On August 30, the Mississauga Arts Council hosted Amphitheater Unplugged, an open live microphone event for aspiring musicians to showcase their talent. Hosted by Arlene Paculan, Amphitheater Unplugged is a recurring summer event held every Wednesday at Mississauga’s Celebration Square.

Almost unnoticeable if not for the music emanating from it, the Amphitheater is behind the fountains in Celebration Square. Amphitheatre Unplugged allowed musicians and singers to sign up for a performance as the night went on, so there was no shortage of talent.

The performances consisted of singers, musicians, or a combination of the two. Singers came in all ages. A notable performance was from a band called The Dreamboat, hailing from a music school that won the Band Choice Award at Mississauga Music Awards. The band played “Spirits” by The Strumbellas. Though the individuals in the band possessed talent, I would have wanted to see a more cohesive fusion of their talents, especially through expanding the band by more than three members. Perhaps another singer or bassist, could have added another dimension to their performance.

Younger singers pleasantly surprised audiences with their singing abilities. For example, Adriana Serra’s melodic rendition of Alicia Keys’s “Fallin” wowed the audience. Serra had a raspy, soprano voice. As I listened to her, I felt compelled not to turn away. I listened until the final note of the song. As she sung, Serra strummed a guitar which added vibrancy to her performance.

Another younger singer, Mikayla Howsam sang an original song with a fun and upbeat tone. Paculan, the host, is Howsam’s teacher and accompanied her performance on the piano. Later, it was revealed that Paculan and Howsam co-wrote the original song together.

The event also showcased aspiring musicians who are family members. Duo Lyssandra Dawn Capistrano and Lana Denise Capistrano are sisters that each sang a solo. Lana played keyboard while she sang “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna for a subtle, yet powerful cover. Lysandra sang Jessie J’s “Flashlight,” and drew an ovation from the audience.

But the local talent did not stop with singing. Wizdom, a rapper, engaged with the audience as he performed an original song that he produced with a friend. Wizdom reminded me of Eminem’s rapping style. Other performers took a more comedic approach like Birhan Sakar. Sakar performed a quasi-singing-spoken-word song called “You’re Welcome.”

The sound technician, who goes by the name Steve, also graced the stage. Though he normally plays in a band, Steve disclosed that this was his first solo performance in seven years. He played an original song called “Random House” on his electric guitar. The melody put the audience in a trance with its psychedelic, alternative sound.  It felt like you were transported to another world.

Outdoor open mics in Mississauga is a novel way for aspiring artists and local talent to highlight their abilities. It is also a fantastic opportunity for aspiring artists to sing on a professional stage with a supportive crowd. They can also network with others in their industry for new opportunities for gigs and find like-minded people that want to hone their craft. Not only are events like Amphitheatre Unplugged beneficial for the musicians, but the audience gets to hear some of Mississauga’s finest talents.

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