Every second Saturday of the month, Grinders High Noon stages an open mic night from 8 p.m. to midnight.


    Every second Saturday of the month, Grinders High Noon stages an open mic night from 8 p.m. to midnight. It’s a family affair with a father and son duo of John and Jake Will running the show. John, a regular at the Rural Grit Happy Hour in Kansas City, wants to create a similar tradition in Leavenworth. He began playing at their open mic back in 2008 and improved his musical chops to become a featured guest.
    “I am eternally grateful to the Rural Grit Happy Hour, the Rural Grit Allstars and Kim Stanton for letting me play when she should have booted me to the curb,” said John Will.
    John likes to get up on stage and get his turn to play like the rest of the musicians, while his son runs the sound and keeps up the guest list, making sure everyone gets a chance to play. It’s basically first come, first served with everyone getting to play three songs. If they make it through the list, people can go up a second time to play more songs.
    I came out to last Saturday’s open mic cautiously optimistic about what I would hear. You never know what you might find at an open mic event. But I really enjoyed the night and was pleasantly surprised by all of the talent that the Leavenworth area had to offer. The musicians seemed to have fun getting their time to play in front of a good crowd which fluctuated between 50 to 100 people throughout the evening. The crowd got to soak up a variety of music ranging from country and bluegrass to classic rock and alternative. Some of the musicians tried out new songs of their own creation like Keith Meenan.
    “I came to tonight’s open mic as a warm-up and to test a song before going to the studio to record,” he said.
    Robin Ziga, from Easton, said “It’s great to have a true open mic when it seems like so many places are turning to karaoke.”
    Robin and her husband, Richard, played a great version of “Wagon Wheel” earlier in the evening.
    Teresa Minoglio, who has played at all of Jake and John’s open mics so far, said she loves having a place in Leavenworth where she can play on a Saturday night. She can still get up on Sunday mornings to sing in her church choir.
    So if you’re itching to perform in front of a crowd or you just love listening to live music, don’t forget to check out the open mic at Grinders High Noon. The next one will be Nov. 10 at 8 p.m.

    Mike Nickells writes about music in the Leavenworth area. To contact him, send email to