One strand of Christmas lights hangs intertwined with white bulbs, pressed against the far wall of the performance space. In the corner, a single stand of stage lights illuminates the faces of the eager students waiting to take the stage and perform. Some stand up and read poetry or freestyle, but most come ready to share the music they have been working so hard on with the excited crowd.
Every Thursday afternoon the Contemporary Music Department posts a sign-up sheet outside of the world music studio; and on Thursday nights in Benildus, students file in to the O’Shaughnessy Performance Space, filling the rows of chairs, standing along the walls, and continuing out the garage door in the back. This week, the performance list starts with the over-flow from the week before.
The event is called Forum, and this semester it has been more popular than ever. Joseph Gordon, a junior focusing on Music Technology, attributes the surge in the event’s popularity to the many freshman “taking advantage of the event to really showcase what they can do. People want to have a good time and all who perform have that passion and drive to make Forum great.”
Cheyenne Gonzalez is one of the freshman this semester who is taking full advantage of everything this open-mic has to offer. “All the freshman seem to be drawn to O’Shaughnessy every Thursday night without fail. The fact that it’s a combined thing, [not] just a CMP thing, makes me happy. I’m glad that I get to share my passion with so many people!”
In years prior, the student attendance at Forum was incredibly low. People weren’t showing up to perform or support, and at that time, the department considered stopping the event all together, but students weren’t going to let that happen. Blythe Brooks, a junior in the CMP department, helps run sound for the student run event; “we didn’t want that to happen, so we decided to reach out to more of the student body and say, don’t let this die!”
Forum is an event that has been happening on campus since Santa Fe University of Art and Design was known as the College of Santa Fe, it’s a tradition. More importantly, it is an incredibly useful platform for all students to take advantage of. It gives you the ability to get up in front of your peers and show them what you have been working on. Every time a student stands up to perform, the crowd goes wild. Letting a feeling of support and excitement settle through the space.
Njaveva Bingana, who is currently a sophomore, is a familiar face on the stage at this event. He carries himself with a charismatic charm indicative of someone who is used to performing in front of a crowd of people. Bingana mentions the experience is the most valuable part of getting involved at Forum. “It’s really important to me personally to be able to put time into something I love and be able to showcase it to my peers,” he says, adding, “forum is also one of these places where it’s a celebration of new creativity, and experimentation. It’s really a place where you can try anything and everything is possible!”
Though the event is thrown by the CMP department, it is open to all students who want to share their work. Brooks shows great enthusiasm for the future of the event. “Forum connects people, brings us closer, and gives us the perfect open space to share what we love the most: our art.”