Songwriters Circle meetings moving to first Wednesdays

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Wed., Oct. 2.

Suggested assignment: Write a song about faith

(4207 Butler Street, [Lawrenceville] Pittsburgh. 412-681-4318).

Please visit the group website for details about the change in meeting day.

First Wednesdays at Hambone’s 

For more than 25 years Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle has met monthly on the first Tuesday of each month, barring holidays, etc. The move to first Wednesdays was precipitated by the management of Hambone’s, where the Songwriters Circle has met since September 2018. 

Initially, to fit the group into its programming, Hambone’s and its open stage hosts had agreed to nip an hour off the open stage on first Tuesdays to give the Circle time for a two-hour meeting. Monthly attendance and group membership increased since the move, and we’ve tried to end precisely at 9 p.m. And when we wrap it up at 9 p.m., there’s another 10-15 minutes taken as members pay their tabs, put guitars back in their cases and gab on their way out.

In the most gracious terms, open stage and venue management said they like Songwriters Circle members and what we do there, but explained that we’d fit better into their programming on Wednesdays, when no promotion is scheduled. Again, no charge for the meeting space. On consulting with about a half dozen Songwriters Circle members it was unanimously decided that the group’s best option was to remain at Hambone’s and begin our meetings at 7 p.m. on first Wednesdays.

The change opens several opportunities:

  • With no time deadline, we’ll no longer have to rush through the last 15 minutes. Everyone who wants to play an original song will be accommodated, and we’ll have plenty of time to critique and talk about our songs. 
  • When the official meeting is over Circle members will have access to the stage. I’ll run the sound and we’ll coordinate it like an open stage.
  • Eventually I’d like to use some of the extra time to invite speakers to the meetings, explain in more detail the next month’s songwriting assignments or maybe spotlight a group member with a featured set on our meeting night.
  • The Hambone’s open stage that is held on first Tuesdays, one day before our new meeting day, will include a Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle featured set. I’ll schedule the unpaid 20-30 minute set and ask the featured member to promote the following night’s meeting. This doubles the number of featured sets we have available. We still have the Songwriters Circle featured set third Mondays at Mr. Small’s Funhouse (400 Lincoln Ave, Millvale, PA 15209. 412-821-4447. Mon., Sept. 16 starting between 8-8:30 p.m. Paul and Joannie Eisert). If we were to also feature a member at the end of our Wednesday meetings, that would give us three featured sets per month, increasing the number of Circle members getting the spotlight from 12 a year (once a month at Small’s) to 36 per year.

Things are changing, but they’re looking up. Write a song about it.

See you soon, on a Wednesday.

– John