About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Goodbye Hungry Ear

The good news is that this Saturday, October 2, we have a good show lined up at the Hungry Ear Coffee House. The bad news is that this will be the final show before the Hungry Ear permanently closes its doors.

The Hungry Ear Coffee House is a monthly musical show that usually features two acts. The music is typically of the folk variety, but we've also welcomed jazz, classical, and other styles. The majority of musicians are singer/songwriters performing original material. 

Before I ran the Hungry Ear Coffee House, Clarence Rosa ran it for 25 years. After a brief hiatus, I started it up again and ran it for about a year and a half. The Hungry Ear has always been a volunteer operation from top to bottom, and that's where the problem was. I recently accepted the position of music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation, where the Hungry Ear is held. After accepting the job, I told our minister that we needed to find someone else to run the show. I didn't want to blur the line between volunteerism and the music director position, and with my new time commitment, I needed to keep my own schedule relatively sane. I was willing to continue booking the performers, but someone else had to take over the operation.

Yesterday at church, the minister told me that nobody was ready to take over the Hungry Ear Coffee House, and the general consensus was to let it go. While this is disappointing, it's also what I expected. In spite of some amazing Hungry Ear shows, especially in the last few months, I've felt the support of the church gradually waning. My sense of this lack of support was confirmed when, after I announced the end of the Hungry Ear yesterday in church, not a single person commiserated with me after the service.

The Hungry Ear has been an important part of my own development as musician. When I first moved to Atlanta, I attended some Hungry Ear shows and was inspired by many of the musicians to work on my own guitar playing and singing. These included Bill Kahler, Cyndi Craven, Allison Adams, Jon Adams of Montana Skies, and many more. Eventually, I worked up the courage to perform at the Hungry Ear a few times. I later became talent coordinator, which allowed me to make connections with the Hungry Ear musicians, and these connections deepened when I took over the show.

The Hungry Ear Coffee House had a good run, but all things must come to an end. Goodbye Hungry Ear. It's been fun!

2 comments:

  1. I'm sorry I wasn't still there to hug you and tell you I'm sad for you. I know what it's like to have concerts and things that are important to me get scrapped, to work on a piece for months to have it yanked from the folder days before the performance, to have a program I wanted to see flourish and be a joy to others, just to have it pulled from the calendar. I know I don't know you all that well, but my heart is sad for your loss.

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  2. Tom,
    Thanks for all you've done for the Hungry Ear.
    I was in shock when I heard the news, I thought someone would come forward.
    Maurice

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