Celebrating another first, Influence Music Hall (IMH) hosted an open-air, open mic evening on Friday, June 19th 2020. The long-time staple in the Hillsboro music community recently made the difficult decision not to renew the lease at the 3rd Street location, due to concerns about COVID-19 and the suitability of the venue. While founder Evan Acey and the board search for a new permanent location, they also continue to uphold the mission of IMH: keeping live music free and open to everyone, with or without a building. Anyone who has ever stepped onto the Influence stage, regardless of the location, knows that it’s not about the venue, but the performer, and giving those performers space and encouragement to showcase their talent.
The parking lot made an ideal theatre for a socially distanced audience, most in lawn chairs, six feet apart. Under a warm, overcast sky, this first for IMH was held at the Weil Arcade, with audience and performers in facemasks, when not singing. Acey live-streamed the event on Facebook, as board members John Clements ran the sound and Greg Ebert monitored parking. Fan-favorite, musician, Andee Joyce was the emcee and opening act. As any night at IMH, the open-air version treated listeners to an eclectic mix of original and cover tunes, spoken word and beatbox. In this new era, the nine artists used their own microphones, placed into mic stands that were sanitized after every performance.
While the search for a permanent location continues, plans are in the works to offer these open-air, open mic events, with IMH following guidelines to ensure the health and safety of the audience and performers. To learn more about IMH, or where a performance may pop up next, check out the non-profit’s website at influencemusichall.org or their Facebook page.
“Tualatin Valley Artists is an organization of creative people dedicated to improving our community’s quality of life by enhancing it’s art and culture. With our strong focus on building and presenting a regional sense of art & culture, we provide education, quality gallery display, poetry and musical performance – all in an atmosphere of encouragement and opportunity.”
Written by: Penny Cork