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Commonplace Live Music
May 6, 2009 - Jim Price
Live music is happening with increasing frequency at Altoona’s newest coffeehouse.
The Commonplace Coffeehouse and Roastery, located at Pennview Estates near Penn State Altoona, has featured live music with increasing frequency since first opening its doors in November of last year. Spearheaded by local musicians Colin Lennox and Harold Taddy, the Coffeehouse has hosted a biweekly open mic night on Wednesdays, featured performer showcases on Thursdays, plus other occasional special shows.
The open mic nights have run from 7 to 10 p.m., although according to Lennox, the time may be moved back an hour to 8 to 11 p.m. during the summer months. Admission to these events is free.
A typical open mic night can feature any assortment of eclectic performers, including musicians and spoken word artists. Both Lennox and Taddy regularly perform with their respective projects; Lennox playing didjeridoo with guitarist John Whitmer in Steam City Riders, and Taddy strumming acoustic guitar and singing as Heavy Radio. Other musical performers can include Ebensburg-based fingerstyle guitar soloist Kevin Gallopin, acoustic duos Element of Surprise and Hunter & Olivia, blues soloist Dr. Dave Parry, acoustic editions of the bands A Brilliant Return and Chris Vipond & the Stanley Street Band and more. Two of the more frequent spoken word performers include Lance Karstetter and Eric Morder. With its close proximity to Penn State Altoona, the Commonplace Coffeehouse’s open mic nights also draw aspiring student performers to display their talents as well.
This Wednesday night, May 6, a collaboration of musicians dubbed “SoFarther” will perform from 5 to 10 p.m. Named after their involvement in the recent SoFar Festival at Penn State Altoona, SoFarther will feature members of Chris Vipond & the Stanley Street Band, Steam City Riders, Heavy Radio and more. Admission again is free.
On Thursday night, May 21, the Coffeehouse will host Native American flute performer Danuwa, starting at 8 p.m. The open mic nights will continue on alternate Wednesday evenings throughout the summer months.
The Commonplace Coffeehouse is providing a special setting for musicians outside the pop music mainstream to demonstrate their talents. Audience attendance at the Coffeehouse’s events has been steadily growing, lending hope that this venue will continue to give musicians a stage to play on for a good while to come.
The Commonplace Coffeehouse and Roastery is located at 810 E. Wopsononock Avenue. The phone number is 946-4379.
Kevin Gallopin, demonstrating open tuning and fingerstyle techniques during a March open mic performance at the Commonplace Coffeehouse.