by Roger Walk
CHESTERIFLED – When Chesterfield County’s Central Library started its Lunchtime Jam Sessions last summer, the first sessions were rather well attended.
Lou O’Boyle, a government employee and mandolin player, had won the library’s support for offering beginner and more advanced musicians an opportunity to bring their instruments and play along “jamming” with each other during lunchtime. Five to twelve instrumentalists found their way every second and fourth Tuesday of the month to the Central Library to meet at the spacious all-purpose room for playing together in whatever combination of instruments, skills, and talent emerged. The forum provided by the public library helped musicians to learn from each other, and create new contacts with other musicians that could be explored and tightened for future band formations.
In the fall of 2013 and early 2014 the number of jammers showing up at lunchtime for the one-hour sessions crumpled, and so on January 15, just two enthusiasts brought their instruments for some jamming action. Guitar player Freddie Bennett somewhat disjointed by the low number of musicians showing up, reluctantly unpacked his new mandolin to join enthusiastic Jerry Graham with his rare digital horn to play a few tunes together – jamming style. When “Amazing Grace” sounded through the halls, a library patron strolled over and sat down, obviously enjoying what he heard.
Both “jammers” were hoping for more than one companion to practice their tunes and grow through the interaction with other musicians. “I will definitely come back another time when there are a few more to join in the action” Mr. Graham said with a bit of disappointment in his voice. So the musicians who plan to come again and the library intend to get the word around that more jammers are needed to make this great idea and opportunity work in 2014.