Last week, the YWAM LA coffee shop transformed its space from the usual peaceful retreat into a lively platform for musicians to display their giftings.
With the help of A Few Good Men, YWAM LA opened up the stage for the first community Open Mic Night. The line-up for the night was full and so were the spectator seats. The shop was brimming with a captive and enthusiastic audience and that was stacked five-people-deep outside the open doors of the coffee shop as people craned to get a view of the artists.
The performers included a span of genres, instruments and moods. Songs ranged from heartfelt rapping to a mandolin to a comedic guitar drumming duet.
The Open Mic Nights were introduced on base in hopes of bringing more opportunities to grow the arts within the community and to extend them outward into L.A.
“The big vision is to connect the YWAM community with the entertainment community in Los Angeles,” said Reemon Butcher of A Few Good Men, “to showcase talent that is on the base, but also to showcase talent outside the base.”
Butcher said a lot of people from off base, who saw the event announced on Instagram or who were invited by friends, came to the first Open Mic Night and there will be artists from outside of YWAM performing at the next Open Mic Night.
“It was good to see the community here mingling with people outside the community so they can see what’s going on here and enjoy a night full of fun, laughter, music and coffee,” Butcher said.
Butcher hopes that these nights will include more and more individuals from the community who come to perform as well as watch.
“We don’t want to stay in a bubble, we live in a real world with real people and if we want to make an impact on the real world we can’t just focus on this community, we need to reach out,” Butcher said. “We are in LA, we should have something in entertainment and media that connects, this is just a small part of that.”
These nights also help foster unity within the community on base.
“Open Mic Night is important because it gives us something fun to do on the weeknights. Usually there’s not much going on,” said Noah Howard. “If we go do our own thing, not everyone can go, but if we can have community time here at the base we can all be a part of it. It’s like having family time here at the base.”
Additionally, Butcher said it offers a way for the people on base who work all the time an opportunity to sit and relax at night, since there is not normally anything going on at night at the base.
It’s also doing it’s part in bringing the community’s hidden artists out of the framework. Shawn Miller, for example, was inspired by the performances he saw and is preparing an act for the upcoming Open Mic Night.
“I love seeing talent that is being held inside YWAM LA. I like open mic because it makes me feel comfortable,” said Miller. “I feel like I don’t need the talent, I just need the heart because that’s what people come here to see, the heart of the community. I personally don’t feel my giftings are that strong… but I feel safe.”
The Open Mic Nights are set to continue every other Monday. Since the next one will be the last one of the year, due to students leaving for outreach, it will be Christmas-themed. It already has a solid line-up of artists and, after the scheduled artists perform, the mic will be opened for 4-5 people to have the chance to come up and perform.
The next Open Mic Night is scheduled for November 24.
See a couple performances from last week: