St. JOSEPH -- Pandemic or not, the show must go on for fans of Open Mic Night at the Local Blend.

The coffee house, located along Minnesota Street in St. Joseph, has hosted the showcase every Tuesday night for the past 10 years. It's a weekly chance for musicians of all ages and skill levels to share their tunes with eager audience members.

Now, in light of Minnesota's executive order temporarily closing restaurants to fight COVID-19, Open Mic Night is hosted via a professional version of the video conferencing platform Zoom. This week will mark the third live-streamed event - and organizer Adam Hammer says it's been received warmly so far, with thousands of playback views for the first showcase

"It's been really good, especially when you consider the difficulties we're going through," Hammer said. "This is still giving people an outlet to perform. It's a huge thing for a lot of people. Open Mic Night has been a weekly opportunity to get together, and play guitar, and sing, and get music in front of folks. And that first week - I think our video is up to a little over 2,000 views now."

Anyone can sign up to perform or view Open Mic night; all they need to have is a device equipped with Zoom, available for free with limited capabilities. Hammer says the success of the format has been food for thought regarding future Open Mic Nights.

"Even when we get back into the Local Blend, I expect we'll continue to live stream these things," Hammer said. "Just knowing how much bigger an audience we can get with it."

Hammer suggests performers and attendees alike consider placing curbside to-go orders from the Local Blend before the showcase to recreate the Open Mic experience, and show the shop a little support during the stay at home order.

Open Mic Night is held each Tuesday beginning at 7:00 p.m. To join in as a performer or attendee, visit the Local Blend Open Mic Facebook page.

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