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Express yourself: Open-mic night gets people talking

‘We wanted to create an event where everyone from every culture could come and express themselves through music,’ says organizer behind tonight’s event at The Last Class

Organizers of an event tonight at Georgian College hope to not only bring out new and unique voices, but also raise some awareness and money for two important causes.

Juliana Poda, an event management student at Georgian College, has planned and organized an Open Mic as part of her “capstone project," a course project which requires students to create, plan and execute an event. 

The goal, explained Poda, is to bring a more diverse audience to the artistic scene in Barrie. She opted to host this type of event simply because she says she's a lover of the arts.

“I am from Brazil, so I strongly believe that we should host an event where all the voices can be heard," Poda said. 

The Open Mic night is scheduled for tonight from 7-11 p.m.  at the college’s The Last Class Bar. It is open to individuals of any and all talents, she noted.

The evening is also serving as a “seed event” to help raise money for Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) and the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program, as week as to help promote artist submissions for the seventh annual Paige’s Passion Music Fest, which is happening April 15 at Lion’s Gate Banquet Hall.

“The main goal was to create an event where we could embrace a more diverse audience of people that without our Open Mic have nowhere to showcase their skills," Poda said. 

It's also a chance to get more people to submit cover and original songs at Paige’s passion Music Fest, she added. 

"Last but not least, we wanted to create an event where everyone from every culture could come and express themselves through music,” said Poda.

The music festival was founded by Barrie’s Katherine Chabot in memory of her best friend Paige Doucette, who passed away in December 2012 from cancer. 

“Paige loved life. All who knew her could attest to this. She constantly strived to make the most of every moment, even throughout her diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Whether playing one (or four) musical instruments or singing at the Royal Conservatory of Music, her passion for life and music was contagious,” said Poda.

“Paige’s legacy will never be forgotten by her family and friends through their sharing of stories and laughter," she added. 

Paige's Passion Music Fest is a charitable concert hosted in support of the RVH Foundation and benefiting its Keep Life Wild campaign, as well as the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program. 

Local artists are invited to submit their work, and original submissions with the most votes will perform live on April 15 at Paige's Passion Music Fest, which will also include live music by Dylan Lock and band, the Straits, creators of the Barrie's Live Music Show and more.

Poda said winners will receive a prize pack that includes recording studio time as well as  professional marketing to help promote their music.

“My goal with the Open Mic is to be able to hear and see people from different cultures singing together and showcasing their love for music," she said. "Call me a romantic, but I do believe that the arts can bring people together and can help us to heal from all the bad things that are happening around the world.

"It’s a great cause and we all have a friend, a cousin or even a brother who sings or plays an instrument, so why not come and see what our event is all about? At the end of the day, it is a perfect opportunity for our guests to have a great night with family and friends," Poda added. "We do not have lots of Open Mic happening in our community, so it is the perfect opportunity for (people) to listen to amazing music and connect with different people.

"And you cannot be sad when you hear music.”