Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Memmelable Open Mic

A gentle day touched the Main Street of Stroudsburg, PA on Sunday March 20th, as the aura of the town's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade lingered among its residents. It was in this backdrop that The Sherman Theater's Living Room held another installment of their weekly Open Mic Nite Series. Along with the myriad of talent that the venue is known for sharing with the community, the evening featured Guitarist Tony Memmel who is also known for his work helping the handicapped.

After the ceremonial signing in procedure took place, the event's co-host, Theresa Ratliff, took the stage to welcome those who were present and shared some announcements. She then proceeded to introduce the first performer who was a crowd favorite. Brad took the stage and shared his love for the art of dance while accompanied by some gentle popular compositions. He was followed by Comedian Chris Jones who shared his insights on picking birth names, Nike Tattoos, the non word “Stupider,” the aromatic effects of Coconut Shampoo, and other life changing topics.

Mr. Jones was followed by the duet known as Woodrow who consists of Theresa Ratliff on Vocals and Brian Bramkamp on Guitar. They began their set with a little known song from Pink Floyd titled, “Nobody Home” which is found on their quintessential 1979 album, “The Wall.” The duo later performed a number of songs until the last notes they shared echoed among the large gathering and their time on stage had expired. They were followed by a newcomer to the venue known as Jessica who shared her experiences of being pregnant at 39 which included being relieved not finding a fetus after whipping and her exploring a number of popular songs that are creepier then generally perceived. Jessica was followed by Jio Cookie Eater who shared a number of heart touching poems and songs while Satilia Rose (aka Tilly) (who alternatively co-hosted throughout the evening with Ms. Ratliff) lent her supportive presence on stage. It was after this performance did a break ensue so the featured performer could ready himself for the gathering.

Guitarist Tony Memmel took the stage and proceeded to gently strike the strings of his instrument along with the chords found within the souls of all who heard him. This entreated a smile to come to the lips of all as the each song taught the lessons already written upon the heart. The set also included a special song Mr. Memmel has written for the Lucky Fin Project which endeavors to help children with Symbrachydactyly or an upper limb difference to realize how capable and wonderfully made they are. Mr. Memmel's performance of the song encouraged the audience to sing along which proved to be a lot of fun.

Tony Memmel is from Nashville, TN and was born missing his left forearm. As he grew, he taught himself how to play the guitar by affixing a guitar pick to his arm with Gorilla Tape. To encourage others, he agreed to serve as an Ambassador for the Lucky Fin Project. Mr. Memmel has received numerous accolades for his songwriting skills including the 2013 WAMI Award for Singer-Songwriter of the year. He has recently released a new CD titled, “We’ll Be On The Radio” which can be ordered through i Tunes. You'll be able to learn more about Tony Memmel, his music, and his tour schedule by exploring his Facebook Page at or his Website at

After the performance, the customary raffle took place in which Mr. Memmel and the event's co-host, Theresa Ratliff, selected the winning ticket which would entitle the winner to enjoy a meal at a local Red Robin Restaurant. This was followed by a performance art piece presented by the extremely popular known as Pay with your Eyes which consisted of Satilia Rose (aka Tilly) on baby piano and Anthony DeRobertis (aka Frenesi Gates) adorning a toilet seat necklace. Music and poetry spewed forth from the duet which enticed those with party accessories to put them to good use. They were followed by guitarist Chris “Cee-Rock” Roberts who returned to the venue after a long absence and whose performance brought back many welcomed memories along with new songs that created even more.

Chris “Cee-Rock” Roberts was followed by a duet known as Dave (on guitar) and Bri (on vocals) who mesmerized the gathering through the first notes that were played and the first utterances sung through a powerful voice. They were followed by Poet Crazy Mike who shared some mind expanding words while being joined by Chris “Cee-Rock” Roberts who enhanced each verse form through the magic of his guitar. They were followed by John who sang A Capella renditions of compositions from the musical, “Les Misérables” which is based on the novel written by Victor Hugo and shared his collection of voices from the 2003 computer animated film titled “Finding Nemo” which was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

John was followed by a duet consisting the long time no see COG on Guitar and Brad who provided vocals. Together, their renderings of a variety of songs touched to audience with their simplistic delivery and the substance embodied in each composition. These songs included a piece titled, “Can't Help Falling in Love” written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, and George David Weiss. It's melody was based on “Plaisir d'amour” which is a classical French love song written by Jean Paul Egide Martini (1741 – 1816). The song was originally sung by Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) in his 1961 film titled, “Blue Hawaii.”

The duet was followed by comedian Russell Austin who was featured during the previous week's Open Mic Nite and shared some new material that was as hilarious as that experienced then. He was followed by guitarist Michelle Leanna Zbinden whose rendition of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” which was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney from the 1963 album titled, “Meet The Beatles” added a layered substance to the song through her slowed tempo of it. She was followed by Wilbium who enticed the gathering to dance while he mesmerized them through his psychotropic melding of the subconscious music he played. It was as Wilbium's set ended did Ms. Ratliff come on stage to share her closing words of appreciation and adieus with the crowd while inviting them back for the next Open Mic Nite which would occur after the Easter Holiday.

The next Open Mic Nite is scheduled to take place on Sunday April 3rd beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. The featured performer for the evening will be DIGISAURUS. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with a receptive audience are welcomed to do so. In the meantime, you'll be able to view the photographs we took during the Sunday March 20th event in The A Memmelable Open Mic Gallery at

The Sherman Theater’s Living Room is located at 522 Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA. You'll be able to view additional photographs taken during installments of their Open Mic Nites Series by their staff along with videos taken of interviews with the featured artists and the performances of some who attended the event on their Facebook Page. In addition to their Open Mic Nites Series, the venue also holds a number of concerts and special events. Please Explore The Sherman Theater’s Living Room Facebook Page at, The Sherman Theater's Website at, or call 570-421-2808 for more information.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

No comments: