Open stages at Ciderhouse take place Mondays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Corey Chupp, an Athens resident who lives near the West End Ciderhouse, said he never sang in public before moving to Athens, but he soon found himself at open stages four nights a week practicing his craft.  

Nine years later, Chupp is still singing Mondays during the "Early Open Mic Night" at the Ciderhouse, 234 W. Washington St. 

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The weekly event began fewer than two months ago and takes place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Chris Monday, the host of the open stages, brings in his own sound equipment and pulls two chairs into the back corner of the bar for a complete stage. 

Monday, a bartender at the Ciderhouse, said he wanted people to have a chance to return to the music scene without a lot of pressure and created an open stage as an outlet. He welcomes all performances from spoken word to a full band.

“It’s a low-pressure place,” Monday said. “People are here listening but they’re not usually intently watching. ... It’s a nice place to deal with some stage fright.”

Monday said he wants to attract people who are unable to stay out late because of having early jobs or kids. He added that he hopes some college students who are serious about their studies take part in the event that’s “off the beaten path and (with) a more low-key scene.”

Though the Ciderhouse does not attract a lot of wild performances, Monday said the time when local band Weird Science played stood out to him.  The lead guitarist played a 12-string guitar, and Monday said he created “beautiful music.”

Tony Xenos, an Ohio University alumnus, has been living in Athens for nearly 24 years and recently found time to return from his hiatus of playing guitar. Xenos said the Ciderhouse open stage provides him with a comfortable atmosphere.

“Every once and a while I’ll get some people who recognize the songs,” he said. “It’s really low stress. Sometimes people listen and sometimes don’t, but I’m OK with that. I’m just looking to play some places and decide whether I want to start playing again.”

Xenos said aside from playing and watching others, he enjoys coming to the open stage because it stimulates conversation about creativity and “exploring music as a passion.” He said he talks about finding time to write and what music means to him. 

Chupp said the open stages are an outlet that allows him to express himself with music, but it also is beneficial for local musicians to learn from each other.

“You can listen to mainstream songs and people who have made it, but on a local level, this is a way to encourage (musicians),” he said.

A lot of regulars tend to return every Monday night, which keeps the open stage going even though it’s a newer event, Monday said. He added that many people who play are musicians who used to play more as well as some close friends.

“It’s very close to home at this point, which is cool, and I look forward to seeing it grow and develop out of that,” Monday said.