What a journey! The dream to open a coffeehouse remains, but the path has taken some turns that I am really excited about. Along the way music has become a central theme in my life. Music is intrinsically such an important and invaluable part of life. It can be therapeutic and cathartic, shared or enjoyed alone. It brings people together, and perhaps most notably, it can be a window into one’s soul; an emotive portal willingly presented.
Playing with Class of 91, the band I am so grateful to be a part of, has become one of my greatest joys. Hosting and playing in Open Mic Nights is proving to be another great joy, and one of the best ways to bring together and meet one’s community. As a result, I have met many wonderful musicians and music lovers in Barrhaven and south Ottawa.
I started hosting Open Mic Nights at Anabia Cupcakery Cafe in September of 2018. Since then we have held Open Mic Nights monthly. There has been a steady increase in interest, participation and talent throughout 2019. These nights have been packed recently. Eighteen musicians took the stage on our last Open Mic in November. This past Friday we hosted 12 musicians and furthermore, had the newly acquired piano played for the first time. There wasn’t room enough to pack in one more person. Amazing.
Anabia has become a hot spot for Open Mic Nights. So too has it become more committed to music generally. Class of 91 has now played 2 shows there and we were pleased to have one of our Open Mic regulars, Adam Shilton, open for us during our last show there. Having the band play at Anabia was a great start for the band. It was also a great litmus test for having bands play at this modest coffee shop.
Music has become pivotal to Anabia. We are now investing in some proper equipment to better host music more fully. An area is being designated for use, and a permanent setup is being developed. Speakers will be hung and a more robust mixer will be introduced early in the new year. This will ensure we can continue to run the best Open Mic in Ottawa. It will also be the start to bringing in other bands too.
The intent is to establish a live music scene in south Ottawa, and to have Anabia as THE place to go for it. True, there are some bars that host music in Barrhaven. These though cater to cover, tribute and party bands. All good and necessary, but we hope to build a home for the city’s singer-songwriters and where local bands can showcase original music. In this we will be unique.
I will be taking on a bigger coordination role to help bring in and manage the music at Anabia. With hard work, and some luck, hopefully we can transform Anabia from a coffee shop into a coffeehouse. A place where south Ottawa can have access to the great Ottawa music scene without having to travel into the city center.
Certainly, 2020 will be a year to build upon these successes. Such a strong foundation now exists, it is time to make music a focal point at Anabia, and in south Ottawa. So exciting.
Join us in the new year and be sure to check my Home page for all the upcoming events I am hosting. You’ll also find Class of 91 announcements there as well.
Have a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah, or otherwise peaceful time with family if you are celebrating in another faith, or perhaps not celebrating at all. I wish you all a wonderful and safe holiday as we near the end of 2019 and the 2010’s.