The 7th Open Mic Night, July 25, 2015


Waterfalls and Open Mic Night with Mon Concepcion

Can one go under the waterfalls and not be drenched and be thrilled by the gush of waterfall over your head? It is just as impossible to go to an Open Mic Night at the La Habra Art Gallery without being mesmerized by art and music;  not to be inspired and find joy and hope by the colors on the walls brought by the artworks of the Special Students of the VSA of Orange County.

The portrait artists brought everything they thought they needed.  It was supposed to be another pencil/charcoal drawing session, at a place they have never heard before.  Each one check off the items in their tool list – easel, paper, charcoal, pencil, stump, erasers, etc.  They were ready or so they thought.

Saturday night at an art gallery was not exactly the kind of adventure the young violin players and their friends had in mind.  But they were invited to play at an Open Mic at the La Habra Art Gallery.  They have performed with symphonies at famous performing arts theatres in different parts of the country but never at an art gallery, nor at the City of La Habra.   They planned to play a few pieces, bid adieu after the performance, and enjoy the rest of the evening at a more exciting place.

Mon Concepcion  and his friends, like any other Open Mic Night, set up and made sure the equipment were plugged in and  sound were checked.   One thing Mon has learned from 15 years of hosting Open Mics is to always prepare for the unexpected.  Each night is different because no one knows who is going to be in front of the microphone.  One goal that he sets for himself each night is to ensure the performing artists and the guests have a good time.

True to his goal and his vision, the next four hours turned out to be an evening of exciting and magical performances.  The inspiration brought by the art works displayed on the gallery walls, by the Special Education students of VSA of Orange County. the spontaneity of the musical performances,  brought this Open Mic Night a world of its own, a truly memorable experience.

“I have never been to an Open Mic and didn’t know what to expect.  I found out this is just a perfect way to unwind after a hard week” commented by a first time attendee.

Rafael Maniago and his artist friends were caught by surprise.  They did not expect  a drawing session and be entertained by great musical talents that night.   “How did you get all these great talents in one place, and how did you get this concept?  Art and music event at an Art Gallery on a Saturday night?”  They had a wonderful time creating pencil/charcoal portraits of three young models and taking pictures after they were done. They vowed to be back and invited the young ladies to be their models in future drawing sessions.  As long time artists, they still found inspiration and hope in the artworks by the Special Education of VSA of Orange County that were on exhibit at the gallery.  They spent the rest of the evening admiring listening and enjoying the musical performances.

Time literally stood still, when the young, beautiful, and talented violin player Alex Macalalad and the multi-awarded classical pianist, Resli Bagaygay, took center stage and gave the audience, a jaw-dropping, beautiful rendition of “Just the way you look tonight”.  It was magical!

Honestly, how does one prepare for a night like this?  No one can really.  One can only be open to all possibilities and let oneself be ready to have a good time.  Much like going under the waterfall and be ready to be thrilled and engulfed by the gush of water over your head.

With all the addiction to electronic gadgets, the daily grind of work assignments, the constant reminders to be perfect, many have forgotten how to simply have a good time without fireworks. Performing and enjoying the evening, and at the same time promoting arts, music, and the La Habra Art Gallery.  Genius!

The Open Mic experience is made possible by sheer kindness and generosity of –

the musical talents – Willie D. and wife Rose, Harry Brillantes, Oscar Bandoquillo, Raoul Pascual, Luz Spanks, Alex Macalalad, Resli Bagaygay, Benny, Romy and the Boyz

The artists – Rafael Maniago, Boi Sibug, Fulton and Eddie, Raoul Pascual

The gallery exhibit – Special Education students  of the VSA of Orange County

The Open Mic host –  Mon Concepcion, aka Reckless and Blue.  His  love of discovering talents and taking them to center stage has what kept him doing what he does all these years.  The best performances are from those who genuinely enjoys what they do.  Mon surely has showed us how to have a good time.


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Artists, Guests, Musicians at the Open Mic Night with Mon Concepcion on July 25, 2015
Artists, Guests, Musicians at the Open Mic Night with Mon Concepcion on July 25, 2015
Models with Artists - Rafael Maniago, Boi Sibug, Fulton and Eddie
Models Alex Macalalad and friends with Artists – Rafael Maniago, Boi Sibug, Fulton and Eddie
Luz Spanks, Event Coordinator and Rafael Maniago, Portrait Artist
Luz Spanks, LHAA Event Coordinator and Rafael Maniago, Portrait Artist




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