An exciting part of my 50 Feats adventures has been the ability to discover a variety of events within my own community. One of the main goals in selecting my activities was to support my Niagara community in ways I had not done (or even known about) before I began my blogs. One of my new favourite pastimes is checking out such sites as the St. Catharines Downtown Association (mydowntown.ca) and Niagara Falls Events Calendar (https://www.niagarafalls.ca/events/calendar/default.ec) where an array of possibilities for the month is presented. The added bonus is that many of the events are free or low cost which makes them more accessible for members of our community.
Several months ago when I was early for a concert at the new First Ontario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, I dropped into Mahtay Café across the road to pass some time. I was intrigued by the events calendar they had posted on the wall; there were art shows, music, and poetry readings listed, many presented by local talent. I made a note to check out an evening or two. Of course, life happens, and it took me a little while to loop back to this particular feat.
I decided to attend a Thursday night Open Mic to get a sampling of the local talent. I arrived around 7 p.m. for the advertised 7:30 start, found a table and did a little reading while I waited. I wasn’t sure what to expect – music, poetry, performance art? The first thing I noticed was that time was relatively fluid for this event as 7:30 turned into 8:30 before anyone actually took to the stage. However, I think I might have been the only one to notice this as people continued to gather, chat, laugh, and generally enjoy the community. As the room filled up, a couple of young men joined my table. While I didn’t get their names, we had a long conversation while one waited anxiously for his turn to perform. He had been to Open Mic numerous times before and clearly loved playing guitar and having a venue to do so. In contrast to the young artist were the older men who seemed known to the organizers suggesting they, too, were regulars on this stage. Each had signed up and were called to the stage one by one. The music was varied – some old favourites, some original compositions, folksy to harder rock. There were also differential levels of talent, but the one thing that they all had in common was their pure enjoyment in making music. As someone who can neither sing nor play an instrument, I always appreciate the creation of music by those who both can and do share it with me. I feel their joy and am always buoyed by it with them.
As I left the café at the end of the evening (or at least the end for me, since I worked the following morning), the friendly hum of the patrons followed me to the door. I stopped to glance at the events calendar on my way out. I saw that one of the upcoming events was a Poetry Slam. There may be more Mahtay evenings for me!
Next up: Feats with Friends – Cooking at Strewn