Ellen Schmidt’s Open Mike

Click here to sign up for the next Open Mike

This page provides information about the long running Acoustic Music/Poetry1or, Spoken Word in general  Open Mike, known as “Ellen Schmidt’s Open Mike”2The open mike is named in honor of Ellen Schmidt, who founded it and ran it for decades at various venues in the Boston area.

Over the years, the Open Mike has been held at various locations, and on different days of the week. Since the beginning of the COVID Pandemic, in March 2020, the Open Mike has been held online, using the Zoom Video Conferencing software.

Recently, we have begun moving back to in-person Open Mikes, by holding “Hybrid” Open Mikes, which support both in-person and Zoom performances.

Currently we are holding two Open Mikes every month:

  • A Hybrid Open Mike, usually on the first Monday of the month3in 2023, it is possible that the Hybrid Open Mikes will be moved to a different day of week to avoid conflicts with Monday Holidays, when the Library is closed, held at the Meeting Room at the Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough MA.
  • A Zoom Open Mike, usually on the third Monday of the month

To receive announcements about the Open Mike, you can sign up to the email list. Generally, you will receive two emails a month – one for each open mike.


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What is an open mike?

An Open Mike 4sometimes called an Open Mic, but see here for discussion on the preferred terminology provides a venue where audience members can practice performing and/or share songs and spoken material. Performers can range from professionals trying out new material, to practiced amateurs5in the sense of people who write or perform for the love of art, to people who are totally new at performing and want to gain experience in a supportive environment. Above all an Open Mike is a community of people sharing their art.


The Open Mike is free either to perform or to attend and listen.6In the past there has been a voluntary “pass the hat” for the feature performer, currently the Open Mike is not having feature performers.


Zoom Open Mikes run from 7pm (Eastern US) to approximately 9pm. Live/Hybrid open mikes run from 7:30pm to approximate 10pm (depending on the number of performers); doors open around 7pm.

Depending on the number of signups, each performer gets a 5 or 10 minute performance slot; 5 minutes is generally enough time to perform one song, with introduction, or a few short poems. 10 minutes is enough time for two songs.

Performance times are selected by a random drawing of the people registered to perform, on the day of the open mike. If people have special time constraints we try to be supportive. We encourage people to preregister for a performance slot; we try to accommodate walk-in performers if possible, but cannot guarantee them a chance to play due to time limits.

Who can perform?

Anyone. Young or old. Amateur or professional. Songwriters, Poets, Storytellers,. Musicians who play or sing covers, original songs, traditional songs, standards, modern pop songs, folk, blues, classical, whatever someone is moved to perform.

This is usually an acoustic music or spoken word open mike. We don’t have a drum set or a backline for electric instruments, though we can usually plug them into the sound system. The usual mike setup can accommodate groups of 2-3 people – two vocal mikes, one instrument mike, and two instrument plugins – please ask in advance if you need more than that. There is usually a keyboard available for use, but check in advance if you plan to use it.

Who can listen?

Anyone. We appreciate people registering in advance so we can make sure there are enough chairs available.

How to register

To register for the Open Mike, either as a performer or as a listener, you can use the SignupGenius URL https://dantappanmusic.com/open_mike_signup

For more information

For the latest information about the Open Mike you can join the Open Mike’s Facebook Group, or sign up for periodic emails (usually two per month) using the form above