Capitol Lakes is easy to find. I attended several events this last year and parked in their parking structure directly across the street. I’m not sure if this can be counted on, but there wasn’t an attendant so parking was free. The Grand Hall is located just inside the doors on Main Street.
Capitol Lakes includes independent living, assisted living, and a full nursing home. The Grand Hall is in the independent living part of the building – it does not look or smell medical. The room is large with high ceilings, wood floors, and wainscoted paneled walls creating pleasing acoustics. You will think you are in a well appointed hotel hall, except that much of the audience is elderly. In exchange for free use of the room MMC has agreed to reserve a certain portion of the seats for Capitol Lakes residents. The rest of us have to pay, although if you are a MMC member ($20 to join) you’ll get a few dollars off the admission rate.
The MMC likes this venue because of its concert setting. There are no blenders, loud conversations, or other distractions. Wine and cheese are available by donation, but the focus is on maintaining a respectful setting rather than selling alcohol.The audience actually listens…..unless the music gets too adventuresome.
The MMC says in it’s mission statement that it aims to present improvised music music without compromising artistic integrity or creativity. If you are expecting the music to match the sedateness of it’s surroundings you might be surprised. The musicians have been top caliber (Dave Stoler, Paul Hastil, Jane Reynolds, et al), and much of the music is readily accessible to the serious listener, but expect some curve balls too. I didn’t attend the concert by Joanne Pow!ers (of State Street busking fame), but I can bet her performance roused a few sleepy souls.
There are few jazz venues left, and fewer yet with good acoustics, attentive audiences, and the freedom to perform without commercial considerations. Capitol Lakes is the only area venue like this. Kudos to their management and residents for being open to this, and to the MMC for making it happen.
This Thursday at 7:30 the MMC presents, “The Active Percussion Duo,” featuring Geoff Brady & Michael Brenneis. For more information go to the MMC website: http://www.mmcmusic.org/