On Supporting Local Music: Beyond the Comfort Zone

Well, after much delay and distraction, we’re back with our newsletter.  Things have been a bit busy lately.  The good news is that we now have a team of folks working on this little missive.  Lynn Merlone of Monadnotes has signed on as a regular contributor.  We also have Celete Thibault, our intern, is also lending a hand.  Like any venture, it’s a lot more fun what others are involved.


We are in the planning stages for the 2014 Keene Music Festival.  At this point, we’ve had roughly 1300 submissions, which we shall pare down to about 85-90 quite soon.  It’s a lot of listening, but we do it all for you.  We also have some other cool venues and programs we are getting involved with; and we hope you will consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us fund all we do in the community.


Recently, I was reading an online article about how to, “be a good musician,” in your community.   It really struck me, as it pointed out something that I’ve seen in selective pockets of performers; but makes sense in the larger scheme of things as well.   The focus of the article was on the idea of musicians (and people in general) showing up and staying for performances.  What the author was proposing is that it’s critical that people who go to shows stay; and to pay attention and support all of the performers.  This means you go not only to perform, or see, a set by your favorite persons, but you stay to support the other performers as well.  This got me thinking about this type of courtesy on a larger, more community oriented, scale.


We all tend to want to stay with the things we like in terms of musical styles and/or performers.  Looking at things from a community standpoint though, it’s equally important for local musicians, and the public, to be willing to support other members of the performing community, and other venues, besides what they already know about.  Generally, we all tend to gravitate towards what we know and those they are familiar with, but there is so much else out there to be explored; and the benefits far outweigh the costs of the efforts.


As an example, one of our board members (who focuses on Metal) recently started taking jazz lessons in order to expand technical understanding and possibilities for new ways to doing things musically.  In the past, I’ve taken lessons from a Metal guitarist to improve my acoustic guitar technique.   Each style of music makes a unique contribution, and has value and lessons that can be translated to other styles of music.  The trick is to be willing to move beyond what we’re used to, and learn to understand what good musicianship is no matter what style is being performed.  It’s not as hard as you think.  We do it all the time in choosing acts for our events. 


What you get from expanding your musical horizons is exposure to a whole new set of ways of expressing ideas and feelings.  You learn a new language and a new set of rules.  Musical styles, and musical venues, are like little cultures unto themselves.  They’ve got their own way of looking at things; with none being more “right” or “wrong” than another.  They are just a little different, and worth the effort to explore.


We would really love it if y’all would come out to all or our shows, to be certain.  More importantly, anyone with an interest in live music and performance should be out there support all the different venues and styles, and opportunities to experience live music in our communities.  We all need to take a chance and try something we are less than familiar with musically.  Go see a show at a place you’ve never been to before; or go see an act that’s a style you are not so familiar with.  There are so many opportunities for this in our community; and much more talent than you could ever imagine.  From personal experience, I can tell you it’s worth the effort. 



Yours in the Music,


Kevin Dremel

For the

Keene Music Festival