Cornerstone Theatre in Carlyle, Saskatchewan, recently launched its inaugural Open Mic event, showcasing an array of talented artists from across Southeast Saskatchewan.

Jessica Shirley, one of the organizers from the Cornerstone Theatre Group, shared insights into the motivation behind this community initiative in a recent interview on SUN 102.

The concept of the Open Mic was born out of a desire to promote the arts, she explained, "The idea behind the open mic was to promote the arts in the area and encourage young artists to get out and show us what they have, and to help connect and provide space for established musicians as well."

The first Open Mic, held on Sunday, November 19, garnered an enthusiastic response from the community. Hosted by the talented Jacquie Walbaum, the event featured an eclectic mix of performers, ranging from seasoned musicians to emerging talents. Walbaum, a local favorite from Forget, is not only an accomplished solo artist but also a part of two local musical groups.

Describing Walbaum's role, Shirley noted, "She's really great at supporting other people on stage. Her and her husband Aaron have a band called Wool Tree Grove, and they are amazing to listen to. She also plays with the dueling piano group, Sirens. We picked her because she's just such a great support person and very positive and uplifting."

The roster of performers included Laurie Fornwald, Dianne Twietmeyer, and Michelle Amy, all members of the Cornerstone Theatre Group. As well as Colby Raymond and other performers including Winsome Kind, a couple whose performance left a lasting impression.

Addressing the frequency of the Open Mic events, Shirley shared, "We're actually going to do it monthly. The next one is planned for January 7th." Those interested in participating can secure a spot by contacting Shirley directly or messaging the Cornerstone Theatre Open Mic Facebook page. Alternatively, performers can sign up at the door on the day of the event.

Beyond its role as a creative platform, the Open Mic serves as a fundraiser for Cornerstone Theatre. Shirley highlighted, "Cornerstone Theatre events always donate 10% of the ticket sales to our local food bank, and then the rest just kind of helps with the upkeep of the theatre and things like that." Currently eyeing improvements, the theatre aims to enhance its facilities, with a particular focus on installing air conditioning to expand usability during the summer months.

As Cornerstone Theatre gears up for its monthly Open Mic series, the community can anticipate a vibrant and inclusive platform for local artists to shine, fostering a spirit of creativity and collaboration in Carlyle and beyond.

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