Putting Community Sings on the Map

A Community Sings map? Heck, yeah!This blog all about community singing is just getting started and already the response has been great. I have to admit, I’m not all that surprised. I have been sensing for years that there is this under-the-radar network of singing going on all over. I know, from my own experience with informal community singing, how powerful it can be. So how do you go from somewhere under the radar to somewhere on the radar? You collect data and make a map. So how do you do that? Well you start by partnering up with an organization that has been encouraging people to make their own music since 1950.

When I first brought the idea of this blog to the editor of Sing Out!, Mark Moss, it took about five seconds for him to be on board and for the ideas to start rolling. One of the first of those ideas was to use Sing Out! as a clearing house for information about community sings all over. Let’s say you are traveling for work in Michigan and you have a free Wednesday night. You could head over to www.singout.org and find out if there is a group of like minded folks gathering to sing someplace close. Or let’s say you heard a rumor about a community sing in your area, but don’t have the details. You will be able to find those details quickly. To do this we need to create an on-line directory of where these sings are happening. I have already heard from dozens of folks telling me about ongoing sings in Upstate New York, Chicago, East Lansing, Western Massachusetts … the list goes on. Now we need to make it a real list. Once we collect the data, the Sing Out! staff will create an interactive map of these events that will be easy to access and share with others.


If you run, participate in or know of an ongoing community sing in your area, take a few moments to fill out the form provided HERE (the link to the submission for will also permanently reside in the sidebar to the right, and on the home page for this blog). We will collect that information toward the goal of creating a directory and an interactive map. (We’ve set November 1st as the launch date for the Directory.) It’s as simple as that. Let’s get started!

About Matt Watroba

Many of you will know Matt from his radio work both locally in Detroit, Michigan, and nationally through Folkalley.com and as the founding host of The Sing Out! Radio Magazine. Some may also know him as a performer. He has performed throughout the country, both as a solo, and with his musical partner Robert Jones. But Matt considers himself, first and foremost, a community singer and song leader. He has spread the joy of singing together on concert stages, at festivals, in educational settings and in workshops for more than 25 years. For the past several years, he has taught community singing and performance at the Swanannoa Gathering in North Carolina during its Traditional Song Week. And he is also a regular contributor to Sing Out! magazine.


Putting Community Sings on the Map — 4 Comments

  1. How about non-regular community sings? The Proper Ladies often present “Old-Fashioned Community Sings” at events around the country. Next one is tomorrow, Saturday, September 13 at Cedar Hill Cemetery; Hartford, CT @ 4:00PM. When the site is up and running, a printable postcard with information on the site that we can hand out at our events (and others), would be helpful. We’d be happy to pass the info on.
    The Proper Ladies
    Celebrating 20 years of Victorian Song
    Hear The Proper Ladies at Cedar Hill Cemetery; Hartford, CT on Saturday, September 13 @ 4:00PM

    • The listing can and will be able to include any “non-regular” group/community singing events. As soon as you know the info, submit it via the form. The list and map will be updated *at least* weekly, to drop “already happened” events and add any new ones that arrive.

  2. The Friday night song circle in Toronto, Ontario had its 30th anniversary September 5. Folks have been gathering in someone’s living room every Friday evening from September through to the end of June, and once in a while in July and August too. The focus is on group singing.

    • Regular events that move locations (within a city or region) can easily be submitted by simply including whatever fixed info there might be (like the city and postal code for Toronto) and putting something like “various locations” in the address field. The text part of the listing can accommodate that easily … and if there’s a web site or FB page to share upcoming addresses when they happen, that link with be there for folks to fine tune.