Here comes Feliz Navidogma – Christmas open mic night

From left: Sean Bulger, Bradley Durand and Justin Hogg perform a Neil Young song at a Higher Grounds' Hot Dogma open mic night. Friday night's show will be a Christmas-themed show. - File Photo

By Staff

Morinville – It’ll be a festive Friday night at Higher Grounds Espresso Bar Dec. 9. That’s the night the coffee house’s monthly Hot Dogma open mic night gets in tune with the season for a Christmas-themed evening of community entertainment that can only be called Feliz Navidogma.

Hot Dogma organizer and coffee shop volunteer Crystal Terhorst is looking forward to what festive talents the show will assemble. “We have Hot Dogma once a month where young people, or anyone, can come in and sing or dance or read poetry – whatever they feel to do,” Terrhorst said. “But Feliz Navidogma is especially for Christmas. We’d like the participants, as much as possible, to have something Christmassy in their presentation.”

While local youth, including Donovan Jarvis and Riley Quinn have become staples at the open mic night with their dance and music, respectively, Terhorst and two of her fellow volunteers have been drawing enthusiastic applause as the singing trio the Three Baristas. Recent iterations of the monthly show have seen the harmonious trio singing old time rock and roll; however, they will also be joining the others Friday night by keeping the show in the Christmas spirit.

It’s the mix of entertainment styles and ages that is making the local non-profit coffee shop a Friday night music scene alternative to the traditional bar setting.

“What we’re finding every month is there are more people coming,” Terhorts said. “We’re finding there’s a real mix of talent. There are folksy singers and there’s something that’s a little heavier. Then of course we have some different groupings. The young people have made friends with each other through this and they’re singing together now.”

Terhorst said the monthly event has a real family feel to it. While families have been known to attend both as performers and audience, there is more to it than that. “I like the way that people stay for the whole evening,” she said. “Even if they’ve performed early, they want to stay and support the other performers as well. To me that speaks of a community that honours each other, that respects each other’s talents. There’s a respectful group that’s growing.”

One local musician who has become something of a regular at the monthly show is Paul Smith. The professional musician and local music school owner said he loves the laid back atmosphere of the Friday night gatherings. “It’s like sitting in your living room with your family, but it’s new people to play for,” he said, adding the show gathers all levels of experience together in one show.

Some of the performers are students Smith or his instructors have taught. One such Hot Dogma regular is Riley Quinn, a musician Smith has recently performed with as a peer. “To be able to come here and play music with him as a peer is actually really fun,” Smith said. “It’s a communal experience. You can’t really manufacture this in a professional environment. It has to be friends making music.”

Feliz Navidogma takes place Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at Higher Grounds Espresso Bar, located on 100 Avenue next door to Don’s Bistro.

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