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Original, Spring-like music on tap for Tunes on Tap at Bowser Brewery

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Tunes on Tap ArtLife as a solo performer in Great Falls can seem a little lonely at times.

For one, whenever you perform it’s usually just you on stage. Secondly, there doesn’t seem to be many places that want one-man, or one-woman shows and thirdly if you’re new to town you might feel as if you’re the only person here who likes to sing X, Y or Z.

Meghan Wakeley saw this issue when she moved to Great Falls last year and has taken action to help local vocalists connect with not only a variety of audiences, but also among one other.

Wakeley in January started organizing monthly shows, called Tunes on Tap, to be designed mostly for solo musicians, although there are places in the evening for the occasional bands to play, too.

Tunes on Tap at it’s core is a place where soloists can go to play their new, original music, or work on their pre-approved covers. Each month the event goes to a different location.

Wendy Parrish performs at a recent Tunes on Tap in Great Falls.
Wendy Parrish performs at a recent Tunes on Tap in Great Falls.

This month’s Tunes on Tap is set for April 25 from 6 to 8 p.m., at Bowser Brewing Company.

The featured guest artists are Joel Corda and the No Account. Each month there are featured artists, as well. Some of the past guests have been the UGF Choir, Electric City Cabaret and Great Falls College Vocal Ensemble.

Wakeley said she chose to take Tunes on Tap to different venues as a way to get as many people aware of the event as they can.

“It really needs to be as collaborative as possible and get as many local musicians involved as possible and get as many local bars and restaurants involved as possible, too,” she said. “It’s all about getting more music out to Great Falls and the more we can go about getting people to venues, the better. They help us and we help them.”

Each event has a theme, as well. This month’s theme is “Spring: All Things New.”

Wakeley said they make the themes broad on purpose so people don’t need to feel like they need to change what they do too much to fit into it.

No Account is Dusty Peterson, Joel Corda, Nikki Herzog, Steve Olson and Lindsey Nussbaum. Photo courtesy of Greg Swingley.
No Account is Dusty Peterson, Joel Corda, Nikki Herzog, Steve Olson and Lindsey Nussbaum. The band is the guest artists for April’s Tunes on Tap. Photo courtesy of Greg Swingley.

“Joel Corda and the No Account are our guests this time around doing all original works which sets into the theme of all new works. I told the singers think of anything that’s new in their lives, there could be joy, there could be chaos, but just think about that and it could go from there,” she said. “Then we’re not too picky as to what type of music you can perform. We’ve had pop music, rock music, opera songs, art songs, musical theater stuff, Broadway tunes, some hymns, choral pieces, an a capella barber shop piece so we have people doing a really large variety of genres.”

Wakeley said that people must come to her with what they plan on playing before the night of the show, however, as a way to ensure that there’s not four people all playing the same song, or having someone showing up and performing something that’s profanity laced or having someone singing over a recorded track.

Sarah Raines sings at a recent Tunes on Tap event in Great Falls.
Sarah Raines sings at a recent Tunes on Tap event in Great Falls.

“Its definitely not karaoke night and it’s not open mic,” Wakeley said. “People have to come prepared and if an individual wants to join the group, they have to perform somewhere in the lineup, at least one piece, and the group as a whole has to like what they’re doing. But, so far we haven’t had anyone who’s failed, there just needs to be some thought going into what they’re doing and it has to be somewhat family-friendly.”

“We’re all about finding places to play, its pretty straightforward,”she added.

She also said that while they have their regular crew of returning performers, they have had between 10 to 15 new artists each time out, too, who all have brought something different to the table.

As for the audiences, Wakeley said so far people have enjoyed what they’ve seen and they’ve even gotten several venues interested in having them host the event, as was the case with Bowser along with a few coffee shops in town.

“One of the employees at Bowser came to our show at the Do Bar and she loved it, she’s one of the people that said ‘I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.’” Wakeley said. “So, she gave me her number and said to go check out Bowser and come talk to her about bringing the event there. We’ve had some great support thus far and we hope to keep finding new and different venues, too. A few coffee shops have wanted us to do some afternoon shows, so we’re looking into that, too.”

Wakeley said the only real requirement is that all performers must be over 18 years of age due to fact that they do play in a lot of bars and pubs, but she said they’re exploring the idea of having a night that’s open to teens sometime this summer, also.

Some of the themes coming up include the artist’s choice where it’s whatever the musicians feel like playing, the audience choice in which the artists pick three songs and the audience gets to choose which one they’d like to hear, and a patriotic theme for July’s show in conjunction with Independence Day.

Wakeley is a performer herself and later this summer will be performing at several locations across the state with Sarah Raines, although the details are still being worked out. She also gives private voice lessons which you can find out more information about those here.

Finally, Wakeley said while they can’t afford to pay the people who play at Tunes on Tap, if someone who’s an established act in town wanted to check it out, they’re willing to take donations, which they’ve recently started doing now that they’ve established themselves a bit.

For more information on Tunes on Tap, visit the community Facebook page, and check out the April event’s page also on Facebook.

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