• Grace McElhone

WIDR FM + Gibbs House = LOVE


On Friday, January 12, 2018, the Gibbs House and WIDR FM co-hosted an Open Mic Night and Dessert Potluck! The historic Gibbs House is located on Parkview Ave and is home to the Gibbs House Fellowship, a program of WMU’s Office for Sustainability. In order to host the event, the Gibbs House Fellows (including me! I live there!) rearranged our living room to accommodate. We set up a “stage” in the corner (ft. WIDR’s gear and our dying fern, R.I.P. dear Fern), and chairs and couches lined the walls. By 7:15 p.m., the place was packed. The dining room tables were covered with vegan and non-vegan desserts thanks to all those who brought food. Socked feet and guitar cases filled the living room. Friendly faces from all over the WMU community bustled through the house.

Almost a dozen acts played throughout the night. Most of the audience enjoyed the show while sitting close together on our comfy wooden floor. The majority of performers played instruments and sang, both covers and original songs. I was personally pleased by how many people were brave enough to share original -sometimes new, never performed- songs during their set. Those who stumbled through chords, forgot lyrics, or hit those notes nice and good were lovingly encouraged with small cheers from the audience. After each song, the big old farmhouse filled with clapping and cheering. The entire event was a very uplifting experience.

To me, this event was particularly special. I have met some of the coolest and most precious people I know through WIDR and the Gibbs House. WIDR FM was the first organization I got involved with here at Western, and I will always hold this station and its people close to my heart. WIDR FM has connected me with other student musicians and lovers of music who I have collaborated with in ways that I could never dream of (i.e. recording in the ~very~ professional and expensive Western Sound Studios-- whaaat). I am constantly learning more about music and growing as a musician thanks to my friends from WIDR, and I know that my love for this station is shared with other students, alumni, and community members alike. Over the past year, the Gibbs House has become a home to me, as I know it is a home for many others within the Western community. This house has led me to people who constantly inspire me to do better for the world. Having a role in fostering the Gibbs community has been a true honor. I am so glad that I got to witness the meshing of these two worlds, who are more similar than they may realize.

Without these two organizations, I know I would not be the person I am today. I hope this Gibbs House Open Mic is the first of many (lookin at you future WIDR directors and Gibbs Fellows!). Thank you to everyone who helped make it such an awesome night.

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