Cut your musical teethat Strange Brew's open mike
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Devon and Denege Paderewski of Jim Thorpe came to the Open Mike with their daughters Makeda and Miriam, bottom left.
If you're a musician longing to perform before an audience, your wait is over.
Thursday evenings at Jim Thorpe's Strange Brew coffee shop is Open Mike Night.
From roughly 5:30 to 9 p.m. local tunesmiths cut their musical teeth before old friends and friends they meet for the first time through the sharing of music.
"We play all kinds of music," said Tom Storm, who, along with Josh Finsel, coordinate the Open Mike. They manage the sign-up sheet which allows each performer to present up to three songs.
"We have from punk to folk to bluegrass to contemporary rock to blues. It's family oriented - no cussing allowed," he joked."
"I wanted to play music with my friend Sara Ruch," said Amber Breiner. "It's a great place for us to cut our teeth and get some practice playing in front of people. I played guitar and Sara plays the musical saw."
With just a little urging, Sara Ruch showed off her musical saw.
"It's a saw designed to be played as an instrument," she explained. "You can use any saw. It's played with a bow like a giant string. It has the sound of otherworldly music like in Star Trek.
"I heard about it and decided I needed to play it," Ruch continued. "I bought it two years ago and I learned to play it from the Internet."
"I heard by word of mouth there was an open mike," said Pat McGeehan. "I brought my son, Shane. It's a good time for us to hang out. It's great to listen. You don't realize what kind of talent there is out there."
"Good music, good people," said Tony Tavella, who plays harmonica and guitar. He carries a set of harmonicas in various keys and finds himself invited to accompany guitar players.
Jamie Huber is a beginner on the guitar, with four or five years of playing. He likes folk music and reggae.
The Open Mike has been his first chance to perform in public.
"It's different from playing by the river," he said. "It is different with the mike and speakers. It's better than a bar," he said.
This was a feeling shared with others. They like the fact that people are interested in the music and that it's family friendly.
Devon and Denege Paderewski of Jim Thorpe came to the Open Mike with daughters Makeda and Miriam. Devon plays guitar and Denege plays saxophone. They are part of a four-piece punk rock reggae band, with two brothers from New Jersey, that play bass and drums. They enjoyed practicing locally but, to earn a living playing music, they find themselves traveling to gigs from Hazleton to Philadelphia.
Tim Carey, a professional guitarist and singer from the Wyoming Valley, stopped by after an earlier Open Mike at Penns peak.
"I'm doing a gig in Virginia next week and I wanted to test some new tunes before I got there," he said.
No one is more pleased with the turnout for the Open Mike Night than Mike Allen, owner of Strange Brew.
"We began the Open Mike in early December, and had a break for the holidays," he said. "Since then, it took off.
"I had it planned for a long time, even when I had a little shop on Race Street. In the winter, no one has anything to do. Everybody comes here on Thursday nights. What else are you going to do?
"I've been surprised by the response and the variety is amazing," Allen added. "Last week we had an upright bass and a mandolin. The talent around here is quite impressive."
Strange Brew is at 79 Broadway in Jim Thorpe.