Martin Lopez /HIGHLANDER

On Thursday, Nov. 7, aesthetic fluorescent light bulbs dimly lit up HUB 302. Students helped themselves to free refreshments and pastries as they eagerly awaited for the Open Mic Night to begin, hosted by HUB Programs. While the aroma of Starbucks coffee, cheese danishes and blueberry muffins filled the room, the first performers take the stage.

The event began around 6:50 p.m. with the first performers Kristen Lambiuicio and Caleb de la Cruz. Lambiuicio started their performance with delicate strums on her ukelele and began her duet with de la Cruz with the song, “An Awkward Duet,” by Dodie Clark. Their performance portrayed two awkward individuals who are aware of their musical skills but are nervous to sing with each other. There is a very implicit love connection between the characters they portray in the song. The lyrics, such as “Cause I can sing/ I swear it’s true/I’m just a little nervous in front of you,” incited an “aww” from the audience.

The next performer, Louise Emret Labra sang “If I Were A Boy” by Beyonce. Labra moved the audience with her strong vocals and energy throughout her performance. Even though a technical difficulty occurred in the middle of her performance which stopped her music, Labra continued on by shouting “Acapella!” which encouraged the audience to clap to the rhythm of her song until the end. 

Other performances included Alex Chen and Marina Martinez, who recited a satirical poem about controversies and performed a poem she wrote about being betrayed by a loved one, respectively.

Stacy Chao, a third-year mathematics major, is an event organizer for UCR HUB Programs. Chao shared what it means to give students the opportunity to show their talent. “We don’t really have events like these that often,” she said. “We just want to provide a welcoming space for people who wanted to perform, but didn’t have a place.”

HUB Programs first organized Open Mic Night fall quarter of 2018, and hosted another Open Mic with UCR Dining in Starbucks at Glen Mor that spring quarter. According to Chao, they decided it’s best to host it around the middle of campus so it’s easier for students to attend.

“It’s important that if you want to be able to show people your talents, and you want people to enjoy it, then you should be able to have that opportunity to,” commented Chao.

Other than posters, HUB Programs usually advertise through their Instagram account. “We make posts and do Instagram stories pretty daily. We update the event throughout the night, so if you check our stories, you’ll see the different performers,” said Chao.

Though the event is entirely set up by HUB Programs, the reciprocity of student participation is equally important. Good spirits of the audience and enthusiasm from performers to go on with the show make a worthy viewing of the entirely voluntary showcase.

The HUB Programs encourage UCR students to support their peers in the performing arts. “It’s a talent, it’s a skill that people need to develop, and it should be respected,” said Chao.