Halifax music group something new for local musicians

Local bands are enjoying an opportunity to mix it up in their performances.

Local musicians play together at the Halifax Music Club Show on Wednesday night. Photo: Lesley Pike

There's a new weekly music event in Halifax, and it's a little different than the usual open mic night or jam sessions.

The Halifax music club meets every Wednesday night at the Paragon Theatre on Gottingen street.

The event was dreamed up by Kelly McGuire, a local music rep.

She wanted to find a way to let some of her artists collaborate and thought that a weekly show where the artists could play together might do the trick.

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Musicians mix it up at the Paragon Theatre.

She scheduled the first event on Dec. 30 of last year.

“The first night we had 100 people,” McGuire says.

It was so successful she decided to create a weekly event for musicians. But it’s not just a jam session, McGuire says.

“The artists will know who they are working with, and will get a chance to play together and prepare things for their time together on stage,” she says.

Each month she plans to have different house bands that will perform with weekly special guests.

For the club’s first month, Garrett Mason Band, a local group, is playing house band.

So far, they’ve performed with Carmen Townsend, Adam Baldwin and Anna Danova.

“There’s nobody in Halifax that has a music club," McGuire says. "That’s kind of an age-old traditional thing, to bring together professional musicians.”

McGuire is hoping to branch out too by getting other artists involved, such as painters and performers.

Cory Bowles, a local comedian, has MCed the first three events, but McGuire is hoping to find other local artists and comedians to do the job in the coming months.

“We are going interdisciplinary with it,” says McGuire. “We are encouraging artists to work with other types of artists.”

For the first month just the musicians and Cory Bowles are performing at the weekly events, and according to McGuire, the audience is pretty enthusiastic about the shows.

Many are fellow musicians, McGuire says, that are interested in the event.

Some of them joined the bands on stage last night. The Garrett Mason band welcomed another drummer and a trombone player for one of their last songs.

The people having the most fun at these concerts, however, are the musicians themselves.

“It’s mostly just a chance to get to play with my friends,” says Damien Moyhinhan, who plays drums with the Garrett Mason Band.

Moyhinhan and the rest of the band have played all three events, and he says its great to get a chance to play with people that he wouldn’t usually get to perform with.

Another musician, Carmen Townsend, says she jumped at the chance to play with the Garrett Mason band at this Wednesday’s music club event. Townsend plays with her own band and also the Tom Fun Orchestra, but likes the different feel of the music club nights.

“I’m so used to playing (my) original material,” Townsend says, “and we just run through it in front of a live audience. . . it’s a rush I guess.”

McGuire is already busy planning other groups that will play together at the Halifax music club.

Starting on Feb. 3, the music club will celebrate Black History Month. They’ll be starting the month with Cyndi Cain, who recently won an African Nova Scotian Music Award. She’s trying to focus the month on African Nova Scotian artists and will end the month with performances by Asia and Nu Gruv.

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