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SAW Community Day

  • 05/25/2019
  • 12:30 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Bethesda United Methodist Church, 8300 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda MD 20814


  • $10 to cover the costs of catered dinner
  • FREE

Member RSVP
Registration is closed

Download Info and Schedule for Community Day 2019 as a Word Doc.

What:  SAW's annual open house is an informative, festive, musical menagerie of song circles, songwriter and performer classes, networking and educational opportunities in a relaxed but energetic atmosphere. This is SAW's yearly introduction to our members and potential members into the musical world we create and strive to make thrive in our area.

Who: Songwriters, singers, musicians, music fans and friends; all musical styles and abilities – all are welcome.

When: Saturday, May 25 from 12:30 to 7 pm

Where: Bethesda United Methodist Church, 8300 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814. Plenty of parking is available, and the Bethesda metro is less than a mile away. Please enter the building through the entrance adjacent to the Huntington Parkway parking lot and follow signs for check in.

How: Register at saw.org to reserve your spot. We encourage you to come for as much of the day as you are able in addition to the scheduled events, there are informal song circles going on all afternoon, and lots of opportunities to socialize.

Cost and dinner: All Community Day activities are FREE to attend; catered dinner is $10. We ask that you pay online for dinner when you register so we can estimate how much food to tell the caterer. You may also opt to purchase dinner in person until we run out.

Drinks/snacks: We will have bottled water and some snacks available. Feel free to bring snacks to share or pack you own dinner if you prefer, but please keep it simple and not too messy

Schedule (subject to change)

Check-in starting at 12:30

Vocal Warm-ups and Workshop 1:00 to 1:30
Allison Balanc will lead vocal warm up and harmony exercises, and share some hints on improving your singing. Allison is a Neo-Soul singer, songwriter, vocal coach, and choral instructor. All singing levels welcome.

Song circles – 1:30 goes all day
Come share your songs, sing or play along to others’, or just to listen. Bring your instrument(s) and please help our facilitators by following basic song circle etiquette.

Bluegrass room – 1:30 goes all day
Michelle Murray and David Morris will host a bluegrass jam. Bring your instruments, your songs, and join in.

More Me in the Monitor – 1:30 to 3:00
Frank Keyser, Brent Ruggles, Jay Keating, Kirby Yarbrough. TBA
Local sound men take the mic to discuss how to discuss with humor, anecdotes and accuracy about how to make nice with the sound tech at the clubs you play. They will discuss dos and don’ts, their pet peeves about performers, and more. This is a must attend event for people who want to succeed as an opening act or in venues large enough to use a sound man.

Songwriting:  From the Starting Gate to the Finish Line (1:30 - 3:00)
Mike P. Ryan, MASC Grand Prize winner.
You want to write songs but you struggle to get started. You're constantly asking yourself "what should I write about?" or "how do I say what I want to say?" You've got bits and pieces of songs but can't seem to put them together to form a finished product.  If this sounds like you, join Mike P. Ryan for a fun, interactive, and informative look at the writing process from start to finish. Mike will help you improve as a songwriter by teaching you how to get started, how to stay motivated, and how to join the right words with the right music so your finished songs paint vivid pictures. 

Uke workshop – 1:30 to 3:00 Glen Hirabayashi (of the Aloha Boys). The Ukulele, while accessible and inexpensive as an instrument, lends itself to many different uses in music. Glen will take the group through some history, some practical applications and some exercises to improve your approach to this powerful instrument. Originally from O'ahu, Uncle Glen is a master of "kanikapila" a relaxed style of uke that lends itself to many styles of music.

Chord Grammar – 1:30 to 2:30
Matt Holsen, arranger, producer, composer and performer, leads this popular and fascinating class. Learn about the music theory you know but were never taught circle of fifths, relative minor substitution, tritone substitution, transitions and more   and how it can open up the doors to constructing better sounding and more confidently structured songs. Accessible to novice songwriters and still informative to more experienced writers. Don’t be intimidated by his depth of knowledge. I took this class last year and I am still discovering what he said and how it applies to my music.

Rhythm Crash Course – 3:00 to 4:30
Danny Dean and Lani a’Kea (The WATCH) Learn the formula of counting rhythms. Broken down into digestible chunks, this crash course will start with the basics of how rhythm is formed and how to use it in your own practice and performance. Learn how common time rhythm can have layers and discover more complex rhythms like waltz time, half time, and more. Learning to count and play rhythms can be a huge asset to help the creative flow and your performance.  No instruments required.

Get in the Looper – 3:30 to 4:30
John Trupp (with a guitar) and Kirsten Stade (with a mbira). Have you ever wanted to try a looping pedal? This hands on demonstration will show you the basics of looping and how it can enhance and broaden your songwriting, practicing and performance. There will be a simple single pedal Boss RC2 looper there for you to try. This is a great opportunity to get your feet wet with a looping pedal and see the many ways it can be a helpful and inspiring creative tool, and a whole lot of fun!

First Impressions –– 3:30 to 5:00
Ron Goad and Dan Magnolia
Our panel of
local bookers, radio hosts, and other music leaders will listen briefly to your songs (pre-recorded and anonymously submitted) and provide feedback and insight. You may then chose to stand, take a bow, and make a comment. Facilitated by board members.

Dinner available starting at 5:00
We are asking for $10 each to defray the costs of a catered dinner. Please purchase in advance at saw.org. There will be limited access to dinners available to buy that day.

Musicianship presentation – 5:30
You may have heard that
The Musicianship recently took over the Wammies but do you know about all the other ways this nonprofit is changing lives through music? The Musicianship uses music to alter the life trajectory of youth, thereby creating a more vibrant, educated, empowered, and well-intentioned world. Find out more about how SAW and the Musicianship can work together and how you can get involved.

SAW updates and comments from President
Jay Keating. Approval of the board slate.

Social time, wrap up until 7pm


Questions or to volunteer: contact Jay Keating at president@saw.org

Songwriters' Association of Washington is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.


4200 Wisconsin Ave, NW
PMB 106-137
Washington, DC 20016

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