Our Zoom Open Mic sessions end soon. For a few months now, on Wednesday’s, 6 to 8 pm, we gather online to play and listen to music. It is a Covid adaptation of the Open Mic events we held live in colder months at our Weald Bethel Community Center in Cherryfield.
Art and I and a handful of regulars join in every week to listen. Art sets his computer on his kitchen table and putters while listening. So does Alane. I find it entertaining to watch them move about, doing their thing. A few of us eat while watching. When he’s not playing guitar, Scott sometimes plays cribbage.
What started as a handful of regulars grew to 14 households joining online. Lots of smiling faces on the computer screen. Not being limited by our Downeast location was a pleasant surprise.
George, Lynne, and John each joined and played from different spots in Florida. Linda Zoomed in from Northern VA. Steve’s high school friend from Portland, OR sang last week. My nephew watched from NH. Josh set up a stage at his place with fancy blinking lights. His family participated from various ME locations. Before Josh headed to tree plant in PA, his own crowd and fan club was online for his exit performance.
My extended Family from Easthampton, MA – including Chris and Jim – have been regular audience members. Chris is my brother-in-love’s sister. I usually only see them at Thanksgiving dinners. It has been wonderful getting to know them better while singing their folk song duets and Beatles covers. My friend Art said, “I’m going to miss Chris and Jim when our Zoom Open Mics end this month.” I know exactly what he means. Maybe they will visit Cherryfield when our Open Mic is in-person again. I hope so.
To be sure, Open Mic via Zoom has its limitations on sound quality. Scott Shaw, and my partner, Steve, oversee the live Open Mic events. They have spent hours trying to figure out the sweet spots within Zoom.
Weak internet connections can make performers volumes drop out for a second. Or if their sound is too busy or full it starts clipping.
But all that matters not so much. We were glad to support each other and hear live music. We all pretty quickly accepted the reduced sound quality, because the heart in the song always comes through.