Song Swap coming to Volunteer Park next week

Penny and John Kerr.

Penny and John Kerr.

Do you have a song somewhere inside of you? Why not share it with the world… or at least a few fellow-music lovers on Shelter Island? 

That’s the idea behind Song Swap, a weekly communal musical get together which will take place Thursday evenings in July at the Volunteer Park Gazebo in Shelter Island Heights. 

The series kicks off July 7 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. when musicians and singers of all ages and abilities are invited to bring their instruments and gather at the gazebo to share a few favorite songs.

It will be a “round robin” kind of experience, explained Penny Kerr who organized the series. Ms. Kerr, a local guitar and mandolin player, will introduce the evening by starting off with a song of her choosing. 

“Everyone who knows it can sing along,” she explained. “Then the next person can choose to sing a solo song or make it a group effort. I’m hoping it’s a congenial atmosphere.”

Ms. Kerr plays everything from blues, jazz and folk to rock and show tunes and she says all genres are fair game at the Song Swap. It’s not even necessary to make music in order to attend — non-musicians are welcome to come enjoy the tunes as well.

“There are a lot of people around here who play. I felt this was a good way to use the park,” Ms. Kerr said. “It’s a nice place to spend the evening. People can bring a picnic and just listen if they don’t want to sing or play.”

Ms. Kerr explains that Song Swap Thursdays are a natural outgrowth of what she and her husband, John, do on a regular basis around their home — that is get together and make music with friends. Last year, the Kerrs worked with the town to organize weekly August concerts at the park featuring local musicians. This year, the August concerts are back, and Ms. Kerr thought it was a good idea to expand on the idea by adding in the July Song Swap series.

“[Town Supervisor] Jim Doughtery was very receptive to the whole idea,” said Ms. Kerr. “We hope people who play but need encouragement come out. It’s a nice way to hook up with other musicians.”

The weekly Song Swap is every Thursday in  July from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Volunteer Park Gazebo, Bridge Street, Shelter Island Heights. 

The Thursday evening Concert Series at the park begins on August 4 at 6:30 p.m. with “Jim Preston & Friends.” On August 10, “Penny ‘n John Kerr” take the stage, followed on August 18 by “Heather” with Pete on guitar, and finally, on August 24, “Tom and Lisa” and friends.

The Song Swaps and concerts are free. Bring a chair and a picnic.