So Play Music on the Porch Day was a local and international success (check here for some of the many contributions)!
We managed to visit two different porch performances locally and play on our own front lawn for a couple of hours. In between we watched numerous videos posted by musicians from all around the world.
We’ll see where we all are when the next one comes around – last Saturday of August 2021.
But it isn’t stopping there. People are continuing to play music outside from their porches and balconies, allowing listeners to maintain a safe distance from each other and the musicians. Troy Bridgeman of Guelph Today talked to several people involved in Play Music on the Porch Day and other porch concert series happening in Guelph.
Not only do we get to hear the live music we have been missing, the musicians can soak up the energy of a live audience. Then there is the added bonus of some safe, outdoor time with neighbours and friends.
Some upcoming porch music in Kitchener-Waterloo:
Sing Me a River (tonight!)
Schneider Creek “Walk Around” Festival
If you prefer the show to come to you there are performers who will do that.
Sidewalk Scenes from Stratford will bring music, theatre, comedy to your home. Since the large theatre venues closed these talented performers are “reviving the medieval company of roving players”.
Guelph duo Tragedy Ann is offering “reverse porch parties” . Treat yourself and your bubble to some rich harmonies and delightful songwriting.
Feel free to share other creative ways you have found to perform or enjoy music in these times.
As of this month a brand new open mic has joined the Guelph music parade of offerings. Another afternoon event (is my early bedtime preference starting to show in the venues I have visited?), this one is open to music, comedy, poetry or any other creative endeavours you would like to share with a group.
The hosts, Eric & André, keep a low profile as MCs but start the afternoon off themselves and then join anyone wanting some guitar back-up.
[Tavern on the Grange, 259 Grange Rd in the Grange & Victoria Plaza; “most Sundays” 3:30-7:00; no cover, licensed]
Silence has been a hub of creativity for performance, improvisation and bringing together music and visual arts. One of the regular offerings at Silence is an open mic, twice a month where you are welcome to share your talent: artists, poets, musicians, magicians – and more!
The venue is licensed, but this is definitely a listening room – no competing background noise – and it is an early night (6:30 sign-up for a 7:00 start). There is a rotating host who also provides a feature set. This particular night, hosting/featuring duties fell to songwriter Paul Cammaert. It was a quiet evening, which meant each person had a bit more time to share.
All are welcome!
[Silence, 46 Essex Street, Guelph; 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 7-9 pm; $5/pwyc cover; licensed]
The Dandelion Café has been serving up delicious home cooked food and fair trade coffee since they opened in May and now boasts an open mic every Wednesday night. They have been supporters of the local music scene from the start, hosting live music events throughout the summer, even giving 10% off breakfast during Riverfest weekend to anyone who showed their RF bracelet.
The open mic officially starts at 7 pm but seems to get busier as the evening progresses. Many styles/genres welcome – given the news of the week there were several Tragically Hip songs sung in tribute. Thanks to Matt Giblin for being host and sound tech.
No cover, but be sure to take advantage of the snack offerings & refreshments.
**NOTE (February 2018 update): The Dandelion Café has recently closed so this open mic is no longer happening.**
[Dandelion Café, 180 St. Andrew Street East, Fergus; every Wednesday 7-10 pm; licensed; no cover]
I’ve been to concerts at Silence and have appreciated it as a listening room. The performers don’t need to compete with conversations, espresso machines or cash registers and the audience can relax and take it in.
Morning music at Silence takes the listening to a whole other level. At 9:30 am people arrive and without any formal introduction or signal, at some point start making sound with a wide array of instruments. The soundscape meanders, at times soft and contemplative, humorous, or wild and energetic.
Today’s collaboration included: stand-up bass, trombones, trumpet/flugel horn, Chapman stick, lap steel guitar, violin, acoustic and electric guitars, flute, piano, an electronic sound gizmo, and a variety of percussion ranging from Djembe and cajon to bells and kitchen implements. Gary Diggins described it as an exercise in deep listening and invited me to respond with sound or silence.
Since there is no score, no predictable structure, no chord progression to practice, the part of me that likes to be prepared was a little apprehensive about taking part. As it turns out, I thoroughly enjoyed it; not knowing what comes next, listening closely, and responding to the moment. It was a meditative experience in an active, expressive way, continually calling me to be present and not let my mind wander anywhere else. This is a great place to loosen your creative muscles and let them play.
[Morning Music; Mondays at 9:30 am; Silence 46 Essex Street, Guelph; $5 cover, breakfast contributions welcome]