To all my friends in the South Florida folk & bluegrass music community.
I permanently relocated to Boca Raton at the beginning of December and have attended many enjoyable events at a variety of venues since I have been here.Â Almost all of them have been in Broward County since my wife and I are members of the Broward Folk Club.Â We have made many new friends in addition to those who we already knew prior to moving down here.
As many of you know, Fay and I founded and ran the non-profit Borderline Folk Music Club up in Rockland County, NY for 9 years.Â During our tenure we built up that organization into a venue where folk and bluegrass musicians from all over the world came to perform.Â The Borderline still continues today as a premier venue for acoustic music.Â We left it in very capable hands.
During the course of the last 3 months, I have been approached at song circles and house concerts by many of our regulars about starting up a Sunday afternoon venue in the Boca Raton area beginning with jams & song swaps and eventually morphing into a club that will present concerts.Â This would not be to compete with any existing folk organization in the area but rather to complement them by serving a geographic area, a constituency, as well as a time slot that is not being presently served.Â The Broward Folk Club according to their bylaws cannot hold any events north of the county line. The existing Palm Beach Folk Club holds jams, only on Saturdays and has no intentions of changing that format.
As many of you know, I am an Orthodox Jew who strictly observes Friday night and Saturday as my Sabbath and there are a lot more like me in the Boca area who are folk music lovers. The Sabbath ends 72 minutes after sundown on Saturday night.Â During the late fall and winter months we have no problem driving south to venues in Broward for a concert that begins at 8:00 PM.Â However, during the rest of the year as sunset gets later we can no longer get to these concerts in time.Â Another situation that affects us is that many of these concerts take place in churches which we as Orthodox Jews are forbidden to enter.Â We do not want to be put into a situation where we have to choose between our religious observance and our love for folk music.Â
Aside from the religious situation, there are many senior citizens in the area who would love to attend these events that do not want to drive far and are uncomfortable driving at night.Â Both, Boca and Deerfield have large Century Village communities nearby whose residents would be overjoyed to attend a local folk venue.Â Performers also, are looking for Sunday afternoon gigs to fill in their weekend schedules and are willing to play for a lot less than they would charge for prime time Saturday night gigs.Â Over all it is a win/win situation for all concerned.
As a result, I feel that the time is now ripe to start up the Boca Folk & Bluegrass Club as a Sunday afternoon venue.Â If we get going now, during the slow season, we will be ready for prime time in the fall and winter when all the snowbirds return to our area.Â To begin with, we will be using private homes, condo association club houses, or any other non-church venue that we can get at minimal cost.Â Events are open to the general public regardless of where you live, and members of all other folk & bluegrass organizations are welcome to join us as well because they have much to contribute.
Our focus is to bring both, folk & bluegrass music under one roof.Â After all bluegrass is a form of folk.Â Also, besides presenting singer/songwriters we would like to do traditional material such as sea chanties, songs from different cultures, as well as old-timey mountain music; in other words, an eclectic mix of acoustic music.Â There should also be an educational aspect to what we do by presenting workshops, both instrumental as well as vocal. This would qualify us to receive certain grants, both public as well as private.Â There are many performers from up north who played The Borderline for us in the past who are anxious to play our area and have already approached me about doing so.Â Not all of them are well known down here but they deserve to be.Â Of course we will not forget about our talented local artists as well.
As I previously stated, we are not here to compete with any existing organization in the area and will carefully coordinate our schedules accordingly to avoid any conflict.Â This is especially true of the monthly Sunday Broward Folk Club song swap which I always personally attend unless it conflicts with a Jewish holiday.Â We are just here to fill in the gaps in an underserved area.Â When all of us work together good things will happen.Â
Accordingly, we have scheduled our first event which will be a jam/song swap for Sunday afternoon, June 21st to begin at 2:00 PM. Even if you do not sing or play an instrument you are welcome to come join us and enjoy the music.Â You can even request a song and one of the other participants will be glad to perform it for you.Â It will take place at the Garden Villas clubhouse, located in the Boca Ridge condo development 9400 – Glades Road in Boca Raton.Â This event is FREE, but we ask you to make reservations in advance for 2 reasons.Â First of all, Boca Ridge is a gated community and all visitors must be called in to security in advance.Â Second of all, we want to make sure that we have the seating capacity to accommodate everybody comfortably.
I would personally like to thank my fellow committee members for this undertaking, Dr. Rohn Kessler and Paul Gardyn.Â Rohn is a resident of Boca Ridge and he has graciously arranged for us to use the clubhouse.Â Paul has been an inspiration for me ever since I decided to move down here and is the motivating force behind this project.
As with all other song swaps and house concerts, participants are asked to bring a cold pot luck dessert dish to share with 4 other people.Â However, please be advised that this is an ALCOHOL FREE venue.Â This means that we will not serve it and you cannot bring it, and this policy will be strictly enforced.
To make reservations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call my cell phone at (845) 664-5046.Â We need the full names (first & last) of each person attending, and photo ID must be presented to security at the gate.Â Full directions will be given at time of reservation.
Looking forward to a new beginning,
Boca Folk & Bluegrass Club