Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

The Student Activities Council hosted an open mic night in the Sykes Ballrooms on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 8 to provide an outlet for students to share their musical and poetic talents. It was headlined by the Matt Santry Band, a local West Chester band.The night was kicked-off with a performance by Mecca, a spoken word artist. Mecca’s recital was well-received by the audience, as they enjoyed hot chocolate and other refreshments provided free of charge.

Mecca was followed by the Matt Santry Band. The band consists of West Chester local Matt Santry on guitar and vocals, and WCU Alumni Brian Aglira on guitar and keyboard.

Santry and Aglira took to the stage with their opening set of six songs. This set featured a cover of Coldplay’s popular song “The Scientist.”

The band also performed some of Santry’s own songs. They performed “A Box That’s Always Empty,” which Santry describes as “an ex-girlfriend song.”

“They always make for a good song,” he joked. They also performed “Prove Me Wrong,” which Santry considers to be his “only love song.”

Santry and Aglira also performed the song “Love Habit.” This song has been played on Philadelphia’s WMMR radio station and Santry describes it as “my anti-love song.”

It features some strong lyrics, such as, “I didn’t lie when I said I loved you/ I just didn’t know the difference between love and a habit/ Love or comfort/ Falling was the habit/ And you were the comfort.”

Fourteen WCU students then took over the acoustic coffee house setting to demonstrate their own talents. Freshman Keith Roberts performed Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” on the piano, and provided equally impressive vocals.

Roberts was the only performer to use the piano; many students sang along to their own guitar playing. Annie Myers sang a couple of blues songs and did a cover of “Top of the World” by the Dixie Chicks.

Thom Kissinger performed two of his own songs: “Willow Tree,” which is about going away to college and “Champagne is for Celebrating,” which is about drinking and fighting with your parents, “two things college kids love,” said Kissinger.

Fourth-year student Mike DeLia covered Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” and an original piece entitled “White Noise.”

Andrew Baranek played and sang “Johnny Appleseed.”

The Fifth Floor Sensations, made-up of Ryan McCoach, Matt Smith and Charlie Walsh of Tyson’s fifth floor, had many fans show up to cheer them on. They performed Slightly Stoopid’s “Collie Man” and fan-favorite “MMMBop,” made famous by Hanson.

Kevin Ivey performed two original songs, one of which incorporated literary references.

Second-year students Josh Rovinsky and Austin Flinn, also known as “Less Than Three,” performed songs entitled, “No Surprises” and “Silhouette.”

Another performer with a large group of fans was guitarist and vocalist Sean Nestor. Nestor performed John Mayer’s “Gravity” and OneRepublic’s “Apologize.” WCU students Mary Hessler and Annie Cieniewicz describe Nestor as having “an amazing voice.”

Providing a unique alternative to guitar playing were performers Lisa Gentile and Mike Voss. Gentile read a few of her own poems, one about choosing a trip to Ireland over a lover and two about the tragedy at Virginia Tech. She also performed two very personal a cappella pieces she wrote.

Second-year student Voss rapped two songs, one a love song, the other entitled “The Traveler.” Voss followed these two songs with a passionate spoken word piece.

The Matt Santry Band came on stage to perform their second set and close out the night. They covered “Message in a Bottle,” made famous by The Police and “Walking in Memphis,” originally performed by Marc Cohn. The band also performed “She Said No,” which will probably be the first track on Santry’s next CD. They also performed “Liberty,” which was written by Santry when he was residing in Jersey City: the title refers to The Statue of Liberty.

Matt Santry’s first CD, “Rising Son,” is available online at His next CD will be available in early 2008. Information about him and his appearances are available at

Co-sponsors of Open Mic Night were the Sykes Union Advisory Board, the Black Student Union and Sykes After Dark.

Brian Plunkett is a fourth-year student majoring in English with minors in journalism and film criticism. He can be reached at

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