Something wonderful has been going on all summer long, but I just heard about it.
I’m often not in downtown Spartansburg on Thursday evenings, so I have that as my excuse. But if you are on Main Street, right next to the Dutch Treat Restaurant between 5 and 8 p.m., you’ll hear the sound of live music from a variety of artists.
While most of the musicians play the guitar, other instruments such as the mandolin, autoharp, violin, keyboard and Qchord (look it up — I didn’t know what it was either) have added to the mix. Many of the musicians sing as well.
Styles of music include country, bluegrass, folk, soul and Celtic.
How is this happening?
Oil City native Barry Dalaba, known as “12-string Barry” to his friends, organized this weekly jam session.
This past St. Patrick’s Day, he and two friends —Margaret Alsdorf and her son, Jerome Alsdorf, decided to play a little live music at the Dutch Treat.
The event went over so well that folks began to ask Barry when the next concert would take place.
In response, Barry created a musical gathering which began in June at the pavilion outside of the Dutch Treat.
Barry sent out notices to everyone he could think of and brought everyone together.
The first week in June, he said they had three musicians besides himself, but the gathering has grown. When I stopped by last Thursday evening, there were close to a dozen individual musicians and probably 50 spectators.
Luke Ruot, of Titusville helps Barry out. They transport and set up the sound equipment, Luke runs sound during the evening and said he loves helping out at the weekly event.
“This is just fun coming out and doing this,” Luke said. “Barry is a great guy and he does an amazing job with this. It’s really cool that everybody comes out and they sit back, relax and have a great time.”
Luke is thankful that the venue provides an opportunity for all levels of musicianship.
“My youngest will play piano once in a while — they let him play,” Luke said. “But what’s really cool is afterwards the musicians will talk to him, encourage him, throw ideas at him to try and he just feels empowered by that.”
When I arrived at almost 7 p.m., Rose Hill was playing guitar and singing. She was followed up by Todd Crowley who also sang, but his instrument of choice was the autoharp.
Carlos Shambaugh didn’t sing, but he did play the Qchord and encouraged the crowd to sing if they knew the words to “Que Sera Sera.”
Individuals play and/or sing one or two songs each, sometimes three. At 7:30, everyone who brings an instrument is welcome to join forces on stage, and that’s when the real music magic happens.
Luke told me, “When they all play together, wow! It’s amazing.”
He was right. When you hear talented musicians jamming together, the camaraderie and joy of music is palpable. The group treated the crowd to everything from “Orange Blossom Special” to “I’ll Fly Away.”
Barry said they’ll continue through the end of August — weather permitting — but that’s as far as they’ll go. Event dates of August 12, 19, and 26 remain. Anyone interested in taking part in the concert or just sitting back to enjoy the music is welcome.
The Dutch Treat Restaurant is located at 339 Main Street, Spartansburg. Concert-goers are welcome to purchase dinner from the restaurant and take it outside to the pavilion to enjoy the music.
— Zumba is Thursday at the Water Street Apartments Gym, 150 Water Street. The class begins at 6 p.m. and there is a fee.
— The 9th Annual DDC Auction for special needs children will be held at the Spartansburg Fairgrounds on Friday, Aug. 13, starting at 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome.
Do you have something to share? Carol may be reached at SpartansburgSpotlight@outlook.com. People are welcome to submit news, activities, and items of interest pertaining to Spartansburg. Email by noon on Saturdays.