If you’re looking for a mid-week study break, look no further than the basement of Gifford Hall. Every week performers and audience members alike gather for a Wednesday Open Mic Party (WOMP) in the Gamut Room to celebrate and support campus musicians.
Current WOMP Head Andrew Grossman ’23.5 described WOMP as an “informal organization” where bands, solo acts and other performers can sign up to play music.
“It’s a space where you can come without anything prepared,” Grossman said. “I like how casual it is, but we also have acts who practice for weeks and come up and give amazing shows.”
Grossman, who plays guitar, became involved with WOMP during his first semester on campus in the spring of 2020. He had been part of a band in high school and was in the process of learning some songs when he was notified that he had to leave campus. Grossman and friends then decided at the last minute to perform at WOMP.
“It was just like a fever dream,” Grossman said. “The energy in that room was like one of the only things I remember from the first semester.”
This past fall, Grossman became more involved with WOMP before ultimately taking over, often helping set up audio equipment and organize acts.
He’s also in the process of trying to learn more about WOMP’s mysterious past.
“WOMP is relatively new as a concept,” Grossman said. “There’s not a ton of intergenerational memory.”
According to an article from The Campus, WOMP was founded in 2014 by Eyal Levy ’14.5 and Mitchell Parrish ’14 with the goal of uniting the music scene on campus.
WOMP’s setting is a character in and of itself. The Gamut Room, with its beanbags, exposed rock and elaborately painted walls, is an ideal spot for such a creative event. Liam Wynne ’21.5, a former WOMP head, also organized a painting project to add more art to the space.
The setting was also something that struck Marina Prikis ’25, a regular WOMP performer who has headlined twice.
“I think it’s vibrant and colorful. The setting is just so fitting for the event,” Prikis said. “I think it’s one of the most unique spaces in the school.”
Prikis discovered WOMP during her first couple of weeks on campus and was eager to continue performing her music after high school.
“It’s just a space to be able to share music I’m working on or just meet people with similar interests. I’ve been able to meet people I can collaborate with, and it’s just a really great space and a lot of fun,” Prikis said. She described the atmosphere as very supportive and encouraging and a great place to build confidence as an artist.
Both Grossman and Prikis emphasized how WOMP gives student artists a much needed outlet to express themselves — as well as providing a space for students to support each other.
“I think Middlebury has its stereotypes. You think a lot of outdoors, a lot of prep. But I think there’s an overlooked music community,” Grossman said. He hopes to expand WOMP’s outreach in the coming months and organize more events.
Prikis also appreciates the diversity of music that WOMP spotlights.
“With WOMP you definitely find a lot of variety because you have the bands where it’s very lively, and everyone’s dancing, and it’s a lot of fun, but you also have some of the more stripped down acts and solo acts. WOMP gives you a taste of everything,” Prikis said.
As the spring starts, Grossman is excited for another semester of WOMP and encourages more students to come perform or watch on Wednesday evenings. “It’s always here if you want to come,” Grossman said.
WOMP is looking for more performers. Interested students should reach out to Andrew Grossman at email@example.com
Charlie Keohane ‘24 is an Editor at Large.
She previously served as SGA Correspondent and a Senior Writer.
Keohane is undeclared but is planning to study environmental studies, creative writing, and psychology. She is also a member of the women’s track and field team and a radio host on WRMC. This past summer, she interned at the Middlebury Admissions Office and now spends her free time hiking, sending snail mail, and FaceTiming her rescue dog, Poppy.