We’ll bring the audience, you bring your stuff.
That’s the idea behind Sayso Expression Society, which encourages people to share their talents be it music or pottery, said society board member Mil Juricic.
For over a year now the society has been bringing the audiences, and people in Merritt have responded by taking the stage month after month at Iron Mountain Music performing songs, stories and skits.
Impressed with what the non-profit society has become, members are exploring ways the society can evolve while continuing to foster the self expression that has made it so popular.
At an open meeting on Jan. 24 board members explained how the society came to be and asked for input on where people would like to see it could go.
“From the beginning my agenda was this: How do we do something that increases self-confidence for people, whether it was singing or reading?,” said Juricic.
What started as a Friday night coffee house at NVIT quickly evolved into the open mic nights that take place each month.
“It was really organic – not just one person’s idea,” said Jody Okabe, one of the founding board members. “The idea just took off and no matter where we went, things happened.”
Okabe, who now performs regularly in Merritt singing along to her ukulele, had never played publicly and though her first appearance was nerve-racking, she described the experience as inspiring.
“There’s a level of respect – I’ve never been to an open mic night where people actually listen,” she said.
And yet, Okabe and the other board members feel that Sayso is more than an open mic night that you can find in other cities. The open format meeting allowed those in attendance to brainstorm ideas which included holding outdoor drum circles in the summer, incorporating improv skits and filming live interviews in between open mic acts to post on the internet.
Whatever Sayso evolves into, the society will continue to be a place where the ordinary person in Merritt can express themselves. The next Sayso open mic evening will be this Friday, Feb. 11 at Iron Mountain Music’s Capital soundstage.
This year memberships, which an be purchased at the door, have doubled to $20 for the year to cover costs. Doors open at 8 p.m.