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Oct. 19, 2021 | Tuesday
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Legion open mic going strong four months in


New and returning performers are buzzing about the NOTL Legion’s Open Mic as the monthly event keeps on rocking after its first four Sundays.

Holmes Hooke has stepped up to the mic to perform his folky and spoken word renditions since the first day, and he says he’ll “definitely keep coming back.”

“The venue is totally comfortable and they have a really great sound system,” he said.

Hooke plays what he calls a “jingle stick,” which is a repurposed hockey stick fastened with beer bottle caps.

“There’s no limit to what you can play. (The open mic) is not genre-specific,” he said.

Crediting Randy Busbridge, aka “Buzz Hummer,” for organizing and hosting the event, Hooke said he would “love to see more people” coming out and taking advantage of the space.

The Legion offers a warm and encouraging atmosphere, he added.

“It allows me to keep my chops honed and I get to play in front of a receptive audience.”

First-timer Gail Hawkins said her friend Brenda Parks had been giving her a gentle nudge to head to the Legion and step up to the mic, and last Sunday a group of her friends decided to go.

“I thought, ‘I’ll bring my guitar and see how it goes.’”

But as she got to the Legion, she said she decided she would just go for it, because “life’s too short.”

Hawkins performed a few original songs and played some classics, and she said she “felt really good” about the experience afterward.

“I was really nervous. It was a new experience for me. I was super impressed with the crowd and super impressed with the quality of performers. It’s such a great atmosphere,” she said.

Hawkins said other than being “famous in her living room,” she really hasn’t performed for an audience before, but the Legion’s open mic was welcoming and encouraging.

“One hundred per cent I’ll be back,” she said.

The Open Mic is hosted by Busbridge on the first Sunday of every month from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Legion Banch 124 on King Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake.