Common Read Open Mic Night


Event invites students to showcase musical abilities.

Many students were able to enjoy the talents of their peers at the Common Read Open Mic Night on Saturday.

The event took place Sept.19 at 8 p.m. in the lower level of the Student Union.

More than ten performances showcased the musical and spoken word talents of the community. Some performances included “Dreaming with a Broken Heart” by John Mayer, “All I Want” by Kodaline, “Mockingbird” by Eminem and an acapella version of “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift. Ed Sheeran songs seemed to be a favorite as both “Photograph” and “Thinking Out Loud” were performed. 

There were a few people who performed their own pieces. Peder Solberg, a freshman mechanical engineering major, generated a lot of laughter with his original parody that revolved around the South Dakota State University Common Read book, “The Other Wes Moore”.

“It doesn’t have a name yet, but I called it “The West Moore Song.” I probably could get more creative [with the name] in the future,” Solberg said with a smile.

Solberg rapped “The West Moore Song” in the same rhythm as “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. While this is the only direct tie to the Common Read, Solberg sees why the Honors College decided to host an Open Mic Night as a Common Read event.

“Many of the performances hit on the theme of the Common Read book,” Solberg said. “There were some raps that covered some heavy material like the stuff that was covered in the book. There was also just a lot of heartfelt stuff.”

Music genres like rap and hip hop play a role in “The Other Wes Moore”. Ezekiel “Zeke” Herndon actually performed his own raps. In addition to performing about hard subjects like police brutality, Herndon also hosted the event. Herndon’s girlfriend, Brianna Ismalé, knows that Herndon likes open mic nights. 

“Over the past couple years, Zeke’s been coming to these,” Ismalé, a health education major, said. “He got noticed by the people who put the event on.”

Ismalé was one of the numerous students who attended the Open Mic Night. And although she admits she’s a little biased about who her favorite performer was, she recognized the talent in each of the students who made an effort to be on the stage. 

“It was really awesome to see everyone up there be brave, and [hear] all the different types of music,” Ismalé said. “It was really fun.” 

Anne Mayrose attended the event as well. Although she is currently a senior in high school, she attended the event with her sister, Resident Hall Director Andréa Mayrose.

“It was cool being able to see a variety of things,” Anne said. “When there was a low [amount of performers], people were ready to jump up and step in and have some fun.” 

The next Common Read event is called Getting Past Misunderstanding. On Sept. 24 at 7 p.m., local attorney Michael Taylor will host an event in Rotunda G to create a discussion about social and criminal justice.