The Crescent Moon Coffee House – which has been providing an opportunity for beginner and more experienced musicians to grow through jamming together for just over four decades – is still going strong on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
Current venue is Thursday nights from 8 to 11 p.m. at the Crescent Legion 240 (2643 128 St.) and new musicians of any skill level are always welcome, according to long-time organizer and musician Harriet Quint.
To mark the milestone, the coffee house – which began in 1976 with a regular evening organized by Semiahmoo House Society in White Rock’s long-gone bus station building near Marine Drive, and kept going through subsequent sojourns at Camp Alexandra, the Elks Club lounge and Camp Kwomais (later Kwomais Point Park) – is planning an anniversary dinner and jam on Saturday, April 15 at the Legion.
Quint said that, while participants have not been confirmed yet, she and other organizers are hoping to attract many of the musicians for whom the coffee house has provided a first step toward later performing careers.
And they’d like to hear from anyone else for whom it has been an important social and musical influence over the years.
“Some people don’t even realize it’s the same jam they went to down at the old bus station,” she said.
Peninsula favourites such as Jason Mitchell, Heidi McCurdy and Jordan Carrier definitely gained some of their first performing experience at the coffee house, she said.
“And I probably wouldn’t have learned to play bass without being there and having people shout out the chords to me,” Quint added.
“I don’t know any other entry-level jam session where everyone can feel comfortable playing on the edges, and eventually end up moving to the front. It’s happened so many times.”
The effect of the coffee house has permeated the Peninsula musical scene, she believes.
“It’s partly because we’ve been such a good breeding ground for talent that there are now so many open-mics in the community – but we’ve come to realize, we’re not so much an open mic as a fertile training ground for learning how to play with other people,” she said.
“In many ways it’s less formal than an open-mic.”
Quint said the friendships and camaraderie that have formed over the years among coffee house participants have become at least as important as the musical collaboration.
“We like to think of it as building community through music,” she said.
Those interested in participating in the anniversary jam can contact Quint at firstname.lastname@example.org