(Thank you, Whatscookingamerica.net)
In downtown Summerville, there lies a little coffee shop on the corner of the square: The Single Smile Cafe.
We’ve been going there quite regularly and I order my regular boba drink.
Green tea with popping strawberry bubbles.
Holy prince of popping awesomeness, it is delicious. The green tea frappe is not overly sweet and with the yummy popping strawberry balls at the bottom releasing juicy strawberry greatness…well… I’m addicted.
The past few times we’ve been into the cafe, I’ve seen signs for an open mic night. I’ve never participated in an open mic night before. I’ve only played in church, in a little bit of community orchestra and in my college ensemble.
Sam has been encouraging me for the past week and a half to go there and showcase my talents. I was hesitant.
The thought of playing in front of people was a bit overwhelming. Would I be prepared? Would I be booed off stage? Make a mockery of myself?
Open Mic night is every Tuesday night. I halfheartedly agreed over the weekend to go on tuesday (today) and sign up to play.
Sunday came and went.
Tuesday woke me with the realization that I was scared out of my wits to go play in an open mic night.
Throughout the day, I imagined every possible excuse to get out of playing. Sam gently encouraged me to go and give it a whirl. He had our two friends Josh and Heather on board to encourage me as well. I couldn’t let them all down. So…we went.
We arrived at the Single Smile at around 5:45. Open Mic would start at 6:00. I signed in and was already about 8th in line. I was quite surprised that it was so busy with so many interested people in playing. We bought our boba tea and took a seat near the stage. A lot of older folk were already settled, certainly talking about the latest small town gossip or news.
Oh Lordy, it began. Couldn’t back out now.
Each person in front of me played a guitar and sang. There was a banjo thrown in there and a harmonica as well, but mainly guitar.
It came to my turn and I was already up and pacing the floor prior to my name being announced “Jenna Weh-ver.” I made my way to the piano and removed the silk scarf from it. I turned it on with the help from the announcer and dove right in.
I first played one of my own compositions—a mix of a few songs I had come up with years ago. A woman sitting behind me exclaimed after a few notes “Oh I could listen to this all night!” I could hear the cafe getting quieter the more I played. It all could have been in my head, but that’s what I remember.
Gracious me, that piano was a heavy keyed one. It took quite a bit of effort to push the keys down to play, but I didn’t mind. That meant that I could bang on it forcefully for full effect.
The song ended with my shaking hands only being noticed by myself. I played to a crowd of 30: Elderly musicians looking to revive their established talents and mixed with young guns eager to establish that name for themselves. A few musical admirers and photographers were among them.
My song ended and I received applause. I fumbled and awkwardly nodded a thank you.
I then began my next piece. I started out with the theme from Mad World by Tears for Fears. I then ran right into Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. I could hear the younger members of the crowd exclaim and say “Oh my goodness, is this that song?!”
I gave it my all and was quite impressed with my own skill at pushing through the nervousness and heavy handed playing. I enjoyed it. I soaked in every moment that I heard the music being played and watching my own fingers hit the chord progressions. I let it soar and my heart swelled with joy.
When I was done, the cafe roared. I was humbled. They loved it! As I was returning to my seat, the announcer said “We certainly hope you’ll be back next week to play! A little birdie told me that you sing as well!” I sheepishly affirmed and nervously giggled my way off stage. Gah. I was a bag of nerves, but I did it.
I greeted my friends and Sam. Sam was so proud of me and I was so thankful he encouraged me to go through with it. It would have been easy for him to just let me stay at home and give into my lame excuses not to go.
Overall, it was a success. I can’t imagine not going again now that I’ve done it. I put myself out there. It was wonderful. While playing I even heard Daphne scream out a few times to join me in song. What a goober. I hope one day she sees me playing to a crowd and is proud of having me as a mom. I hope she has such a love for music as I.