For its third consecutive year, Soundings — the Oklahoma Christian University student-governed literary and visual arts journal — hosted an open mic night yesterday to showcase student talent and raise awareness for the publication.
Oklahoma Christian students performed spoken word poems and songs, either written by other authors or original works by the student.
“Soundings is just one of the only things on campus that is for the students by the students that really expresses creativity,” senior editor Kalie Palmer said. “It doesn’t focus on censorship, it just showcases the students and their talents, and lets them have a safe space to be creative.”
Junior Kai Jorgensen performed an original song while he played the guitar, and senior Parker Lamascus played the cajon — a drum played with hands.
“I’ve done this for the past two years,” Jorgensen said. “I’m always trying to at least just find places to play my music, since that’s an option of what I want to do. I figured it can’t be bad exposure, and it kind of helps to promote a campus event, so there’s not really a downside to it.”
Sophomore Elizabeth Gonzalez said she decided to attend the event to hear good music.
“I had nothing else to do, and I thought it would be fun to come out and see what was going on,” Gonzalez said. “I really liked all of the live music, because I think OC has a lot of great talent that most people don’t realize is here.”
Palmer said what she loves most about Soundings is the creativity, and that it shows a different side to the student body.
“We focus a lot on academics and then you come here and it’s just students who aren’t in any sort of writing major or music program who are just letting their talents come through,” Palmer said. “It’s really cool to see what the student body at OC has to offer.”
Junior Jeff Gruenbaum performed an original spoken word poem at the event.
“A friend invited me to this event and I hadn’t even heard about it,” Gruenbaum said. “I have performed stuff before, but this is the first time I have ever done spoken word. I have had a few rap songs and it’s been all fun-and-games type of stuff, but this spoken word was actually serious.”
Palmer said she thinks there are few opportunities on campus for students to be creative with literature.
“I think OC has a lot of great opportunities,” Palmer said. “There are a lot of other things, but with liberal arts, we seem to get the short end of the stick. This is something that students have been running for 40 years, since 1972, so it’s kind of the one thing on campus that has consistently been there working for the students and letting them have a voice.”
Palmer said the organization is planning other events throughout the year to increase participation and also to raise money for the publication of the journal.
“We’re going to have campaigning starting in October,” Palmer said. “We’ll have the Christmas market we’ve been doing every year. We’ll also have submissions opening up in late November/early December, and we’re thinking about doing another open mic night in the spring. Then we’ll have our big unveiling of the journal in April.”
Palmer also said the turnout for the open mic night was better than she and the other directors thought it would be.
“Last year, we had the open mic night in the student center,” Palmer said. “We had a pretty good turnout, but there was a lot of foot traffic, so we aren’t sure how many people came just because they stopped by. It’s nice to know people intentionally came out tonight. And this is our first event this year, so it’s starting us off on a good foot.”