By Greg Cross. “If you sing or play a musical instrument you will always have friends” (unknown)
There are groups of 15 to 30 people meeting all over Abbotsford to make music. You may come grumpy. Everyone is welcome and everyone leaves happy.
We all sing and play for the full 3 1/2 hours. This is not an open mike where everyone waits their turn.
There are no dues, but you are expected to buy a coffee and a piece of pie.
People play spoons and tambourines. There are Irish whistles, guitars, violins, banjos and cellos.
One of my favourites is a washtub bass.
Some people are professionals and some can barely play. Some of the singers are fabulous. (It is a good idea to bring a capo.)
One 89 year old lady comes just to tell risqué jokes. Some come dressed in costumes.
The important thing is that everyone tries and has fun.
People also come just to listen and sometimes sing along. We even have groupies!
Jed Spence has been leading one group for five years. It is worth it to come just to see his percussion collection in action (and his collection of hats). You might see him at the Swap meet this summer playing to raise money for charity.
The leader of another group, John McLaughlin, plays a mean banjo and the happiness level of the room goes up the minute he starts to play.
The famous conductor John Philip Sousa held a very low opinion of the emerging and upstart recording industry. In a submission to a congressional hearing in 1906, he argued:
“These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country. When I was a boy…in front of every house in the summer evenings, you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day.” Wikipedia
At least in a few corners of Abbotsford people are getting together and singing and playing together. Mr. Sousa would be happy and proud.
For more information go to https://www.facebook.com/AbbotsfordJam
So grab your instrument or something to bang on and go to:
Starts at 6:00 PM and ends when the owner takes the vacuum cleaner out.
Your new friends are waiting to meet you.