Bolton Library Open Mike

Thanks for all the years

When the library in our little town of Bolton, Massachusetts was being renovated several years back, the librarian asked if we would consider hosting an open mike for the community. We thought this was a great idea.

As part of the renovation, a community room was added. This room is used for art exhibits, teen after-school gatherings, history discussions with the town seniors and all manner of town committee meetings and social gatherings.

Once a month, we hosted an open mike. In reality, there were no microphones at all. The room was reasonably-sized and has great acoustics, so we decided unplugged would work.

The evening started with each act that signed up playing two songs. As hosts, we played first. After that, we would go down the signup list. After everyone has had their turn, we made a circle of chairs and play songs together, often covers or songs with simpler chord progressions so everyone could figure out a way to contribute. We took turns leading the circle in songs, then called it a night.

We made lots of new friends and discovered some neighbors who were actually closet musicians. A number of folks who started coming to our open mike at the beginning were then so busy playing gigs we never saw them anymore. Though we missed them, we’re happy they’re doing so well.

After seven seasons, we’ve hosted our last Bolton Public Library Unplugged Open Mike. We’ve moved on from Bolton after 23 years, and are now living in a rural community in southwestern New Hampshire.