Virtual & LIVE Songcircles

Songmakers and other virtual & LIVE Song Circles Information you are welcome to share with non-members too! 

(updated 16:10 PT on 10/13/2021)


    • 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 – several vaccinated Songmakers have contracted Covid-D. Responsible adults should be taking increased preventative measures. 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 Joining Songmakers is not accomplished via Meetup. The list here will remain albeit may not list all EChord Calendar events.
    • SPAM blockers often create a problem in that they reject / move to SPAM folders EChord emails. The only fix suggestions are to add to your email address book all of these:  <>, <>, <> (not used currently), and/or do a search on the word “EChord” that includes your SPAM & Trash folders. If your membership has expired, you may no longer be on distribution.


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

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 and, if you’ve misplaced the password emailed to you, ask via Again, for current members only so do not share the password.
  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.


Weekly Repeating Event List

Times are Pacific Time Zone


Every Sunday 7-10:15pm: Virtual Agoura Hills Song CircleSteven Mark Berman <> is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom Song Circle: Join via: Meeting ID: 637 717 652 Password: 008615. 

Every Monday 12-4pm: Mudcat Worldwide Zoom Singaround, Email Joe Offer <> 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 Monday 5-6:30pm: Twin Cities, Minneapolis & St Paul  MN  Merlin’s Rest pub sings – N.B. unaccompanied only.  On Mon. 31st, Paul Clarke guest-leads from England.  Sign up via 

Every Wednesday Noon-3pm: FOCSLE Music Zoom, Paul Clarke leads from England. Sign up for e-mail alerts via More info at

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

Every Wednesday Virtual Open Mic. 6:30 sign-in for 7pm:  Guitar Merchant Open Mic. 2 songs or 8 minutes. Go to Zoom by clicking 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 <>.  SMPOC: Joel Amromin.

Every Thursday 7-10pm: Virtual Chuck Behrman’s Thursday Evening Zoom <>. Every Thursday throughout the Covid-19 lockdown – Join Zoom Meeting:  –  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! – Join Zoom Meeting: – 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 <> to get meeting number and password sent to you by email. For more info: New album, Oft I Sing, currently available only as a download. Here’s a link


Not Weekly Chronological Event List

Times are Pacific Time Zone


Oct 14-18 Fall Out “Officially“ DARK as this event does not meet Songmakers LIVE event guidelines. However, at least check the CDC recommendations for people who have completed the vaccine regimen (note: last shot +14 more days).

Oct 15 – 3rd Fridays 8-10pm: Virtual CAMARILLO HOOT / CCSL Song Circle – the Camarillo Center for Spiritual Living (CCSL) and TJ Zeiler <> invite you to a TJ led Song Circle via: – Meeting ID: 836 1246 5582 Password: 015252. As a courtesy to all of our participants, please plan to keep your “on-stage” timing to less than 5min.

Oct 16 – 3rd Saturday Noon ’til the traffic clears: LIVE The Songs We All Know By Heart JAM. Chuck Behrman is inviting you to attend this in-person event which will be Songmakers guidelines compliant. It is a “potluck” event and the host will provide the main dish. An RSVP is required to for address and details. The jam will initially be limited to 18 participants. Additional RSVPs will be added to a waiting list. Please note that this event is a JAM for songs we know by heart. No solo performances, music stands, music sheets, tablets or laptops will be permitted. This jam is being created to satisfy the desire of many Songmakers to enjoy a jam environment in which everyone is encouraged to participate in every song. Everyone in attendance is encouraged to participate in the music experience with songs we all know or can easily join in playing and singing. The event is for vaccinated people only and is subject to cancellation in case of emergency or new safety guidelines by CDC, state, or local government that would prohibit this gathering.

Oct 16 – 3rd Saturday 1-3pm San Mateo Virtual Folk Music Singing Meetup hosted by Lee Strieb. Full details and to RSVP via:

Oct 19 – 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 or phone 510-473-6651. Edward Hilton is inviting you to join via Meeting ID: 875 3243 0768 Passcode: sing – One tap mobile +16699009128,,87532430768#,,,,*724994# US (San Jose)

Oct 19 – 3rd Tuesday 6-10pm: LIVE Agoura Hills Potluck & Song Circle. An RSVP is required for all in-person attendees and also required is to be “Covid-19 safe registered” on the Members Only section of (see link below) or directly with Steve or Sandy. For full details, including the address, and to RSVP see: Potluck at 6pm – bring a dish to share, Music from 7 to 10pm. Please bring seating (folding chairs with rubber feet preferred). Five armless chairs available. This event is Songmakers guidelines compliant.

 Oct 21 – 3rd Thursday 5pm: Official deadline for the monthly full Calendar & EChord Articles / Info Sharing submissions via Website (actually you can submit non-calendar info anytime you wish). Calendar/Southland inputs must be sent by the deadline to TJ Zeiler via Email: Songmakers EChord <>. EChord deadline is every Saturday 5pm.

Oct 222nd & 4th Fridays 8-11:59pm: San Francisco Folk Music Club – For full details and to sign up, go to

Oct 23 – 4th Saturday 1-4pm: LIVE Stagecoach Inn Museum Song Circle in Newbury Park. As this is open to the public, it cannot be an official Songmakers event and is listed for your information only. TJ Zeiler & David Steinhart lead – please do not join the circle unless you are fully Covid vaccinated. Museum guidelines do not comply with the rules adopted by the Songmakers board of directors for in-person gatherings therefore attendance is strictly up to the judgment of attendees. RSVP via The director, Jana Goldsworthy, has waived museum admission fees on the 4th Saturday for Songmakers. We are to use the parking lot on Susan Drive off Lynn. Please bring your own chair and armless folding chairs are preferred. Masks are required for inside albeit not for outside on the porch or lawn where we will be playing. However, we will be in close proximity, so masks are strongly recommended even outside. Dressing in a fashion that supports the era is desired. 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.

Oct 25 – 4th Monday 6-10pm: LIVE Woodland Hills Song Circle. Alan Stillson <> is inviting you to attend this in-person event. The address is 5515 Keokuk Ave. Woodland Hills, CA 91367. It’s close to the Ventura Freeway and Winnetka Ave. The landline telephone number is 818/884-4284. Co-leaders are Linnea Richards and Alan Stillson. All musical instruments are welcome. It will be held in compliance with state/local safety 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 requires the following:

  1. Fully vaccinated plus at least two weeks – honor system.
  2. Reservation via Meet-up or direct contact with host.
  3. Rules for this event, as requested by host:
  • Maximum number of attendees is 15 (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 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.

Oct 26 – 2nd & 4th Tuesday 4-6:30pm: Virtual Port Hueneme Zoom Song Circle. Marty Capsuto <> is inviting you to a SCAN Health Plan sponsored Song Circle. Join Zoom Meeting via: Meeting ID: 634 543 8370 – Passcode: ac9gM3 / One tap mobile +16699006833,,6345438370#,,,,,,0#,,728002# US (San Jose) Dial by your location +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) Meeting ID: 634 543 8370 Passcode: 728002

Oct 31 (1x week chg) 4th Sunday 4-8pm: LIVE WEST LA HOOT & 6pm Potluck – led by Louise Dobbs & hosted by Marty Oaklander & Mha Atma Khalsa, at 1536 Crest Dr., West Los Angeles 90035. Halloween costumes optional. Please bring a contribution for the 6pm potluck. Contact info: 310-203-0162 or or The following changes are based on Songmakers / CDC guidance for now:


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


Make reservations early for Kenney Grove camp outs you want to attend.


 Note: If you are aware of a public virtual song circle or want to host one, please provide the info to for inclusion to our members.




Nov 5-7 Friday-Sunday (can add Thursday for a fee): Camp de Benneville Pines – Officially DARK but here is the link: – Note: Songmakers may come Thursday for an additional fee/person but camp supplied food will not be included until Friday dinner time. “Music in the Mountains” is an annual event in the San Bernardino Mountains near Angelus Oaks. It is open to the public and is a combined effort between Camp deBenneville Pines and Songmakers who plan the activities. The headliner will be Karen Hart, an award-winning musical performer and composer (see Karen will lead two workshops and open for the Saturday night concert. Karen will be bringing her bass player Jennifer Leitham. Jennifer is known for playing acoustic bass with many music world masters, including Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, George Shearing, Doc Severinsen, Woody Herman, Benny Carter, Louis Bellson, Bill Watrous, Take 6 and K.D. Lang, along with countless other greats. The feature film documentary about her, “I Stand Corrected” has won 12 best film awards. Other tentative workshops include singalongs, recorder, song presentation, songwriting, choral workshop, recorder, and harmony. Fully vaccinated will be required at a minimum. This event must be considered not officially sanctioned as it does not meet Songmakers guidelines.


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:



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


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 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.


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.)


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:

You can find many sources of instruction about hosting Zoom music sessions. The u-tube videos I found helpful can be found at: and


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 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!