First Posted: 5/10/2009
Passers by the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History courtyard got a taste of sweet guitar tunes as String Magic kicked off Downtown Music Saturdays this weekend.
Its nice. Do they have this every weekend? Wesley Wilson from Austin, Texas, asked as he paused from his sightseeing to take in some music.
That is the plan.
Mount Airy will have downtown music every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., weather permitting. Twyla Sickmiller, local business owner and organizer of the music, said it will last throughout the summer and even later if the weather is warm. Sponsored by the Mount Airy Downtown Business Association, the music series was slated to begin a week earlier but had to be moved back due to rain. When the sun came out on Saturday, all systems were a go.
The goal is for the music to encourage people like Wilson to spend more time downtown. Wilson was leaving the museum of regional history as a break from a business trip when the music caught his attention.
Theyre pretty good, he said of String Magic.
The new band was the only musical act to perform on Saturday. The band members Bruce Mosley, Adam Robertson and Jack Austin played harmony with electric guitars, strumming classic country and rhythm and blues pieces.
Mosley said, Theres not that much of this kind of music around. Its a lot of fun.
A small crowd of family and friends gathered to sit and listen to the band for a few hours, while others stumbled onto the music and listened for a few to several minutes at a time.
We had no idea what to expect, band member Austin said. This is our first time.
Organizers dont expect for the downtown music to have large crowds right away.
My expectations for the downtown music are that it will be a project that starts small and continues to grow that will make people want to come downtown, commented Brandt Scholz, Downtown Business Association president. He did add that the downtown crowd was larger this weekend thanks to nicer weather.
As Sickmiller explained it, the expectations are not that most people will stay and listen to the music for the full three hours each weekend. She expects people to stop by to listen for several minutes to the music that catches their attention as they walk through town. She hopes this will give people something to do in downtown during the afternoons so they will stay and shop longer, allowing some businesses to stay open later.
We have a wonderful town We need to feed and water it so it will continue to grow. That means music, events … Sickmiller explained.
Faye Weddle, a resident of Mount Airy, voiced similar opinions: I just love our town. People dont do the downtown [scene] as much as they should.
The music is what brought Weddle to downtown; she came to support her friends in String Magic.
Once it gets advertised, people will come for both to hear music and shop, she said.
The town is currently having a banner made to help publicize the event. It is making three tents available each weekend for performers. The museum is the central starting place, but a tent will also be at Talleys Custom Frame Shop and another location. A performer was scheduled to be at Talleys in conjunction with String Magic, but the musician had to cancel.
Sickmiller is currently verifying two bands for next weekend. She said the problem is that a lot of musicians want to be paid, but the Downtown Business Association cant do that. Musicians are free to set out tip jars or sell their CDs while they play, though.
Austin of String Magic said his band decided to perform for the chance to play for a larger group of people.
We have amazing music, and I hope it will bring people out, Sickmiller said.