CG Tonight! is a monthly open mike night for our community and school district. In 2013 the music and drama department renovated the old wood shop in the high school, turning it into a black box theater. CG Tonight! is held the last Tuesday of each month. The music and drama classes provide two hosts and students sign up to perform. There are sign up sheets posted in the music wing for students to sign up ahead of time. Each performer is interviewed by the hosts and then performs in the black box. We accept donations at the door but the evening is primarily for the students to have additional opportunities to perform. Sometimes we even have a theme and performers use the theme in their act.
The target audience is our high school and the Cedar Grove community. We advertise in the high school and also encourage the students to perform, or community members to perform. It is a great opportunity for students that have stage fright issues because they can perform in an intimate supportive setting instead of a large audience.
Specific Budget Breakdown
The Cedar Grove Music Matters Booster group purchased a small Yamaha sound system that consists of a microphone, two speakers and stands, with a mixer that is attached.
How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?
This project began with students paying to perform and we charged $5.00 at the door. We realized that the students should not have to pay to perform. Also students were signing up to perform but were not prepared. Now, students sign up when they have rehearsed and know they are ready to perform. We also ask the student performers to bring audience members and encourage their friends to attend. It has improved the quality of the open mike night.
Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?
The project has been very successful because of the following examples:
- Students who used to be tentative to perform in front of others have gradually built up their courage by performing regularly at CG Tonight! Now they are soloists in choir and band.
- CG Tonight! has students from outside the music department perform. Those students often end up enrolling in a music class or auditioning for the musical.
- CG Tonight! has been going strong since 2013. CGHS Music Matters schedules the monthly performances before the school year begins and then the administration puts the dates in the district calendar.
Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?
We recently helped another district set up an open mike night program so the advice we offered was to have students approach the music teacher first and share what they think they would like to perform. The music teacher can have the performers run through their act so that they are prepared or so that the music teacher can help if needed. Gradually the students will understand that they need to practice their act before they commit to a performance. As for budgeting start with accepting donations at the door. At first, ask a parent or community member if they have a small speaker and microphone to borrow. If not then a small intimate setting without a microphone works perfectly well also. Avoid using a large auditorium. Try to use the library, a classroom that could be set up with rows of chairs and no desks, or a lobby area works well also.