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April 2014


Jamming at the Mukwonago Library

Free acoustic events draw musicians and spectators

They come from all over the area, with varying levels of musical skill, armed with instrument cases, spilling into the community room at the Mukwonago Community Library. The one thing they have in common is a passion for music. When the first notes spring forth, toes tap, heads nod and smiles spread across faces throughout the room as the group of folk musicians warm up a cold, wet December night, taking turns stepping to the microphone for "their moment in the sunshine."

When Elmer Sparks and his bluegrass friends needed a new place to play and practice their acoustic bluegrass this spring, folk and "mountain music," Sparks turned to Nick Weber, director of the Mukwonago Community Library, with a proposal: hosting a bluegrass jam at the new library. Neither knew how well it would go, but they gave it a try. Concerns about the sessions being too loud for the rest of the library or acoustics not working in the room soon melted away as the crowd grew with each session.

"It really has become probably our most popular thing," Weber said.

Weber supplied coffee and tea, and audience members began bringing in baked goods to share. People attending the sessions started throwing money into a tip jar; so far $500 has been donated to the library. For the holiday jam session Dec. 18, Sparks went around to local businesses and solicited donations to offer as door prizes.

"There is a joy that comes from people who enjoy their music," Sparks said. "The jam circle is not unlike friends sitting around in their living room. … This is the kind of community that draws you in and encourages you to soar. What a joy! All right here in Mukwonago at our library."

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