Tag: Alliston

One Year Anniversary of the Open Stage Adventure

After one year of Open Stage Adventuring I have visited 23 musical events (some of them multiple times) in 16 cities/towns/hamlets. While some of those expeditions were solo ventures I also had musical/moral support at different times from: Peter Balka, Trish Brubacher and Genny Grier.

As part of my one year anniversary celebration I’d like to showcase some shining stars in the vast sky of open musical spaces.  Some pride themselves on attracting high calibre music, while others have created space for musical collaboration and expression that otherwise would not have happened.  Here are a few events that stand out. (Click on Stages, Circles & Jams and go to the city of the event to find the original post.)

Corktown Ukulele Jam, TorontoFor the most ukuleles I’ve ever seen together in one room and for providing multiple ways to participate.

In addition to the large group workshop to brush up on your uke skills and build some repertoire and the full house uke jam, uke players can sign up on-line to perform or lead a song. Beyond the weekly uke jam, host Steve McNie also offers workshops (ukulele high school 101) and promotes all manner of ukulele focussed happenings.

Groundswell, AllistonFor the impressive array of youth talent

(and the great snacks and micro-brews available)

A predominantly young crowd showcased an array of musical styles and instruments

Free F’all Sundays, TorontoFor the greatest number of musicians

Considering this event at the Supermarket is relatively new, the turn out is astounding: 50-70 performers each week keep the music going from 8 pm until the wee hours of the morning.

The Black Walnut Folk Club, Kitchener  – For the longest track record (1994)

This monthly club has a loyal following and has been going for 16 seasons.

The Elora Acoustic Café, Elora – For the high calibre of music at both the open stage and feature performance

In addition to featuring musicians ranging from Ian Reid to Kevin Breit to Sue Smith, the Elora Acoustic Café boasts an open stage full of talented regulars and delightful surprises.If you are reading this thinking “I go to an open stage that has been running longer than that” or “Why wasn’t [insert open stage here] mentioned? It’s the best!” then  go to the bottom of this post and click on the comment button (just to the right of “Read the whole story”) and suggest a venue that should be on my list for Year Two of the Open Stage Adventure. (The OSA FB page is another place to post info about your venue or event.)

June 2010, the first full month of theopenstageadventure.ca welcomed 152 visitors. This has climbed to 842 in the past month and some of those visitors have given me tips for new venues to explore and featured musicians that are not to be missed. I am looking forward to visiting some old favourites and discovering new gems in the year to come.

Venue: The Groundswell Coffee House, Alliston

This week, Peter (fellow intrepid music explorer) and I traveled to the town of Alliston to visit the Thursday night open mic at the Groundswell Coffeehouse.   This is the first open mic I’ve been to that has been overwhelmingly youth oriented.  Performers and listeners were largely from the under-25 demographic (although there were a few of us representing other generations).   Owner, Janette VanderZaag, says that this has varied from year to year since they started the open stage in 2005.  And this youth has talent: phenomenal piano and guitar; jazz, folk, pop, original compositions.  The music was fun and soulful and definitely had a sense of humour.  I wonder where else you might hear Michael Jackson and Metallica blended seamlessly in one song.  Dave Head was the congenial host of the evening, calling performers up from the sign up list.  Some of the highlights for me: Taylor Whittaker, “3/4 of the band Pistachio”, Tom Somerville, and Grant Boyer.

And I really should mention the snacks: delicious coffee, desserts from Dufflet Bakery and a great local beer from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery.

Thanks to Janette & Dave for providing the venue for these musicians to shine.  And thanks to everyone who shared their music.

[Groundswell Coffeehouse, 96 Victoria St. W, Alliston; every Thursday 8 pm – sign up starts at 7]