WEST MILFORD — Musicians and listeners alike come from long distances to the monthly Music at the Mission open mic on the first Saturday of each month. This Saturday, Music at the Mission has something to celebrate: 10 years of wonderful music.
This Saturday, Nov. 3, Music at the Mission is hosting a special invitational open mic, featuring the favorite musicians from the past year of open mics.
It was November, 2002 when a small group of local musicians decided to bring fine music to West Milford. Originally located at the Episcopal Mission in the Highlands - hence the name, Music at the Mission - Music at the Mission has been presenting monthly concerts and open mics in West Milford, currently at the West Milford Presbyterian Church, ever since.
Music at the Mission's open mics have been a treasure of the Highlands. The first Saturday of most months, dozens of local and not-so-local artists sign up to perform on the Mission stage. Traveling artists stop in if they are in the area and available, from far away locales including Canada, Texas and California. Music at the Mission is a popular destination for performers because of its reputation as a true listening room, complete with full set-up on a stage with a professional sound system.
Music at the Mission has presented dozens of memorable monthly concerts with such notable artists as Roger McGuinn, Janis Ian, Richard Shindell, Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky, Chris Smither, The Strawbs, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Solas, Marshall Crenshaw, Tom Rush, Jonathan Edwards... quite an impressive list that goes on and on.
A special celebration
In honor of its 10th anniversary, Music at the Mission decided to try something new. Throughout 2012, the audience at each open mic voted for their favorite open mic performers. Voting tallies were recorded, with winners at each open mic and cumulative voting results for a special 10th anniversary Open Mic Invitational, set for Saturday night. The top five vote-getters will each have a featured spot, leaving additional spots open for those who attend that evening.
Here are the winners from the open mic voting:
Tim Gysin received the most votes due to his tremendous talent and winning strategy. He performed at all but one of our open mics since January and received high votes for every performance. Tim is a student at Don Bosco Prep High School. He is active with scouting, working hard on his Eagle Scout Project, which is a concert and food drive set for Dec. 9 at Don Bosco in Ramsey. "Music for Many" runs from 12 to 5 p.m. and admission is a food donation.
Bill Buttner, singer - songwriter from Marlboro, N.Y., is the second highest vote-getter. Buttner has been a favorite and more recently, a regular at the open mics and consistently impresses with his original songs and talented delivery.
Moe and Tom earned the third spot, making it to several open mics and earning high vote counts each time. But don't let the name fool you, Moe and Tom are two talented young ladies from Warwick, N.Y., otherwise known as Audrey Weatherstone and Shayne O'Neill.
Jay Everett of the Jay Everett Band is the fourth performer for the special open mic. He is known as the man with the amazing voice.
Rob Reyes of West Milford consistently receiving high votes for his strong performances and rounds out the featured performers for the night. He will be performing solo, however you can catch him locally with his band Back Pocket.
Admission for the open mic is $5, which supports the non-profit, all volunteer run organization - allowing them to continue to support great live, local and affordable musical presentations. Doors open and sign-up begins at 7:30 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m.
November is also the anniversary for concerts at Music at the Mission. On Nov. 17, the mission celebrates this special anniversary by welcoming a favorite - The Grand Slambovians (formerly known as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams).
Upcoming concerts feature Legendary Jazz Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli on Dec. 15, The Kennedys in February and Brother Sun in April. Additional concerts will be announced soon.
Concert tickets are available online at www.MusicattheMission.com and at Harvest Moon Health Food Store, 22 Marshall Hill Road in West Milford.
For more information, go to their Web site or check out their facebook page: Music-at-the-Mission.
Music at the Mission is funded in part by the Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council at Passaic County Community College, through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of the State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.