If there is one event that is overlooked by Rider students, it is Brownwater, an open mic night with a “coffee house” vibe to it. Located in the pub, performances include solo acoustic, rappers, spoken word, comedy and everything in between. Some are covers, others are originals, all are creative. Diversity is what Brownwater president, senior Ian Smith, thinks makes it such a unique event.
“At Brownwater you are never judged for your art, which makes freedom of expression an unlimited possibility,” said Smith.
The same creative mentality that encouraged Smith to become president also encourages me to keep coming back. When a friend of mine introduced me to this go-to place for expression, I didn’t know what I was in for.
“To be able to express your art, whatever it may be, in a room among friends is one of the best experiences that I know of,” Smith said.
Raul “Polo” Cortes Jr. is a name you may already know. In addition to performing and volunteering as a host/hype-man of Brownwater, he is the pasta chef at Daly’s and mentor to many students. He described Brownwater as a “weekly phenomenon,” and says that “if you don’t go, you miss out.” After attending my first Brownwater event, I understood exactly what Cortes is referring to.
One spectator, sophomore Jordan Jackson, explains that Brownwater is a place that has “so much talent” and “so much energy.” Even if you are just a spectator, Jackson believes that the energy and creativity that exists in Brownwater enables you to “find yourself.” And that is just what I did.
I have yet to perform, but while attending Brownwater I loved to watch the acoustic sets, amazing singers and original songwriters. But, what is equally interesting is the art forms I didn’t know I enjoyed. For instance, while I always knew what spoken word poems were, I did not understand the magnitude of emotion a spectator receives when hearing the author speak his or her own art. Also, rapping isn’t my favorite form of music, but the message a rapper has can be powerful as well as relatable.
Naturally, a college like Rider is host to many walks of life. What better way to understand other people and other cultures than to see or hear first-hand?
Brownwater is not only a place to witness, but also to act. Everyone is encouraged to perform whatever he or she wants. Because, as Smith explained, “Some may go off to bigger things with their talents, while others may not; but the fact that they come and perform here is a better feeling than any big scale show,” and your performance can do just that: inspire.
Brownwater is from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. every Wednesday and consists of 15 ten-minute slots for entertainers in the pub. Anyone is welcome and all snacks, coffee, tea and Italian sodas are free.
Junior business economics major