Open Mic, January 7, 2017
Sydne Spencer Memorial Open Mic
Our first open mic of 2017 was a memorial for our dear friend and Arts Center member Sydne Spencer who passed away suddenly in December,” said Arts Center president and open mic host Ron Hackett. Spencer was a prolific artist in multiple genres, and had recent began performing again at the Arts Centers’ performing arts shows. “Sydne was the secretary for the Arts Center, and she was always ready to help. We will miss her dearly,” said Hackett.
Co-host Robert Foster kicked off the event with covers of “You’ve got a Friend” by Taylor James, “Souvenirs” by John Prine, and “Vincent” by Don McLean. Foster’s rich vocals and smooth finger picking started the evening on a high note.
Next, poet Samantha Posey came to the stage to read three of her original poems. The poems included “This Side of Jordan,” “I’ll Miss You,” and “Brave Enough.” “Our shows have always been open to all performing arts, not just music,” said co-host Taylor S Hoch.
Newcomer Thunderbyrd Newman took the stage next to perform three original tunes. The first song was a birthday song entitled, “One Heart Beats for You.” The second was another birthday song entitled, “China Doll.” He finished with “You were My Partner in Crime.” Newman started playing and writing a few years ago, and this was his first foray into live performing. “We’ve always strived to provide a very supportive atmosphere for first timers,” said Hoch.
The next performer was also new to our venue. Neeve Weinberger, a friend of Spencer, took the stage to play three covers that included “It’s Too Late” by Carole King, “Help Me I Think I’m Falling” by Joni Mitchell, and “Long As I Can See The Light” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Weinberger’s style and preference for ballads is reminiscent of Sydne’s style and preferences, which was a fitting tribute to Sydne.
Jazz guitarist and host Ron Hackett came next, telling humorous stories about the instrumental cover tunes he played. The tunes included “Swinging Over the Rainbow,” a swing version of Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz. Next he played “Windy and Warm,” a country fingerpick standard by John D.Loudermilk that Chet Atkins made famous. He finished with a jazz version of “Autumn Leaves” by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma.
David Mayhall followed Hackett with an electronic instrumental set created on-the-fly using three synthesizers. According to Mayhall, “the music is clean, powerful, and makes Mozart jealous every time I plug in. I am not a D.J. I construct music from the ground up. I do not use anyone else’s material.”
Co-host and founder of the open mic, Taylor S Hoch, played the last performing arts act of the evening. She started with a love song she wrote for a dark musical about Jack the Ripper called, “Right Through Me.” She followed that with “Yesterday’s Epiphany,” another original song that always gets the audience engaged. Hoch finished with “So You Run,” a song that she wrote for her son.
Sydne’s husband Robert Spencer closed the evening with a few remarks about Sydne and thanks for the audience’s support while Hackett played softly in the background. Sydne’s Taylor guitar was on-stage all night as a tribute to our late friend. “She had an electric pick-up installed in this guitar recently and only got to play it in public once before her passing,” said Hackett. Robert Spencer provided a slide show of pictures as a memorial, and one wall of the gallery was adorned with Sydne’s artwork.
The bi-monthly (1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month) performing arts show and open mic is free to all Arts Center members. They ask non-members to make a $2 donation to help cover the cost of the facility. Coffee and soft drinks are available for a small fee to cover our costs, or you are welcome to bring your own refreshments. Smoking is not allowed in the building, but there is a smoking area outside.
Each act is allowed 15 minutes for their performance. Soloists who would like musical accompaniment for their performance, or anyone that would like to participate in an open jam session, please contact Ron and Taylor before the show. Questions about the show are also welcome. Their email address is email@example.com.
The Art Center is located at 303 Main Ave. South in Fayetteville. Doors open and sign-ups begin at 6:30PM on Saturday, and the show begins at 7:00. A limited number of advance sign-ups are available on our website. For more information, please visit the Art Center website:
Photo courtesy of Ron Hackett
Photos courtesy of Ron Hackett
Sydne's Guitar and a memorial slide show of photos
Taylor S Hoch