The Watermen's Museum hosts a folk jam session every month

Staff writer

If you have an instrument or a singing voice, you’re invited to jam at The Watermen’s Museum.

Around 40 people gather in the museum’s Carriage House, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month, for a folk music circle, and everyone is welcome.

Museum Director of Education Michael Steen said the event is essentially a large singalong and potluck. It attracts regulars, he said, but they also always have a mix of new people and instruments.

“It’s just a big circle and when it comes around to your turn in the circle you can lead a song or you can request a song or you can pick a song from the songbooks we have lying around,” Steen said. “The only rule is you can’t pass.”

The nine-year tradition known as the Folk Jam Session is lead by the museum’s in-house band Shanty Grass, whose name is derived from the blend of two genres of music: sea shanties and bluegrass.

“We believe music is an integral part of studying the history of the community and the area, so we use music for all or our programs,” Steen said. “The jam provides a folk music program we rarely see around the area anymore.”

The sessions will lead up to the sixth annual Yorktown Folk Festival Sep. 28 to 29, a town-wide event with at least three stages and 25 bands.

“We use it to build a musical community and they, in turn, come to the museum and volunteer and help with musical events and activities and spread the word,” Steen said.

Want to go?

What: Folk Jam Session

Where: The Watermen’s Museum Carriage House

When: 5:30 to 9 p.m. every second Wednesday

How: The event is free and all ages are welcome.

Martin can be reached at (757)-243-3685, by email at sararose.martin@vagazette.com or on Twitter at @SaraRoseMartin.

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