Many students from across the world come to Exeter Summer for the same reasons, but also for different reasons as well. Exeter Summer offers many ways for these students to connect with one another, and one of these is Evening Prayer which is conducted by Mr. Weatherspoon, and takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Phillips Church at 8:30 pm.
Evening Prayer, also known as Open Mike, is one of the best environments on campus. It is welcoming, full of excitement and enthusiasm, and bursting with creativity. The night begins with Mr. Weatherspoon giving an introduction to the new members. He follows by performing a short piece, for example a poem, to set the tone for the evening. This helps all of the students settle in and become comfortable with everybody in the audience. Mr. Weatherspoon then steps aside and allows the first brave soul to approach the microphone.
The brave performers that step up to the microphone always have something valuable to say, and these performances come in many different forms. This past Tuesday at Open Mike, the acts consisted of a few individuals delivering speeches that they prepared themselves, a solo singer, a singing duo, and a performance on the piano. All of which were exceptional. Something else that I should add for those of you that have yet to attend an Evening Prayer, is that there is no clapping or snapping after a performance. The basis around Open Mike is that everybody should be comfortable coming up in front of an audience and sharing what they have prepared, and nobody should express that they liked one act in particular more than another.
Once the time hits 8:53 pm, Mr. Weatherspoon takes the stage again and wraps up the evening with a poem or lullabie. Once he finishes, it is your invitation to leave.
The response from the audience is amazing as well. When asked about what you can take away from your experience at Open Mike, fellow audience member Owen Purnomo from Indonesia said the following. “Wealth, status, and knowledge is what we all strive for”, Owen exclaimed. “But at the end of the day, happiness, friendship and love is what makes life worth living for”.
One thing I will leave you with is that you shouldn’t be worried about the response you get from the audience or if the audience won’t like your performance. You can perform for twenty seconds or five minutes if you like. The atmosphere is so welcoming and kind, that everybody should attend Open Mike. I highly suggest it.