Virtual & LIVE Songcircles

Songmakers and other Virtual & LIVE Song Circles Information you are welcome to share with non-members too! Coming up on the holidays, especially the period between T-Day through New Years Day, keep alert to last minute changes to be updated below.

(updated 19:45 PT on 11/28/2021)

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Weekly Repeating Event List

Times are Pacific Time Zone

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Every Sunday 7-10:15pm: Virtual Agoura Hills Song CircleSteven Mark Berman <President@songmakers.org> is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom Song Circle: Join via: https://zoom.us/j/637717652?pwd=ZW92MDYwN3NYUGtyWHJtQW1BRXlQQT09 Meeting ID: 637 717 652 Password: 008615. 

Every Monday 12-4pm: Mudcat Worldwide Zoom Singaround, Email Joe Offer <joe@mudcat.org> to get the meeting number and password sent to you by email on Sundays (changes weekly). Joe is the Music Editor, The Mudcat Cafe Folk Music Discussion Forum.

Every Wednesday 1-2pm: Bill’s Uke Beginner Ukulele Class via Zoom, Email Bill Dempsey <billdempsey@cox.net> to get meeting number and password sent to you by email on Tuesday. For more info: www.billdempseymusic.net. New album, Oft I Sing, currently available only as a download. Here’s a link http://billdempsey.hearnow.com.

Every Wednesday Virtual Open Mic. 6:30 sign-in for 7pm:  Guitar Merchant Open Mic. 2 songs or 8 minutes. There may be problems with Tinyurl so go to Zoom by clicking this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88449766479?pwd=aFduYkwybDVvblA1V2dycmZud250dz09 any time after 6:30 PM to sign up to perform or to watch. If performing, please read “Zoom Setup for Music Performance” below. For more information, email <openmicGM@socal.rr.com>.  SMPOC: Joel Amromin.

Every Thursday 7-10pm: Virtual Chuck Behrman’s Thursday Evening Zoom <chuck@chbphoto.com>. Every Thursday throughout the Covid-19 lockdown – Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83549396377?pwd=NFVqTEZJVzFHU3U2Mm9iZFdlVVRSQT09  –  Meeting ID: 835 4939 6377  Password: 262022

Every Friday morning from 9:30-11:30am: David Steinhart’s Song Circle. Start the Day With A Song! dstein1209@yahoo.com – Join Zoom Meeting:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89162569327 – Meeting ID: 891 6256 9327 – Passcode if needed: 839872

Every Saturday 9:30-10:30am: Bill’s Uke Beginner Ukulele Class via Zoom, Email Bill Dempsey <billdempsey@cox.net> to get meeting number and password sent to you by email. For more info: www.billdempseymusic.net. New album, Oft I Sing, currently available only as a download. Here’s a link http://billdempsey.hearnow.com.

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Not Weekly Chronological Event List

Times are Pacific Time Zone

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Nov 28 – Dec 06 Happy Hanukkah!

In December, many music and other programs coming to the Stagecoach Inn Museum all month long (however the 4th Saturday Song Circle will be DARK to come back in Jan.) I’m told a list of performers and locations will be listed at: https://stagecoachinnmuseum.com/calendar/2021/12/3/holidays-at-the-inn-unwrap-the-grand-union-hotel  Nostalgic Duo, will be performing the 1st & 2nd Fridays & Saturdays.

Dec 04 – 1st Saturday 7-9pm Santa Monica Folk Club Zoom musical get together. To be co-hosted by Ellen Silverman and Chuck Behrman <chuck@chbphoto.com>. The way it works is you need to click on the zoom link below. You will be let into the meeting from the waiting room by the host – Please turn your video ON so that we can identify you as a real person and not a Zoom Bomber. Between songs we can all unmute and chat. We will all have an opportunity to see each other and share our music. Meeting ID: 825 8956 4896 – Passcode: 728632 – One tap mobile – +16699006833,,81687335715# US (San Jose) – +13462487799,,81687335715# US (Houston) Join via: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82589564896?pwd=YVFjL2lqNXkwaDk5Q0J6ZEZadG5FUT09  

Dec 05 – 1st Sunday 1-5pm: Folksong SIG (special interest group) – NOT AN OFFICIAL SONGMAKERS EVENT. Host Alan Stillson <astillson13@gmail.com> invites you to attend. IN-PERSON song circle event for up to 10 fully vaccinated participants (couples count as two attendees). Participation requires a reservation – please contact Alan Stillson directly at astillson13@gmail.com or 818-884-4284. The Folksong SIG is a long-running event for members of Greater Los Angeles Area Mensa and invited guests. It is not listed on Meetup. The address is 5515 Keokuk Ave. Woodland Hills, CA 91367. It’s close to the Ventura Freeway and Winnetka Ave. All musical instruments are welcome. The gathering is indoors. There is a full-size keyboard in the room. Bring light snacks to share. Host will provide snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. It will be held in compliance with state/local safety guidelines and the same rules adopted by the Songmakers board of directors for in-person gatherings to protect our members during this period of post-pandemic recovery. Attendance requires compliance with the following:

  1. Fully vaccinated plus at least two weeks.
  2. Reservation via Meet-up or direct contact with host.
  3. Rules for this event, as requested by host:
    • Maximum number of attendees is 10 (couples = two attendees).
    • All pre-pandemic Songmakers rules and protocols still apply.
    • The gathering is indoors. There is a full-size keyboard in the room.
    • Bring light snacks to share. Host will provide snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

The event is subject to cancellation in case of emergency or new safety guidelines by CDC, state, or local government that would prohibit this gathering.

Dec 07 – 1st Tuesday 6-9:30pm: LIVE Thousand Oaks IHOP Song Circle. This is not an official Songmakers event. It is listed for your information only. Valerie Kotas valkat_8@yahoo.com is the host. The host’s telephone number is 805-523-1760 (text best). Details of the event, including location, can only be gotten through the host. It may or may not comply with state/local guidelines and the rules adopted by the Songmakers board of directors for in-person gatherings to protect our members during this period of post-pandemic recovery. Attendance is strictly up to the judgment of attendees. The event is subject to cancellation in case of emergency or new safety guidelines by CDC, state, or local government that would prohibit this gathering.

Dec 07 & 21 – 1st & 3rd Tuesdays 1-3pm: SFFMC Zoom Sings will have a song swap in the lobby and breakout rooms will be available. If you have a suggestion for a workshop subject, please e-mail it to info@sffmc.org or phone 510-473-6651. Edward Hilton is inviting you to join via https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87532430768?pwd=ZkpNSXA5eDdJYkNKVVJUaU1zNGVrZz09 Meeting ID: 875 3243 0768 Passcode: sing – One tap mobile +16699009128,,87532430768#,,,,*724994# US (San Jose)

Dec 10 & 24 2nd & 4th Fridays 7pm-after midnight: San Francisco Folk Music Club – For full details and to sign up, go to https://www.sffmc.org/.

Dec 12 2nd Sunday 1-5pm: You are invited to attend the Folksong SIG (special interest group) – NOT AN OFFICIAL SONGMAKERS EVENT. Hosted by Songmakers member Alan Stillson. IN-PERSON song circle event for up to 10 fully vaccinated participants. Participation requires a reservation – please contact Alan directly at astillson13@gmail.com or 818-884-4284. The Folksong SIG is a long-running event for members of Greater Los Angeles Area Mensa and invited guests. It is not listed on Meetup. The address is 5515 Keokuk Ave. Woodland Hills, CA 91367. It’s close to the Ventura Freeway and Winnetka Ave. All musical instruments are welcome. It will be held in compliance with state/local safety guidelines and the same rules adopted by the Songmakers board of directors for in-person gatherings to protect our members during this period of post-pandemic recovery.

Rules for this event, as requested by host:

  • Maximum number of attendees is 10 (couples count as two attendees).
  • All pre-pandemic Songmakers rules and protocols will be used.
  • The gathering is indoors. There is a full-size keyboard in the room.
  • Bring light snacks to share. Host will provide non-alcoholic beverages.

The event is subject to cancellation in case of emergency or new safety guidelines by CDC, state, or local government that would prohibit this gathering.

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Our Hoot Liaison, Sandy Lessner, invites you to check out https://folkworks.org/ for many show / performance viewing opportunities.

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Make reservations early for Kenney Grove camp outs you want to attend. https://www.venturaparks.org/mbl/camping/index.asp#searchBtn

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 Note: If you are aware of a public virtual song circle or want to host one, please provide the info to  EChord <songmakersinc@gmail.com> for inclusion to our members.

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DOWN THE ROAD

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2/26/2022 Saturday 2-9pm: LIVE Songmakers Annual Roundup, Board Elections and Concert at Congregational Church of the Chimes, 14115 Magnolia Boulevard Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. 12-2pm for set-up, and 2-9pm, for Songmakers program / board elections. https://churchofthechimes.org/. Attendees must comply with Songmakers Covid guidelines.

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Notices:

    • Ventura and LA County Public Health requires all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings over the mouth and nose when indoors in public settings, with limited exceptions.
    • Covid “D” spiking among both vaccinated and unvaccinated is happening. LIVE events will continue to be listed but do take into consideration the increased risk to your health.
    • No longer sending the EChord to non-members except for new prospective members. After a short courtesy send of the EChord and as we continue to open up more face-to-face events, it will be necessary to be a Songmakers member (only $10 per year per family / household) – join via http://songmakers.info/MbrshpForm/MbrshpForm.html. Joining Songmakers is not accomplished via Meetup. The list here will remain albeit may not list all Songmakers Calendar events.
      • SPAM blockers often create a problem in that they reject / move to SPAM folders EChord emails. Currently it appears that @me @mac @icloud.com have decided to block EChords to their customers. The only fix suggestions are to select a new provider and possibly to add to your email address book all of these:  <songmakersinc@gmail.com>, <Calendar@songmakers.org> (not used currently), <EChord@songmakers.org> (not used currently). If your membership has expired, you may no longer be on distribution.
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SONGMAKERS IN-PERSON GUIDELINES:

Except for those in compliance, listed in-person gatherings are officially DARK. We will continue to list LIVE events with the caution to use your own judgement.

Songmakers guidelines, in a nutshell, are essentially:

All event hosts / leaders must agree to allow only Covid-19 safe = vaccinated with last shot + 14 days attendees.

  1. Public events will remain officially DARK since there is no way to control who attends.
  2. Songmakers members should verify their vaccination status by self-reporting their status on our website. The link is under the membership tab. Hosts / leaders may also use alternate means of confirming Covid-19 safe status.
  3. In-person events will be published here & in the EChord  intended for Songmakers members only. Please use good judgment wrt your own risks.

Editor’s note: Lapsed members / others may rejoin / join via the membership tab at www.songmakers.org

Songmakers Event attendance requires the following:

  • Membership in Songmakers or invited guest status.
  • Registration on the Songmakers list of fully vaccinated members or other confirmation of status accepted by the host.
  • Reservation via Meet-up or other RSVP acceptable to the host.

All events are subject to cancellation in case of emergency or new safety guidelines by CDC, state, or local government that would prohibit small gatherings.

Quick Notes:

  1. For Songmakers current members only: Please self-report your vaccination status on our website. The link is http://songmakers.org/voluntary-vaccination-status and, if you’ve misplaced the password emailed to you, ask via webmaster@songmakers.org. Booster shot, date only, can be reported by email to webmaster@songmakers.org if you desire.
  2. Live event guidelines for in-person events are more stringent than CA or CDC guidelines.
  3. See updated 04/20/2021 Zoom setup below.
  4. As always for Zoom Song Circles, ensure you have the most recent Zoom update and keep your mic muted unless you are speaking or it’s your turn to lead.

For quick, ZOOM SETUP FOR MUSIC PERFORMANCE, see the step by step procedures below provided by Joel Amromin. and Steve BermanAlan Ferentz notes: Zoom good info on the  Hi-Fidelity for music option at: https://blog.zoom.us/high-fidelity-music-mode-professional-audio-on-zoom/

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ZOOM SETUP FOR MUSIC PERFORMANCE

(provided by Joel Amromin – 04/20/2021)

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Because Zoom is “tuned” for spoken word, it is less than perfect for music without some configurations. Here are procedures for configuring Zoom for music. These procedures depend on using “original sound,” which bypasses the Zoom processing for spoken word, such as noise suppression. You want it pure.

Notes: Specific functions, labels, and locations will vary depending on what operating system and hardware you use. These instructions are based on Apple devices but should be the same or similar on other devices. The procedures get shorter for simpler devices because they have less capability. Zoom is not very good when it comes to consistent interfaces across platforms, so there are separate procedures below for various devices. Fortunately, you can now use the same procedure for smartphones and tablets. 

For performing music, Zoom works best on a workstation or laptop with a hardwired (Ethernet) connection to a network. Wireless local connections, such as Bluetooth or WiFi are less effective and may have audio dropouts and/or video freezes depending on signal quality. Cellular connection is the poorest. Close any other applications you don’t need during the meeting.

If Zoom asks for a password when entering a meeting, it wants your personal account password. If it asks for a passcode, it wants the passcode for the meeting.

If you don’t already have it, download and register the Zoom client for meetings from your app provider (e.g., Apple Store) or https://zoom.us/download. You must be on version 5.0.0 or later. You should frequently check for updates in the main Zoom menu. These instructions are based on the software as of April 20, 2021. They assume you have downloaded the Zoom client, kept it up to date, and registered for a free basic Zoom account. The client version at the time of this writing is 5.6.3 on workstations and 5.6.1 on mobile devices.

  1. Start the Zoom client. (Not necessary, but recommended, for tablets and smartphones.)
  2. Follow one of these two procedures. 
  3. For a workstation or laptop (should be about the same for Mac or Windows):
  4. Join the meeting. If asked, log on with video. Click the up arrow next to the picture of a microphone, usually at the bottom of the screen. If you’ve previously set up steps b. through h and haven’t changed your audio equipment setup, skip ahead to step i.
  5. Click Audio Settings. The Audio Setting window appears. 
  6. Turn off (uncheck) Automatically adjust microphone volume and set the Input Volume slider at around 90%. If people complain about your volume or based on a sound check conducted by the host, you may have to adjust it up or down, which you can do during the meeting.
  7. Under “Music and Professional Audio,” make sure Show in-meeting option to Turn on Original Sound from microphone and Echo cancellation are on (checked). 
  8. High-fidelity music mode uses extra bandwidth. For most of us, it should be off. 
  9. At the bottom of the window, click Advanced.
  10. Set Echo Cancellation to Auto; then click Back.
  11. Close the Settings window. The settings you have made are retained after you leave Zoom, so you only need to do it once.
  12. Back in the meeting, on versions prior to 5.6.3, click “Turn on Original Sound,” which is usually at the top of the meeting window. When set correctly, it will say “Turn off Original Sound.” The button shows the action it will take, not the current state—which is confusing. On 5.6.3 (Released 4/19/21) and above, the button will show the current state by saying “Original sound: off” or “Original sound: on.” Click the button to switch it.
    Note: You can turn Original Sound on permanently by clicking the little down arrow next to the Original Sound and selecting your microphone or other sound source. This device will then always be set for original sound when you enter a meeting.

For a tablet or smartphone, such as iPad or iPhone (should be the about same on other tablets or smartphones). The locations of the described items will vary between devices.

  1. If you’ve previously done steps b and c or are not using the Zoom client app, skip to step d.
  2. Click the Settings icon, which looks like a little gear; then click Meetings. The Meeting Settings window appears. 
  3. Scroll the window down until you see Use Original Sound. Turn that on (checked); then exit the Meeting Settings. This setting will remain after you leave Zoom, so you only need to do it once.
  4. Join the meeting. If asked, log on with video. Click the three dots labeled “More.” Click Enable Original Sound. You’ll need to do this for each meeting.
  5. If the host conducts a sound check, you may be asked to adjust your microphone volume or other audio settings.
  6. When performing, you should be close to the microphone to avoid dropouts and background noise.

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On Zoom – Pres Sez… (10/04/2020)

(Editors Note: If there is conflict in the info between this and the updated 4/20/2021 above, I’d start with the 4/20  instructions.)

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Zoom free accounts have a 40-minute duration. Contact Steve to coordinate longer sessions. First download and register the free Zoom Client for Meetings at: https://zoom.us/download

You can find many sources of instruction about hosting Zoom music sessions. The u-tube videos I found helpful can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50NoWIiYECA&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2ho1mnFsfs4aiYw5LrVFpCGoaX4c-L35E24EFafZQpMJA0uy0L8h4vf2w and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkG7yOTRIAk&t=566s

Tips:

Have as little as possible running on your system while hosting, maybe just Zoom, your email and whatever text files you might want to screen-share with lyrics and chords of songs you plan to play. Use a hardwired (Ethernet) connection to your router. You can put speedtest.net in a browser and check your download and upload speed through Ethernet vs Wi-Fi, and with different applications running. My download speed more than doubled with Ethernet and little else running.

Use an external microphone and speakers if available. Built in computer audio input/output should work (that is all I had for my first month of hosting), but not as well.

Before anyone enters the meeting, use the following steps to optimize your Zoom for Music:

  1. When you see your face upon starting the meeting, click up arrow to the right of the microphone (audio) icon in the lower left of your screen, and go down to Audio Setting
  2. Test sound to be sure it passes. I was advised that you should then turn off both “automatically adjust volume”, and use the sliders to set them high, which you can continue to adjust throughout the meeting. However, I have not experimented with this yet in a meeting so you may want to do so.
  3. Click advanced at the bottom right and check the REALLY important parameters for music: Check “Show in-meeting option to Enable Original Sound” at top. Make sure original sound is enabled during the meeting. DISABLE suppression of the 2 forms of background noise. Leave echo suppression on auto. Your music quality will thank you 🙂

I think these are good tips even when you are not hosting, if they can be applied, to make your individual audio optimal.

After starting a session, you can assign anyone who joins to be the host instead of you. This can help if they have a better system than you do, especially audio input/output devices, speed/bandwidth. However, experiment, and pass on your own wisdom to your fellow Songmakers via me, TJ at the weekly EChord, and/or website posts that comprise the new Bard Chord.

I hope to see you soon on my Zoom channel, 637717652. I’ll host the Virtual Agoura Hills Song Circle from 7-10:15 pm each Sunday until we can play in the same room again. May that day come soon. You may be required to provide the password, 008615, because hackers disrupting Zoom meetings have recently mandated increased security. The invitation is above in the listings.

The famous Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” seems particularly appropriate now. Stay home, stay safe, keep playing music, and we’ll get through these “interesting times” together. Remember to give thanks for all our blessings every single day! They didn’t have the internet in the 1918 pandemic! Songmakers will always be high on my gratitude list!

Sincerely,

Steve