I want to share with you some of the exciting changes that will be happening with the Slow Jam, starting in February.
1) More tables! More chairs!
The pool tables are now gone and the room has been rearranged to seat more of us comfortably! This has us all cheering! Many have remarked that they must come earlier and earlier just to get a seat. We love that people come at 5:30 for dinner, but we also want to have space to welcome those arriving a bit later between 6:30 and 7:00. This brings us to the second point:
2) Another jam night for BUGs on the 2nd Wednesday of every month!
As BUG has decided to stay at the the Clocktower and not continue the search for a larger location, I've committed to hosting an additional jam night for BUGs each month. It will be on the second Wednesday, bringing the total number of jams to 3 each month. You can start letting your friends know about the jam again, there will be space to accommodate them :)
3) Projector and large screen have been installed! Good view of screens throughout the whole room.
The management at the Clocktower have kindly let us rearrange the room so that there will be a projector and large screen in addition to the two television screens for viewing the chords and lyrics. This means that everyone in the room will have a direct view of the chords and lyrics on the screen. It also means that, at least for the jams on the 1st and 2nd Wednesday of the month, the binders with paper copies will be honorably retired. I will be including a .pdf version of the set a newsletter in advance of each jam for those who bring their tablets. Those who prefer a paper copy can print the songs out from the website.
4) New format for the 1st and 2nd Wednesday jams.
In the spirit of new beginnings, I’m going to be altering the format to both of the jams I will be leading. We will still be playing and singing from 7:00 to 10:00, it will just flow as follows:
First Set from 7:00 - 8:15:
You know the format of the Slow Jam? Well, this part of the night will feel very similar. The first set of the evening will continue to be a 'directed' and 'skills development' type of experience. During this part of the evening, I will break down rhythms for each song; introduce riffs; and when necessary, choose slower tempos to make it easier for us to put all the pieces together. This is also where we'll take on larger group projects, such as melodic instrumental pieces or rehearsing arrangements for future flash mobs. There will continue to be a $5 cover charge for this part of the evening.
Second Set from 8:45 - 10:00:
After a slightly longer break, the second set of the evening will become a hybrid in the following way: We will combine the open mic (i.e. inviting Bug-aroos to perform one song) with the regular jam (i.e. the group being lead in songs at regular tempo). Any of the 600+ songs in the BUG library can be called up to the screen with a just a few clicks. Anyone and everyone in the room will be encouraged to choose a song from the library to lead. You can also come up and perform a song 'à la open mic', perhaps something you've been working on, perhaps a composition of your own. We will try to freely mix those two kinds of moments. Oh, and should we not have enough participants leading or performing songs, I will lead songs of my choosing to keep the music flowing. There will be no cover charge from 8:00 onwards. This means that if the directed part of the evening does not appeal to you, you can join in for the second set.
I would also like to mention that I continue to encourage you to practise leading the group in song; I am fully committed to guiding you through this wonderful experience and the second set is where you will be able to show off all of your hard work.
5) Looking for volunteers.
Though BUG is a well oiled machine that Mark, Sue, Claude, Mike, and others have kept well tuned, the addition of an extra evening per month means that some extra help will be needed. Jess and I will be taking on the responsibility of organizing volunteers for the first 2 Wednesdays of the month to ensure that all the gear and logistics will be in place. Mark and Sue will continue to organize and host the jam on the 3rd Wednesday of the month.
Here is a list of areas where we could use help on a regular or casual basis:
Index and tag the OnSong library
Rides either to or from the Clocktower with gear and equipment
Greeting, helping first timers, and collecting cover charge at the door (for first set only)
Backup projectionist to project the songs on the the screens (equipment provided)
Bassist or cajon player (Mark may not be able to be there every week but the bass sure is nice to have)
Posting clips and photos online and other social media things
Potentially other things as the growing pains get sorted out
For those of you who like the idea of being a bit more involved, we'd love for you to touch base with Jess (firstname.lastname@example.org) or I (email@example.com) so that we can work out a role that suits both you and BUG. A big thanks to those of you who have already said that you are willing to lend a hand; you’ll be hearing from us shortly with details.
I want to thank you in advance for your continued encouragement, support and patience as we grow into this new phase of the ukulele experience at the Clocktower. There will probably be a few growing pains but we’ll get through it and have a plenty of fun along the way, I promise :)
Thanks for reading through this long message and I'd appreciate any feedback you may have.
Joel (& Jess)