Heights Music Shop hosts popular open-mic events

Bob Sammon performing at an open mic at Heights Music Shop.

Photo courtesy of Rick Szekelyi.

If you enjoy live music and are a fan of some of Cleveland’s music stars, you should check out the open-mic events at the Heights Music Shop at 2174 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. These events are held on the first Sunday of every month, from 3 to 6 p.m.

While many open mics only allow acoustic music, the Music Shop's feature a wide variety of instruments, and, at last month's, the shop provided drums and keyboards, so many of the musicians were able to perform with a band setup.

Rick Szekelyi, the store's owner, said, “We love being part of the local music community, and the open mics are one way we can do that.” Prior to opening the store in November 2015, Szekelyi hosted open mics at Stone Oven, the Lee Road restaurant and bakery. He said he thinks one reason the Music Shop’s open mics are so great is because of the musicians who attend the events.

“While they are seasoned singer-songwriters, they have a way of making folks who are new at performing feel very comfortable,” Szekelyi said. “It’s a scary thing to get up and perform for the first several times. Having an accepting, supportive audience can make all the difference.”

Szekelyi added that there are a few well-known Cleveland musicians who show up on a regular basis, including singer-songwriters Bob Sammon, Gary Hall, Amanda Walsh, Jerry Allen, Tom Girard and Ken Moody-Arndt.

Szekelyi also said that the Music Shop’s open mics usually feature a variety of instruments. “Depending on who shows up, it can be very interesting,” he said. “Once we had a young boy, about 11 years old, play clarinet. He blew everyone away with how soulful he played. I particularly love to see young people take a shot at it.”

Szekelyi said he loves open mics and thinks they are a significant part of the local music scene. “I feel they are a very important element in developing and maintaining a vibrant music scene, which Cleveland definitely has," he said. "Not only do they give singer-songwriters an opportunity to grow and develop, but they also give the seasoned folks an opportunity to try out new material. They also provide the opportunity for the local artists to simply get together, meet one another, hang out and exchange ideas. There’s no telling what can come from those get-togethers.”

James Henke

James Henke, a Cleveland Heights resident, was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine for 15 years. He is also the author of several books, including biographies of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bob Marley. He is on the board of FutureHeights, and is co-chair of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 11:52 AM, 11.30.2016