Jamming at the Bayport Library

Jamming at the Bayport Library

dennis bayport Musician Dennis Blachard talks about way he joined the Bayport Jam Group. Audio Story by Alicia Lebens

 

 

Stuck inside during a hard winter can lead a person to pick up a new hobby to pass the time or, in Mary Hanf’s case, bring an old love for music back to life. Without finding a local music group to join, Hanf started a music group at the Bayport Library.

“I used to be a part of a band for a traveling dance group a while ago,” Hanf said. “I played the bass, but after I left the group I didn’t play for a long time.”

After being cooped up in her house during the cold winter months, Hanf wanted to venture back into music again.

“I taught myself how to play the ukulele, and I went online to find a group to just jam with,” Hanf said.

Hanf sought out a music group to join, and drove into St. Paul to play.

“It was 15 degrees below zero, and getting dark at 6:30 p.m.,” Hanf said. “There are lots of musicians out here, and I thought I should just start my own group out here.”

After taking advantage of the free meeting space for groups on the second floor of the Bayport Library, Hanf and her longtime friend, Judy Gulden, started meeting to play music and inviting others to come play too.

Steve Ridley, Dennis Blachard and Mary Hanf play at the Jammin' at the Bayport Library music group. (Gazette staff photo by Alicia Lebens)

Steve Ridley, Dennis Blachard and Mary Hanf play at the Jammin’ at the Bayport Library music group. (Gazette staff photo by Alicia Lebens)

The group is set up in the style of a music circle, with anyone who comes to play bringing a song to share. The group first met officially in Bayport on May 10.

“We are very proud that it is an inter-generational group,” Gulden said. “We play many different types of music.”

Gulden enjoys playing music from the 1930s and 1940s on her auto harp. Thanks to an Internet search, Gulden was able to find sheet music a song a she sang with her grandpa when she was a little girl, and the group can play the song with her.

“My grandpa was a mechanic, and we used to sing ‘My Sweetheart is the Man in the Moon’ when we would drive to different places looking for auto parts,” Gulden said. “I learned the song when I was seven or eight, but I didn’t know the title. I looked the words up online, and there it was.”

Teresa Chandler plays along with a new song at the Jammin' at the Bayport Library music group. (Gazette staff photo by Alicia Lebens)

Teresa Chandler plays along with a new song at the Jammin’ at the Bayport Library music group. (Gazette staff photo by Alicia Lebens)

The group has a wide mix of music abilities, with all levels included.

Dennis Blanchard has been playing music professionally since he was 12 years old, and has played all over the world. “I was one of the first members of the pops component to the Army Field Band,” Blanchard said. “After I got out of the Army, I played in a country band of years, and now I am a music therapist.”

Blanchard has been coming to the first few meetings of the Bayport group just to play music for fun with other people.

Sue Benson plays the flute with the Jammin' at the Bayport Library music group. (Gazette staff photo by Alicia Lebens)

Sue Benson plays the flute with the Jammin’ at the Bayport Library music group. (Gazette staff photo by Alicia Lebens)

“It’s a social thing,” Blanchard said. “You never know who is going to be there.”

The group meets from 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesdays at the Bayport Public Library, 582 Fourth St. N., Bayport. It has also started to meet on some Mondays. The group welcomes newcomers.

Contact Mary Hanf 651-439-8055, or email m3oberg@yahoo.com for the correct meeting times.

Contact Alicia Lebens at alicia.lebens@ecm-inc.com

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