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Symphonics Live open mic returns to Bowery Poetry Club with 'Dream Bigger' edition

An artist performs at a Symphonics Live event.

An artist performs at a Symphonics Live event. Symphonics will host "Dream Bigger" at the Bowery Poetry Club Sunday, July 19. Photo Credit: Hafeez Raji

Since 2003, Shawn Randall's Symphonics Live events, a multi-genre cross-disciplinary art showcase curated by Randall himself, has allowed numerous New York singers, MCs, poets, beatboxers and dancers to express themselves in an emotive open-minded environment.

Though there have been Symphonics Live events at a number of venues around New York, including The Blue Note and Highline Ballroom, the majority had been at the lower east side's Bowery Poetry Club, which closed its doors in 2012. Reopening this year, Symphonics has returned to its home ice, with the latest installment happening at Bowery Poetry Club this Sunday with a special "Dream Bigger" edition.

"I was collaborating with a lot of artists," said Brooklyn-native Randall, 40, of Symphonics' genesis. "I had paid my dues in the New York open mic scene, met a lot of talented people and wanted to focus and curate independently a show of brilliant artists, who were also great people I'd encountered."

It was Bowery Poetry Club's penchant for unpredictably and diversity that Randall found made it the ideal location for Symphonics.

"On any given night you can see many different art forms converging in one space," said Randall. "It's a mecca of New York art. It was a nice combination and representative of New York and its creativity."

Randall was a fan of the space even outside Symphonics and was a regular until its closing three years ago.

"It was a very special time where so many different things existed at once," Randall said, adding that Symphonics' return to the space means a lot to him in terms of reclaiming that energy.

"What keeps and attracts so many people to New York, the landscape changes because of the influx of attention and people investing, I think it's important that artists get exposed to art forms and creativity."

Symphonics first returned to the reopened Bowery Poetry Club in March.

"The reception was one of surprise because I think people at first weren't aware that the space and Bowery Arts and Science still exists," Randall said.

Remaining in that space with Bowery Arts and Sciences programming Sundays and Mondays, Randall said regulars have grown to like and reconnect with the new space. 

Sunday's "Dream Bigger" show will feature Duv, Emily Gardner Hall, Sara Bambi Aniano, Ada Pasternak, Natalie Tenenbaum and Randall's band, The U.S. Open (which features Steven Boyer who was nominated for a 2015 Best Actor Tony Award for Hand to God), all under the theme of expanding the context of what's possible in one's life. 


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