The first floor lounge was crowded but cozy, lit only by strands of white lights as resident musicians of Ashton performed in an open mic night on Thursday.
Ashton Residence Life Coordinator Matt Cox kicked off the evening with an original song called “Interstate Life.” Unfortunately, his performance was hampered by technical difficulties. Cox’s cable kept “crapping out,” as he put it, causing his baritone guitar to fluctuate in and out through the sound system.
Problems with the equipment persisted throughout the night, but there were still a few stellar performances.
An emotional high point was freshman Cody Kilpatrick’s performance of a wistful original called “Too Little, Too Late.”
“I wrote it back in July, I guess,” Kilpatrick said. “I do my best to write music, less about my own experiences, and write line by line, things that I believe, so that people can implant their own meaning and their own experiences into the song.”
Kilpatrick used an open tuning on his acoustic guitar to produce an ethereal, haunting chord progression behind his gentle singing.
“It ended up being almost a sad relationship-type song,” Kilpatrick said. “It’s very sad, but at the end of each chorus, it’s kind of hopeful.”
Another noteworthy performer was freshman Liam Wright, who delivered an energetic rendition of City and Colour’s “The Girl.” His scratchy tenor voice and amiable personality made him a crowd favorite. Liam said that performing live inspires him to continue making music.
“There’s nothing really better, to me, than to be able to perform what I’ve been working on and stuff. I’m not much of a studio rat,” Wright said.
By the second chorus of “The Girl,” Wright had the audience singing along and clapping.
“Regardless of what happens, I’m going to keep doing [music],” Wright said. “I’m not trying to become a rockstar or anything like that. I’m planning to go into music therapy.”
Wright also played guitar for Lauren Helmer, who sang “Fix You” by Coldplay. Her voice was sweet and versatile. She soared on the breathy high notes and grasped the lows with a rich strength.
The act that seemed to spark the most interest from the audience was the duo of freshmen Zach Meyers and Skye Perrin. The duo turned heads when they arrived in formal attire. Perrin and Meyers delivered passionate renditions of “Kiss Me” by Ed Sheeran and “Heartless” by Kanye West. The dynamics of their performance were captivating. They began in hushed voices and gradually swelled to a passionate crescendo. The strongest aspect of their performance was the crystal clear harmonies.
“We both have a very acoustic style,” Perrin said.
Meyers and Perrin hope to perform music together beyond the SPU campus.
“I think we want to take it elsewhere, eventually,” Meyers said. “I know I definitely do, but we kind of just met when school started, so we definitely want to keep working on stuff and singing together and see what happens.”
Both Meyers and Perrin find inspiration for their music in Christianity.
“The typical relationship stuff, absolutely,” Meyers said. “But then there’s also a lot of faith-based stuff, and like, big themes tied in.”
“Definitely, my relationship with the Lord inspires me,” Perrin said. “I write a lot of worship music on my own, so that’s a huge influence on me.”
Perhaps the most unique performer of the night was sophomore Emery Boehnke, who played several instrumental bluegrass pieces on the banjo. Emery uses a three-finger style of banjo picking that allows him to play remarkably fast.
“I think I’ve been playing around four years,” Boehnke said. “My grandpa just had a banjo lying around that he never really learned how to play, and I just thought, ‘The banjo is pretty cool.’ ”
Michael Worotikan wowed the audience with his vocal prowess. He played two pop-y piano songs that demonstrated his tremendous range. At times, he employed a passionate growl, and at others he used a breezy falsetto.
Josh Thomas concluded the session with a humorous rap.
“I just wrote this today,” Thomas said.
The chorus of “How much swag can one man handle?” elicited lots of laughs from the audience.