(Photo by Maria Matson/ Whidbey News-Times)

(Photo by Maria Matson/ Whidbey News-Times)

Local musicians gathering weekly for acoustic jam

Well, it goes like this: The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift, the baffled king composing “Hallelujah …”

The melodious lyrics to the popular song, “Hallelujah,” written by Canadian singer Leonard Cohen, filled the air last Saturday at Click Music in Oak Harbor.

Musically-talented people composed music of their own throughout the afternoon, as part of a weekly “Acoustic Jam” session.

The informal group comes together every Saturday at noon to sit together and play music of all styles, ages and experience levels.

Regular attendee William Beier, who described himself as “older than the hills,” plays the banjo.

Beier said his favorite part of the group “is that people don’t laugh at my mistakes.”

“It’s become kind of a community thing,” Click Music owner Avi Rostov said. “It’s been interesting to watch the friendships that have developed and the good things that have come out of it…Music is all about the community taking care of each other.”

The freestyle music circle first began many years ago when a Click Music guitar instructor stayed after a lesson to let anyone who wanted to play music join in, Rostov said. Eventually, the tradition died out.

Rostov worked on getting the music group back together, and found what she was searching for in the Johnson family, who agreed to help start the group up again over three years ago.

“They (committed) and never stopped,” Rostov said.

The Johnson family is composed of Melissa and Mark Johnson and their children, David and Steven.

“We have everything from fiddles to saxophones, ukuleles and piano. It’s just about anything, though we prefer acoustic,” Melissa said.

“And it’s all ages. We’ve had as young as three.”

The Johnsons alone represent a broad range of musical talents: Melissa plays “anything with strings,” Mark rocks the harmonica, zithers and the mandolin, David also plays the harmonica and guitar and Steven plays bass.

The goal of the group is to “just have fun” Melissa said. And each week, they mix it up.

“I can’t think of a time we haven’t come here and played something we haven’t played before,” she said.

The room attached to the Click Music store typically fills up around noon with the scuffling sounds of between 6 and 18 people arranging folding chairs into a circle, warming up their instruments and greeting each other. Hours of acoustic songs — which can range from popular music such as Credence Clearwater Revival’s hit songs and the ever-popular “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” to more obscure tunes comprise the sessions.

One time, they played so long, they closed out the store at 8 p.m. — eight hours straight of music.

Melissa said that each time they thought they’d played a final song, a new person would show up, ready to play, so the Johnsons stayed to play song after song — that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Employee Jacob Paul said he enjoys listening in on the weekly jam sessions.

“It brings such a good vibe to the store,” he said. “They’re such good people.”

At last Saturday’s session, Kathleen Hanndran said it was her first time attending, but from the way she confidently sang in the group, a casual observer would have never guessed.

“I’m loving it and I plan to come back, she said.

To any community members who may love music, but are nervous about joining a new group — don’t be shy, Johnson said. They gladly welcome everyone, and want people to know to not be afraid to be imperfect.

“We’re by no means experts,” Melissa said.

All that’s required is to have fun and play some music.

• To learn more, call Click Music in Oak Harbor at 360-675-5544.

(Photo by Maria Matson/ Whidbey News-Times)

(Photo by Maria Matson/ Whidbey News-Times)

(Photo by Maria Matson/ Whidbey News-Times)

(Photo by Maria Matson/ Whidbey News-Times)

The Johnson family participates in a weekly acoustic jam session at Click Music in Oak Harbor. 
                                (Photo by Maria Matson/ Whidbey News-Times)

The Johnson family participates in a weekly acoustic jam session at Click Music in Oak Harbor. (Photo by Maria Matson/ Whidbey News-Times)

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