BY DALE LEONHART ’19
Friday nights are always busy at Mount Holyoke, and last week was no exception. Among the many events taking place on campus was an intimate open mic held by the Asian Students Association (ASA). Art 220 was lit with tea lights and the classroom chalkboards decorated with intricate drawings. Soda, chips and Pocky (a sweet Japanese snack) were served and a group of people were animatedly searching through Youtube to find the first song of the night — “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” was the winner.
The atmosphere of the event was relaxed, the air filled with laughter as students sang to hits like Justin Beiber’s “Baby” as well as classics from childhood movies like “Once Upon a December” from “Anastasia.” Attendees included active members of the Asian Student Association, along with students who were not familiar with the organization, but saw the event promoted on Word Out. “I don’t usually come to ASA events,” said Maddie Lapuk ’19. “But my friend invited me and I didn’t have anything else to do. I’m actually really glad to be here.” When asked if she would be taking the mic to perform, she laughed and said, “No way. But I’ll sing quietly from my seat.”
According to Anya Nandkeolyar ’19, the co-chair of ASA, the organization’s goals in hosting the karaoke night “wasn’t for [the event] to be the biggest on campus, but for people to leave with a genuine sense of enjoyment.” She also thought the open mic might be a great way to add some variety to the typical ASA events. “We’re in a process of change and growth. We want to step outside our current structure to host more diverse and engaging events . . . just singing songs from Disney and the early 2000s really brings people together.” Though the event was small, Nandkeolyar saw it as a success.
ASA regulars and non-members eventually joined together to enthusiastically sing a raucous rendition of “Master of the House” from “Les Misérables.” Lucy Frasier ’18, though not a regular member of the association, said her experience was “a lot of fun. I’m not going to take the mic but I’ll sing along with the group.” Asked if she would come to other ASA events in the future, she laughed and said, “If Anya invites me again, then yes!”
As the night came to a close, numbers dwindled. Some of the remaining students knew each other prior to the event, while others knew no one. However, by the end of the night, they were joking and laughing like old friends. Nandkeolyar said, “It’s amazing how quickly people can bond the moment ‘Satisfied’ from Hamilton comes on the screen.”