The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
Thursday nights in St. Catharines are coming to life.
Every week performers of all genres, ages and skill levels are drawn to St. Paul Street and Mahtay Café and Lounge for a chance to perform for an audience.
Danielle Parker, a performer who has participated in the event since its beginnings, explained that the popularity of the open mic nights was not always as big as it is now.
“It started off really slow,” Parker explained. “It was every other Thursday and it was always pretty empty. It’s cool to see how far it’s come.”
Parker says performing is her “creative outlet.”
Fellow performer Kirk Danuco has the same mentality. “It’s an outlet to perform. I realized that I had the opportunity so I’d like to seize it.”
Mahtay is an open environment, perfect for putting yourself out there.
“There’s a lot of encouragement and creative criticism that’s offered here,” states Danuco. “People see the work you’re doing and they appreciate it.”
Alexander Quattrociocchi also finds Mahtay’s atmosphere very welcoming. “Everybody goes up there and shares their art and you get a lot of diversity. You get to see a lot of new things and everybody here is encouraging and open to it.”
Josh Lynes, a newcomer to the open mic nights, says, “I like to tell a story through song. That’s where my passion comes from.”
Passion is nothing to be ignored and Mahtay offers an attentive audience for its display.
“The audience really cares here,” explains Parker. “I’ve gone to so many places where so many people go up and play and people just don’t care. But people come here to actually just be an audience member and I think that’s super cool. People actually care about what’s happening.”
Mahtay’s open mic runs every Thursday night and is free to attend.