By Tom Spencer, Staff Writer
The open microphone night known as ‘The Grind’ was notable for its variety this month, as students performed comedy, music and poetry at the Campus Activity Board’s (CAB) event on Friday.
About a hundred students gathered around the circular tables in the Entertainment Center of the MUB to watch their classmates perform. Every table was full, and many more students were leaning against the walls or milling in the kitchen.
“We had great attendance,” said Lindsey Silveira, co-chair of the The Grind for CAB. “We didn’t have much time to get the word out, but we still got people.”
There were a few microphones and a keyboard available to performers on the stage. Most students brought their own guitar or ukulele.
While the evening was primarily about entertainment, there were a few serious notes as well. After a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love,” Zachary Ahmad-Kahloon, the male victim coordinator for UNH’s Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP), took the stage.
Ahmad-Kahloon introduced the crowd to the 1BlueString program, which asks guitar players to replace one of their guitar strings with a blue string to represent the one in six men who are sexually abused in childhood.
“[SHARPP] has been to previous Grinds, but not as well attended as this one,” Ahmad-Kahloon said.
The next performer after Ahmad-Kahloon took the same topic in another direction.
During his stand up comedy routine, junior communications major Alex Haigh asked “How was I like a vodka bottle at 4-years-old? My dad hit us both.”
The crowd responded with mixed winces and laughter. When asked for his opinion of the joke, Ahmad-Kahloon said, “I don’t know.”
“I felt great, I love making people laugh,” Haigh said after his performance. “It takes my nerves off when they do.”
Though The Grind often features music, the comedy was part of what impressed CAB member Kristen Anderson with February’s Grind.
“There was more variety than usual,” Anderson said.
This variety included a performance of a Mozart sonata, and a medley of pop songs and television show themes on the accordion.
The accordion player was Christo Van-Bree, an international student from the Netherlands.
“I’ve been playing the accordion for over 12 years,” Van-Bree said. “I like UNH. It’s a big school but it’s still a community.”
Toward the end of the evening, Brian Guger, a senior communications major recited “The Lotos-Eaters,” a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
“It’s such a beautiful poem I was hoping to do it justice,” Guger said.
Guger said he first read the poem last fall while studying abroad in Italy. “It’s so rhythmic and musical. Most poetry is meant to be heard out loud,” Guger said.
Song covers for the night featured “Part of Your World,” a track from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”; “I‘m Yours” by Jason Mraz; and “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.
Between each performance, members of CAB would tell a joke or pun before introducing the next act.
Audience members could enjoy the chocolate chip and sugar cookies as well as pretzels, cheese balls, coffee, tea and lemonade in the kitchen behind the stage. Many of the round tables had small, electric candles in glass jars to add to the atmosphere.
“Accordion, comedy, poetry,” Anderson said. “We’ve never had that much variety before. It was great to see.”