There’s a new venue in District 69 where musicians can hang out and connect with other music lovers.
Founded by Shelley Beeston and Sharon Tomczyk The Soundgarden was inspired by conversations with numerous local musicians who expressed a need for a common place to learn about, listen, or share music.
Tomczyk said the building, located on the Coombs Fairground property, has been transformed into a space for growing and nurturing musicians.
The Soundgarden was originally a church annex building, and was recently renovated to provide musicians an intimate place to play.
“We wanted to create a place that was affordable, comfortable and accessible,” said Tomczyk, who added, “many musicians in the community have a lot to offer but can’t afford a big space.”
The Soundgarden is a cozy 55 square metres and has a stage, sound equipment and lighting. Tomczyk said they can always use more music gear and if anyone wants to offer instruments or equipment they would appreciate any donation, particularly a drum kit and mixer board — both on their wish list.
“Even if they just want to lend it. People have instruments they are not using. If they just want to loan them we have a secure space to store the instruments.”
The two visionaries see their building as a learning space. They will have small acoustic jams, music seminars, drum and guitar clinics and songwriting seminars.
Beeston said their goal is to bring musicians together and inspire those who want to get involved in the music scene.
“It is a space for amateurs and people learning music who can then bring it to the stage. We will offer a safe place for people to come and explore their ideas and learn from each other. It is also a place for pros who want to jam in a small venue,” she stated.
She said they also have access to the other buildings on the fairgrounds including the Arrowsmith Hall which can be used for big shows. Both agreed it would be great to have an outdoor music festival on the grounds.
“We are at baby stages feeling out what the community wants and needs. The space is available for private parties.”
Beeston will be conducting singing workshops in the space and sharing her love of music. She said she loves to sing and has spent her life honing her skills as a singer/songwriter and performer.
She has been singing ever since she can remember and professionally since she was 12 years old. With many years of formal musical training, Beeston also spent years learning the subtleties of how to be a powerful, expressive, and dynamic singer. For the last 15 years she was the lead singer for the rock band Baby Jane. She performed regularly, learning how to strengthen and refine her voice. After over 30 years of live performances and over 12 years of teaching, she knows music is her passion and she wants to keep on passing it on.
Tomczyk performs with the group Counting Time and she will be conducting regularly-scheduled song-writing circles. She said they are for people who have original music and songs that they would like to perform and get feedback.
“The song-writing circles give you the opportunity to share your works with other supportive musicians, and learn some song-writing tips and hints from people in the business.”
There will be weekly acoustic jam nights onT hursday evenings from 7 to 11 p.m.
The pair say they want to provide an opportunity for people to perform in a safe and friendly environment.
“We will give musicians and singers of all skill levels a place to share their love of music,” said Tomczyk.
The musicians admit it will take facilitating and time to work out all the plans for the space and they are open to ideas.
“We are flexible … it is our space. If jams become genre based we can work with that. We will see what people like. If people want to offer something or have an idea for a camp or workshop we are open for anything arts related,” said Tomczyk.
All activities schedule for the venue are listed on the website at www.thesoundgarden.org. You can also find updates on their Facebook page.