By Sneha Shetty

AHS students performed or supported their friends and classmates at Cocochella, an open mic night held Friday, January 11, at the Cormier Youth Center.

The event, which started at 7 p.m., featured multiple musical performances, ranging from solo singers to bands, in front of an audience of Andover High peers. This is the third open mic night ever; each has been hosted by AHS senior Aaron Borenstein.

The Friday night was filled with some new and old faces.

Abhay Sharma, AHS senior, plays the guitar for the band Spoonful of Sarcasm and was part of one of the performances at Cocochella. He described these open-mic nights as “a good opportunity for local artists to showcase their talents and works” but also a great place to “relax after a long week for everyone else.”

AHS senior Kaleigh Stuart is an avid audience member and has been to all three open mic nights. She said that Cocochella is super “chill” and “a great way for students to express themselves artistically.” She also believes that since Cocochella is specifically for AHS students, “it’s designed to be a good time for us.”

One thing that Stuart and Sharma have in common is they’re both into the arts; Stuart is an actress in the AHS Drama Guild. However, these nights aren’t just for students who are musically inclined.

AHS senior Joyce Shen went to open mic night for the first time on January 11. She said, “It was something totally different than I expected. I really liked the vibe of night. Plus, it was a great way to let loose after a stressful week at school.”

Stuart really likes how supportive and encouraging the audience is at Cocochella, especially because as an artist herself, she knows how much effort all the performers put forth. “I think it’s amazing how people are getting out of their comfort zone and performing in front of an audience,” she said.

The guitarist stated that his band’s performance went really well, and could be noted as one of their best performances. And even though Sharma said he and his band have to put more work into their live acts, he noted that overall Cocochella is a great experience and learning opportunity for the band.

Sharma said, “The events definitely helped us with regards to stage presence because my band traditionally has a history of being a bit awkward on stage, but Cocochella let us cut loose a bit and enjoy the full experience.”

He feels that these open-mic nights are a great way “to build a sense of community.”

Shen too thinks that these events are a great way to support local artists, and she encourages more people to come! And even if you don’t bring your friends, it won’t be a problem, according to her, “because [everyone] is so welcoming that you won’t feel out of place.”