SongWorks presents concert of classics
BY KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent
Members of Johnstown’s local songwriting club, SongWorks, will present a concert beginning at 7 p.m. May 9 inside Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue’s Black Box Theatre.
The concert will feature SongWorks members Sam Coco, Barry Poglein, Denise Baldwin, Malcolm Crittenden, Walt Churchey, Scott Hoover and Monica Shabella.
They will perform a variety of “classic” songs such as “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin and “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffet.
“It’ll be an upbeat show,” Crittenden said, “with lots of audience interaction and participation.”
Crittenden said he and his fellow musicians enjoy encouraging audience members to sing along.
“People rarely get a chance to sing in a group setting, other than in church, so we’ll be playing songs that people naturally gravitate to, like ‘Over the Rainbow,’” he said.
The songwriters will also perform their “classics.”
“In other words,” Crittenden said, “the original songs that local people have heard before and seem to really like.”
The songwriters will perform both solo and group sets.
The last time SongWorks performed in Johnstown was at their annual “A SongWorks Christmas” concert at The Grand Halle on Broad Street in December 2018. They perform for the public approximately four times a year, but many of the members perform outside of the group year-round, including at local taverns, bars and even AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival (Churchey and Jackie Kopco appeared on last year’s line-up.)
Members of SongWorks meet at Bottle Works on the first Thursday of every month, year-round.
“We do songwriting exercises and help each other improve the songs we write,” Crittenden said. “There are a lot of people who write songs in Johnstown who are not members of our group. We probably only represent 25 percent of the local songwriters, so we’d be highly interested in others joining us. I know that I really like the chance to present a recent song that I’ve written and get feedback as to how to craft it for a better presentation. The main draw of the group is the camaraderie. There are so many positive personalities in our group.”
For more information about joining the group, visit the SongWorks Facebook page by searching for “@johnstownsongworks.”
“This is a group that Bottle Works has fostered for many, many years,” said Bottle Works Executive Director Laura Argenbright. “We feel it's so important to give local singer/songwriters a place to gather, create, experiment and show off their work among like-minded musicians. And it's just as important to provide the opportunity to perform for the public. Many of the core members have been coming for years, but new members are always welcome. We recently started Friday night art meetups called Club Works, which have quickly become very popular, but SongWorks was the group that started it all.”
Crittenden added that the group is grateful to be performing inside the venue’s Black Box Theatre.
“It’s a special venue because it only seats 65, and for this type of show, the audience tends to engage better in that type of smaller setting,” he said. “I hope people will join us for this evening of music. We always have fun, the tickets are inexpensive, and, if you bring a little wine, no one will complain.”
For more information about the SongWorks “Classics” concert, visit www.bottleworks.org or call a Bottle Works staff member at 814-535-2020.
Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue is located on 411 Third Avenue in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.