If you love to sing, and are looking for a community of like-minded people, check out the Monday Night Community Sing, held on the first Monday of most months at the Unitarian Universalist Church in East Lansing. The singing is neither church choir nor karaoke, but a casual, comfortable gathering offering about 90 minutes of song. The next Sing will take place on Monday, October 6.
“There is no pressure to sing out really loudly, or to sing incredibly well. The only common bond that everyone in the group has is that we all love to sing. That's it. Sharing songs and creating magical sound is really way too much fun,” said Sally Potter, who organizes the event. Potter is a high school teacher, a singer and a mainstay in the mid-Michigan folk music community.
Each month about 40-60 people show up to sing, led by Potter and a group of five or more musicians on guitars, banjos or other instruments. Organizers use the Rise Up Singing! song book as a guide, and the collection may be purchased or borrowed at each event. The book collects the lyrics of more than 1200 classic songs including “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and songs made popular by Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Joanie Mitchell.
A sliding scale donation of $3–5 is requested to cover rent and refreshment expenses, but if money is tight, you are encouraged to come anyway.
The Monday Night Community Sings are an outgrowth of the Mid Winter Singing Festival, an East Lansing tradition since 2002. Founded by Potter, the festival draws several hundred people in February for two nights of singing led by folk musicians. When festival-goers wanted more opportunity to get together for singing, the Monday night gatherings began, according to Ruelaine Stokes, a participant and volunteer coordinator for this and other local folk music events.
The Unitarian Universalist Church is located 855 E. Grove Street in East Lansing, across from the East Lansing Public Library, and the Monday Night Community Sing is held in the Fireplace Room. A schedule is available online.
This year's Mid-Winter Sing will be held at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing on January 30-31st. For a taste of the event, check out the short documentary available on WKAR's website.
Photo Credit: Historyworks on Flickr.
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