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Be a community music organizer

A community music organizer who is still doing his thing...
A community music organizer who is still doing his thing...
Original poster courtesy of

In the first part of “Get On Up! Get Into It! Get Involved!” I suggested going to church & schools to help nurture talent – both young AND old. Part two will now deal with how one can get their community together under a musical groove.

President Obama takes pride in the work he did in Chicago as a community organizer (hell, it helped him get to the top – we can debate on that one later). For musicians both legendary & newbie, being a community music organizer would be an excellent way to not only have your work exposed but it will help others learn about music that they may not have been exposed to before.

Some cities and towns have performing arts centers where one can volunteer (yes I said the “V” word…) their time either helping a group stage a talent show or offer a series of workshops on songwriting, arranging, music production and studio singing. If your town doesn’t have a performing arts building, try the local recreation center or a neighborhood school after hours. These folks would be happy to host such an event that would bring folks in from the community.

Another avenue to pursue would be a community orchestra or chorus. These folks look for musicians almost on a yearly basis to bring their talents to their groups. Take it one step further – offer to arrange or compose music especially for them, then stage a concert series to expose your work. No community orchestra or chorus? Form one or check out the local college or university and offer the same. This worked for a legendary jazz musician several years ago in Rochester, NY. While teaching jazz studies at the Eastman School of Music, this horn player composed a series of pieces for the college’s ensemble under the name “Kaleidoscope”. After a successful performance at the Eastman, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra invited him to conduct a night of his music. He pulled out all the stops – from composing more pieces to hiring the rhythm & horn section (he took out a second mortgage on his house to pay those musicians). In the end, Chuck Mangione not only had a sell-out concert in 1970 called “Friends & Love”, he also scored an album deal with Mercury Records after he released the performance on disc through his brother Gap’s label G.R.C. (btw – prior to his employment at the Eastman, Chuck also taught music at the community-run Hochstein Music School in downtown Rochester).




  • M 5 years ago

    Mangione's Children of Sanchez, rates up there as one of my all time faves. Keep it going Kev.

  • pwajdeur 5 years ago

    Fantastic thoughts and inspiring tips! In my new home town of North Mpls, there is a whole community arts/ music/ get involved to inspire and build the brains in a more creative way. I'm close to being involved in the NoMi so far I'm only on their email blast list, but I'll be getting into the musical artistic involvement soon. This and northeast has some great non-profit kind of stuff going on. Much of it is art, but music is always there behind the curtains. I do believe it's great to focus more on the music. Since it's what I tend to love the best! Thank you again Kevin, for your efforts and encouraging views.