UTM’s Artistic Resource Team held their first coffeehouse open mic night last Wednesday in the MiST Theatre. The coffeehouse was one of two scheduled for the year, the next planned for the spring term. UTM’s own talented musicians, dancers, and poets entertained a full house from 8 until 10 p.m.

Audience members arrived as early as 7:30 p.m., paying for admission with either a $2 donation to United Way or a non-perishable food item donated to the UTM Food Bank. The ambient lighting and the buzzing crowd greeted cheerful hosts Sam Abel and Riley O’Connell as they opened the stage to the performers.

Twelve diverse acts graced the MiST over the course of the night. Violinist Arvin Huang set the bar by taking audience requests for popular theme songs on his violin, including the themes of Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and Mass Effect.

Peer academic leader Alice Li followed with a graceful contemporary dance routine, which she called a “slow motion breakdance” to a cover of “Vienna” by Billy Joel.

“The most important part of music to me is the words,” said performer and rap artist Amar Kapur, before diving into a few original a capella rap pieces.

English literature student Dan Squire had the audience in hysterics before intermission with his comedic poetry, including a piece about bullies, or in Squire’s terminology, “haters”. A 15-minute intermission allowed audiences to recharge on tea, coffee, and cookies provided by Chartwells.

The duo Yalla Yalla (comprising Joe Measures and Ronny ElShabassy) reopened the stage alongside Andrew Wilson on guitar, melting hearts with his original composition “Chasing Happiness”.

Nebula, a quirky and simple trio who gave their first performance at last year’s coffeehouse, charmed the audience with their catchy, original piece “Like This”, and were invited to give an encore to end the night.

“ART is running a bit differently this year, so we have been working to find our groove, and everything came together really well,” said chairperson Becky Arnott.

Arnott is one of three chairs on the team this year, alongside Arjan Banerjee and Abel. ART brings together arts and culture at UTM by collaborating with Student Housing and Residence Life and the Department of Student Life to connect UTM students with artistic resources in the GTA. Their events include art gallery visits in downtown Toronto, the annual Nuit Blanche trip in collaboration with the Blackwood Gallery, evenings at Erindale Theatre, and the annual ArtsFest.

This year, ArtsFest will take place in February; performers and visual artists can currently apply to the festival on the UTM Arts Festival 2014 page on Facebook.

“Our goal this year is to branch out beyond residence and reach more students on campus,” said Arnott.

More information about the Artistic Resource Team is available on the Student Life website at utm.utoronto.ca/student-life/arts-culture/art.

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