, Faye Heneghan, a freshman public relations major, and Alex Saunders, a junior business administration major.
“I love how people can be open and comfortable enough to express themselves,” Blaier said. “I love the creative spirit that Montclair [State] has.”
Whether it was freshman musical theatre major AJ Doyle’s rendition of “She Used to Be Mine” from “Waitress” or Heneghan’s explosive showcase of her vocals with “Lost on You” by LP, the audience had a blast.
Hopefully, more people will take the time to attend the next open mic night to truly experience the artistic magic of Montclair State’s best performers.