The Songmaker Story
Verbal tradition holds that Songmakers was started in the late 1940’s as an informal jamming group. A recently-unearthed newsletter from 1963 reveals that the club was formally launched in 1953 as a “workshop” for songwriters. Over the years it has evolved into more of a mutual support group for songwriters, musicians and singers wanting to improve their craft, meet other like-minded folks, play lots of music together, and generally have a lot of FUN!
Songmakers was incorporated in the ’60s as a non-profit organization. At that time a set of by-laws was adopted, a board of directors was formed, and a more formal organizational structure was thus adopted. We don’t let that interfere with our FUN, however!
Songmakers is somewhat like a folk music club, except that (we feel) we welcome and embrace a more eclectic mix of musical genres and styles, such as country, oldies (from the 20’s through yesterday), bluegrass, gospel, blues, humorous songs, and of course folk. The only common thread is that everything we do is acoustic (with the exception of occasional performances before large groups) and FUN! We currently have about 450 members.
Hoots, Song Circles, musical get-togethers and attending other musical performances and events is what Songmakers is all about. Our members are musicians ranging from beginning to professional and just plain folks that love traditional and acoustic-style music.
A Hoot is an official chapter of Songmakers and so is governed by the board as a sanctioned get-together, usually at a private home and attended by an average of 10 – 20 people. Everyone gets one or more turns at which time they may either Perform a song, lead a sing-along song, request a song or performance by someone else, or simply “Pass.” Larger venues sometimes exceed 30 people and when this happens, the group will break down into smaller circles.
Hoots are held eight times a month in locations from Orange County to Ventura County. Song Circles are similar but do not have the same restrictions as hoots regarding alcohol as they are considered private parties. See the Hoots page for the schedule of current hoots and Song Circles.