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Fall open mic nights build community, benefit Meals-on-Wheels
by:  photos courtesy of REBECCA LOPRINZI and KATEY LINKOUS On the left, Rebecca Loprinzi, 8, dreams of playing her violin for a Sandy Summer Sounds concert someday. At right, guitarists take the stage at Chariteas for an open mic performance.

Eight-year-old Rebecca Loprinzi has performed with Aaron Meyer, a regionally popular rock violinist, and someday hopes to hop on stage in Meinig Park for Sandy's Summer Sounds.

Rebecca and her mother attribute her fearlessness to open mic performances in Sandy.

The city of Sandy is kicking off its next season of open mic nights Oct. 7 at Chariteas, with the $5 performance cost benefiting Meals-On-Wheels. Along with the city program, Chariteas holds its own ongoing open mic series.

For the Oct. 7 event, musicians, comedians, dancers and poets are invited to take the stage for 10-minute performances.

Carol Cohen, events coordinator with the city, said the open mic nights have raised $20-80 at each event for Meals-on-Wheels.

The performers, she said, are all ages, but many children - such as Rebecca - and teens perform.

City-hosted open mic nights began as a way to provide young people something to do and promote local businesses. The events also coincide with First Friday.

'You don't always get that opportunity,' said 'Little' Rebecca (her mother is also named Rebecca). 'Sometimes I get bashful, but it makes me feel good that I'm trying to help other people.'

Katey Linkous, who has worked eight months at Chariteas, enjoys 'the cushion' environment open mic nights offer and being exposed to the 'intimate side of someone' who may write his or her own lyrics.

After the Oct. 7 open mic night, the next city one is scheduled for Nov. 4 at Sandy River Brewery.

Chariteas will resume its series in December, after a November movie night. Linkous has seen 25-30 participants at Chariteas open mic nights, which also cost $5; each attendee receives a goodie bag of snacks and tea.

Cohen said the city planned to host an event specifically geared toward kids in January.

At a glance

What: Open Mic Night, benefiting Meals-on-Wheels

When: 6:30-9 p.m. Oct. 7

Where: Chariteas, 38687 Proctor Blvd.

Cost: $5 for performers, which is donated to Meals-on-Wheels