April 23, 2018



OOMPA (Organization for Open Mic Performing Artists) is a loosely organized group of friends and their families that originally met at open mics. This group gathers regularly and frequently to play music and organize events.


Long Island's OOMPA - Organization for Open Mic Performing Artists


I recently had a chance to interview Frank Imburgio, a key member of OOMPA.

UTR (Under the Radar): What is the main purpose of OOMPA?

Frank: To promote live music. There is nothing better than seeing someone learning and enjoy music and sharing it with other people.

UTR: What level of musicianship is expected at an OOMPA event?

Frank: We welcome people of all skill levels. We also welcome poets, comedians, musicians, you name it. We are all about inclusion, fellowship and FUN!

UTR: How did OOMPA come to be?

Frank: A few of us were having dinner at an open mic and remarked that there were many open mics on the area, but they compete with one another, rather than cooperate. A member Kenn, came up with the name, another member Christy, created the logo and made some tee shirts. Originally the idea was – just come to one OOMPA mic (support someone else), and your open mic is an OOMPA open mic! So, by helping each other, each of our open mics would grow.

We also have a way we think open mics should be run. For instance, we don’t allow people to call up and reserve spots on the list. We don’t do karaoke. We allow everyone the same amount of time, regardless if you are a pro or a beginner. The food drives and other events came later.

UTR: For those that want to get involved and/or perform during an open mic event, which open mics are run by OOMPA?

Frank:

  • Every Wednesday 7 PM Village Lanterne Lindenhurst
  • Every Sunday 7 PM Peoples Pub East Northport
  • Every Thursday 7 PM Soul Brew St James
  • Last 3 Fridays of the month 6 PM Urban Coffee, Greenlawn
  • First Friday The Rock Underground, Commack
  • Some Fridays 7 PM (check for scheduling) Viking Pub, Islip
  • Some Saturdays 2 PM (acoustic) Mills Pond House, St James

    UTR: How does one join OOMPA?

    Frank:Technically, if you attend just one event, you’re in OOMPA. There are no dues and we are not a formal organization with a membership structure.

    UTR: This blog is about Long Island’s under he radar bands and artists. How might being an OOMPA member help a band or musician gain exposure?

    Frank:The best way to learn about venues and opportunities is to get out of the house and meet people! Once you attend a few events and meet people, you’ll see what I mean. I’m playing an event for a group called PeaceSmiths in a few weeks – specifically because an open mic friend thought I would be a good fit and hooked me up. This happens frequently. I have been in so may musical projects over the years because I met people at open mics it is hard to count.

    UTR: What are some of the events organized by OOMPA?

    Frank:We have food drives during the warmer months, coat drives and toy drives around the holiday season. We also organize events purely for fun – camping trips, bar-b-ques, parties for Halloween, New Years, etc. There is always live music and everyone is encouraged to PARTICIPATE!

    Long Island's OOMPA - Organization for Open Mic Performing Artists
    A recent OOMPA food-drive event


    UTR: What does OOMPA have lined up for the future?

    Frank:This spring we’ve already had our first food drive, and have the first weekend camping trip planned. We have food drives planned about every three weeks. We also have regular open mics at bars, restaurants and coffee shops a few times each week. There’s always something fun to do!

    UTR: IF SOMEONE WANTS TO CONTACT OOMPA, WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GO ABOUT THAT?

    Frank:If you’re on Facebook, search for “OOMPA MUSIC” and join our group. If you are not on Facebook, you can get weekly email updates – just send a request to kennjm@aol.com.




    Thanks Frank, and keep up the great work!

    Have a story or idea for Under the Radar, or want to get your band noticed?  Please contact me at the email below.