March 28, 2014

Fantastic Community

Back in November I had the honour of performing at a bi-annual showcase of local singer-songwriters.  Three of us shared the stage for a couple of hours, playing original music to an eager and attentive audience.  It was a little slice of heaven.

The Singer-Songwriter Series came from the vision of one man, Larry, who saw a creative way to marry need and opporunity.  Larry is both an active singer-songwriter and a member of our local amateur theatre group, the Pine Tree Players, which generally produces two shows per year.

Recognising that a) most people only get to perform music (original or cover songs) at noisy, crazy, late-night open stages around here, and b) the Pine Tree Players' show is always dark one night of their performance week, Larry took the initiative about five years ago to give local songwriters a stage that, literally, was already set.  All the money raised from the door and the bar go to the theatre group's education fund, the evening is staffed by volunteers - mostly from the theatre group - and local musicians get a unique opportunity to share their music in a theatre setting, on a theatre set.  (My show in November took place in a hotel lobby in Arizona, on a snowy Canmore night).

We were looked after by an able sound technician, and the show was recorded so I can send a CD of it to my Gramma.  The CD is of surprisingly good quality, and I am very pleased.

What's the point?  When community pulls together, everybody benefits.  Larry's vision and keen recognition of opportunity has, in 5 years, allowed 30 local musicians a performance opportunity that most would never otherwise have.  Hundreds of audience members have been able to watch these shows and come away inspired and knowing their neighbours more.  The theatre community benefits from the fundraising and the attention the songwriters are able to give to the show.  Talented techies can give of their experience and abilities.  My Gramma gets a new CD.

The songwriters do not need to audition - Larry will put you on the bill if you can put 8 songs together - but I happen to know that the upcoming April show is going to be excellent - and on the set for A Streetcar Named Desire.  Five years ago the Pine Tree Players did not know where this series might lead, but saw the glimmer of possibility and followed it.  Is there a glimmer that you need to tend right now?  It might just flare to something fantastic.

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