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Open mic nights for kids on Long Island

At these venues, teens and younger kids can express themselves through poetry readings, singing and more.

Kids ages 8 and up can channel their inner Camila Cabello during karaoke night at KidzHitz in Huntington. Jan. 12, 2018. (Credit: Newsday / Valerie Kellogg)

For creative tweens and teens looking to share their talents in front of a live audience, the opportunities for local open mic nights abounds. Whether it’s reciting an original poem, performing their own songs or even trying their hand at karaoke, kids have plenty of places to take center stage — and take a bow. Here’s a sampling of where they can go to get started.

North Shore Youth Council

Joseph A. Edgar School, Rocky Point. Fridays from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Every Friday during open mic night, kids can recite poetry, sing, play an instrument — anything to show off their artistic skills. “We’ve also had stand-up comedians and lip-sync battles,” says Marcie Wilson, assistant director of management for the North Shore Youth Council, a nonprofit providing community and educational services for families, which has been hosting open mics for middle and high schoolers since 2014. “It’s all about a fun way to express your creativity in a supportive environment.” While kids do not need to register in advance, there is a suggested donation of $3 per person, which goes toward refreshments. The 2 1⁄2-hour session usually draws 15 to 25 performers per night. Call 631-744-0207 or go to nsyc.com for more information.

KidzHitz

304 Main St., Huntington. Fridays from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Kids ages 8 and up can channel their inner Camila Cabello during karaoke night at this downtown music venue. “It is such a fun and uplifting environment, where children are free to let their inner rock star out,” says owner Patrizia Floro, who is also a published singer-songwriter. “It is a safe and nurturing environment that allows them to be seen and heard on our Main Street stage. Building confidence is our main objective.” Available playlists run the gamut of everything from pop and beyond. Performers are asked to register in advance of showtime via phone (631-470-9788) or email (kidzhitz@gmail.com). A 90-minute session that includes pizza and juice costs $20. Go to kidzhitz.biz for more information.

Huntington Arts Council

213 Main St., Huntington. Select Thursday nights.

Just down the street from KidzHitz, high school-age kids can participate in Singer Songwriter Night, a performance series that kicked off in December. The monthly, three-hour showcase invites composers and vocalists of all skill levels to play and talk about their original music in an intimate setting. “Our program is great for younger performers, as it provides a welcoming and supportive community right off the bat,” says business manager Kieran Johnson. Each performer is given a 10-minute time slot, with a second slot available, time permitting. Sign-ups begin at 7 p.m., followed by the first performance at 7:30 p.m. A suggested $10 donation is asked of performers; $5 for all others. Next dates are: Feb. 15, March 29, April 26 and May 24. Call 631-271-8423 or go to huntingtonarts.org for more information.

Jack Jack’s Coffee House

223 Deer Park Ave., Babylon. First Thursday of every month, from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

To help get kids more excited about poetry, this coffee house hosts an open mic for seventh-graders and up and includes a featured poet. “We are trying to make poetry more accessible to people who might shy away from it,” explains Tom Stock, who organizes these events on behalf of the Babylon Village Arts Council. “It’s helping to get kids more excited about poetry,” he adds. The event is free of charge, and kids can sign up once they arrive. Next dates are: March 1, April 5 and May 3. Call 631-526-9983 or go to jackjackscoffeehouse.com for more information.

Second Saturdays @ Cyrus

Cyrus: Chai & Coffee Co., 1 Railroad Plaza, Bay Shore. Second Saturday of every month, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

What began as a performance outlet to attract budding poets has since developed into a well-attended event. “We have anywhere from 35 to 75 people in attendance each month, including 10 to 15 teenagers,” says Matt Pasca, a Bay Shore High School teacher who founded the poetry series with his wife, Terri Muuss, in 2015. “Many of the students are going to socialize and meet like-minded people, but also to find places where they can express themselves and be exposed to genuine displays of art and humanity.” People can sign up once they arrive, and there’s no cost involved. On Saturday, Feb. 10, a special open mic event will feature all the winners of Bay Shore High’s writing contest. Call 631-206-1616 for more information or see @cyrusbayshore or @secondsaturdayscyrus on Instagram.

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