YORKTOWN — There’s a place where music lovers can gather to sing, play instruments and celebrate together.
The monthly jam session is a tradition that began in the fall of 2009 and has been held every month at the Watermen’s Museum since.
The program was even held virtually during COVID-19.
“We have not missed a month in 12 years,” said Museum Director of Education Michael Steen.
Typically held on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30 to 9 p.m., the folk jam is a Celtic Bardic Circle in concept.
Everyone sits in a circle and the music goes around. At each person’s turn, they can choose to sing a solo or to lead a song from the song books that the museum keeps on hand.
Musicians can also request a song from the crowd or randomly draw from a cup of song titles.
“The only rule is you cannot pass your turn,” Steen said.
The sessions are led by ShantyGrass, who play a mix of sea shanties, bluegrass and traditional and modern folk music.
Most of the sessions are “no-repeat” and include traditional Celtic music, sea shanties, folk songs, western, bluegrass, Americana and original music.
The sessions are free and family-friendly. All instruments and voices are welcome.
The program is potluck-style, so museum members and guests are encouraged to bring food and snacks to share.
The folk jam is a build-up for a big public event, the Yorktown Folk Festival, which will be held September 25-26 this year.
The sessions are meant to be inclusive and fun for all, whether attendees sing or just hum along.
“The idea is that music is a cultural tradition we all share,” Steen said. “The museum uses music and the arts in all of the educational programs and events as a means of teaching using relative cultural experiences.”
While most sessions are the second Wednesday of every month, this month’s folk jam session has been rescheduled to July 21 at 5:30 p.m.