Microphone open for local musicians at Maple Vally Creative Arts Center

Musicians needed a place to call their own in Maple Valley.

Like so many other artistic endeavors in this town, a conversation with Mary Jane Glaser, president of the Maple Valley Creative Arts Council, led to just the kind of opportunity for local musicians.

Since October there is a new place in town for musicians to get out and showcase their talents. Every second and fourth Saturday of the month, there is an Open Mic night down at the Creative Arts Center in Maple Valley.

Thanks to local musician, Jim Hanna, musicians no longer have to hide out in their guitarist’s garage or their drummer’s basements.

“I always complained to Mary Jane Glaser that there were no places in Maple Valley for music,” Hanna says. “I mean we have a few places, but it is so tough.”

A local artist himself, Hanna does more than just organize the Open Mic nights. He also helps organize bands to play at the Maple Valley Farmers Market, as well as sometimes performing.

“I play with two different bluegrass bands,” Hanna says. “Ryegrass, as well as the Bluegrass Renegades. I started singing and playing folk music when I was a kid, probably when I was eight.”

Many of the bands people might hear at the Farmers Market have gone through Hanna.

While he puts out some ads in the papers for band “it is mostly word of mouth,” says Hanna.

For those who have not experienced that funky twang of folk or bluegrass music, it is definitely different then what is on today’s radio stations.

Bluegrass and folk is more than just strums on a banjo. It is often referred to as “roots” music because it has served as the basis of some of music’s later developed genres, including rock and roll, rhythm and blues and jazz.

However, it is not just about the music.

“It is such a good form of community,” Hanna says, “Gathering and being able to share. There are a lot of talented performers in the area.”

The Open Mic nights are at the Creative Arts Center in Maple Valley, which is located behind Gloria’s Restaurant in Suite 15.

The Open Mic nights are every second and fourth Saturday of the month.

Sign ups for performers start at 6:30 p.m. and the guest house band starts at 7 p.m. and plays for 45 minutes. After the guest band is finished, performers get a 15 minute time slot.

The event is free and open to anyone and everyone, however, donations are greatly appreciated.

“I want people to know it is available,” Hanna says. “We have been working on this for a couple of years now and I am still running into people who don’t know about it.”

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