The closure of the White Rock Elks Club – due to the COVID-19 pandemic – hasn’t shut down the club’s live Sunday jam for musicians and music lovers.
Membership and entertainment director Jaki Grey reports that the jam, run by long-time member and past president Don Alton, has simply shifted operations to the outdoors – Bakerview Park (18 Avenue and 154 Street) to be exact.
“We haven’t been able to do anything in the club since COVID started,” Grey said. “So I said, ‘why don’t we just do the jam in the park?’”
The event has been running every Sunday for two hours, starting at 2 p.m. (weather permitting) and Grey notes that an average of six to 11 musicians have been playing to audiences of some 15 to 20 people since the jam restarted about four weeks ago.
“Everyone’s distancing – we’ve been very happy with that,” said Grey.
“All the musicians sit in a circle and there’s an outer circle of people who come to listen.”
It’s an all-acoustic event, she explained and the groups do without vocal microphones to lessen the potential for spreading the virus.
“Most people play guitars and we have one banjo and another man is a clarinetist who comes out and joins in,” she added, noting that the music “can be anything – there’s a lot of country, with a few up-to-date tunes and some oldies thrown in.”
As a bass guitarist, Grey is one of the few musicians to play electric, she said. “I take an amp, that runs off a battery, with me.”
It’s a very easy-going, non-intimidating environment, she added.
“It’s very low key – just a fun thing to do,” she said. “Let’s hope this good weather continues for another month.”