I have visited the Brew House in Fergus for live music on the patio and for Robbie Hancock’s songwriting competition. In keeping with the Brew House support of live music, songwriter & performer Noah Solomon is getting an open mic started on Thursday nights.
All set up for a nice acoustic sound in the main room, friendly host – all that’s needed is a few more players. If your regular open mic is so busy it is not always possible to get your turn at the mic, drop by the Brew House where your songs will be welcome. Since it is every second Thursday you might want to check the FB page to confirm dates.
[The Brew House, 170 St. David Street South, Fergus; every second Thursday, 8 pm sign-up, no cover]
This week’s adventure was a mix of something old and something new. I had never been to the Thursday night open stage at O’Brien’s, hosted by Adam Shaw, although lots of friends have visited. O’Brien’s is the current incarnation (a few management baton passes later) of The Old Copper Kettle, the first public jam I ever attended. Not having been in the building since our Tuesday night jam there ended I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Slightly nostalgic about the many hours spent there playing music with friends I found that O’Brien’s retained some of the warmth and relaxed ambiance that I remember.
All kinds of music welcome (originals, covers, rock out or be mellow) – just let Adam know you want to play when you arrive.
[O’Brien’s, 216 St. Andrew St, Fergus, Thursday nights 8 pm til ?]
One of the nice things about returning to a particular jam regularly is that others will become familiar with your music and add more layers to it. This week was an example – with an amusing little twist. When I walked into the Tuesday night jam at Delainey’s this week I couldn’t help notice that I was the only female musician in the place. Of course, I thought, it’s International Women’s Day and there are events celebrating women happening at other venues in and around town. When it came my turn to play, I played one of my own songs and my musician friends joined in. I have to say, it was a special IWD moment for me to have a room full of male voices belting out the chorus: “I’m not a diamond ring kind of girl – no – no – no. . .” Loved it!
So – I did it! I took my earnest songs about growing up, loving and changing and put them centre stage for adjudication. Straying from the path that led me back to singing – the one where music is for fun – I signed up to compete against other songwriters. Seemed counter-intuitive even in December when I registered with RJ Entertainment but, as I asserted in a previous post, it was a new forum for my songs and a personal challenge for myself.
Well – the judges did not grace me with their seal of approval. The songwriters that were chosen to go on (Don Sawchuk and duo Doug Roach & Laura Hasler) are talented, confident and energetic performers: I wish them luck in the semi-finals.
I still like my songs – just the way they are. I am grateful to my fellow songwriters and friends that came out to support me for their encouragement and kind words. Most of all, I want to thank Pete and Trish for the friendship and vocal harmonies they shared to make those songs all they can be. I look forward to many more hours of music-just-for-the-fun-of-it.
I signed up for a songwriting competition. A crazy thing to do, really, for a couple of reasons. The first one: I play music with other people; nothing tops the great feeling of blending our styles and sounds to make something sound richer and sweeter. What an odd concept that I will be competing against other musicians, with somebody, at the end of the day, winning. The second and more deep-seated: I left music because of competition and the pressure of high expectations. I rediscovered music as something joyful, not attached to an adjudicator’s comments or audition result or exam mark, but something I do for fun. The main goal: fun. The primary outcome: fun. The lasting impression that stays with me for days after a session: fun.
So what would possess me to sign up for a songwriting competition? I think I am ready to venture out of my comfort zone of playing with and for familiar faces who support and applaud my creative attempts. (I say “I think” because I am not at all sure – I’ll confirm or denounce this theory after the experience is over.) I am curious to see if my lyrics resonate with strangers as well as with my family and musical friends who know me well. And – it’s a test. A test to see if the dreaded performance anxiety monster has been tamed or is lurking in the wilds of Waterloo Region waiting to pounce when I least expect it. We shall see. . .
If anyone feels compelled to launch themselves into this creative and educational endeavour, you can sign up for venues in Fergus, Waterloo and Cambridge – just one or all three (“triple play”). The competition starts January 2011, hosted by Robbie Hancock who also hosts the Tuesday night open mic at the University of Waterloo Grad House. There is an early bird rate if you register before October 28th so don’t delay. Details and registration forms can be found at: http://rjentertainment.ca/. And if you do sign up, let everyone know about it! Leave a comment at the bottom of the post – the place beside “Read the whole story” that says “no discussion yet” or “2 comments” or something similar.