We always imagined Music on the Square "breaking down the walls" between art music and community, but I had no idea that a simple storefront location could have such an impact. Every time I am there, I meet people I have never seen before and more of them—never, however, more so than on the night we hosted a "jam session" with Jayme Stone and the Lomax Project.
Banjos, guitars and folk instruments marched down Indiana Avenue toward M2 on this evening. Truly, even as someone who spent much of my life in West Virginia, I have never seen more in one place. We had a biology professor on penny whistle, a classics professor on banjo, a retired middle school teacher and coach on vocals and dozens of folks from around the region on fiddle, guitar or whatever instrument they had. Before the first note, I was already fired up. And the capacity audience was, too.
If you have not heard Margaret Glaspy you have been missing out. She sings in an inimitable style that penetrates straight to the soul. You cannot listen passively to this voice—or to anything else that happened that night for that matter. I lived on the Shenandoah River for many years. Her singing of this great folk standard unleashed years of forgotten memories and took me right back to its banks. The purity of her tone and her delivery was mesmerizing.
And then the party started. Mike called out “Take this Hammer,” John Bean called a “Soldiers Joy” and the entire room roared to life like a tent revival on “Moonshine”. This was the way this music was meant to be—joyous and reckless—straight from the heart and straight to the soul. Passive listening was impossible—everyone was caught in the act.
And then, in what seemed like minutes, it was over. The hour grew late and there was one last hymn, a cappella. As that hymn floated out of our little building on the square, I knew magic had just happened—as joyous as it is rare, a magic that would be remembered. These were the evenings our forbearers knew. Music shared, viscerally and participatory and everyone’s life the richer for it.
Music on the Square fosters a space for courageous music-making and we would love to courageously make music with you! Gathering as a community of music lovers, we spark curiosity, expand creativity, and cultivate collaboration through one-on-one lessons, adult-learning classes, coached ensembles, and radical, breathtaking performances.
From children taking private music lessons for the first time to adult-learners experiencing Communiversity [n. community + university = expanded universe] courses that connect us with music-makers, creators, and innovators, we invite you to make Music on the Square your home for music-making!