ABOUT - scroll down for updates on our status
"Art is about breaking new ground, where the artist strives to change the way audiences see music, visual art and literature." - Stephen Merriman
"... in an absolute sense, jazz is more a certain process - a spontaneity - than a style." - Bill Evans
MERRIMANS' PLAYHOUSE MISSION: To promote the art and education of jazz in our community.
Merrimans' Playhouse is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) venue, established as an arts and educational organization. Merrimans' Playhouse was founded by Stephen Merriman and Mary Merriman, who began their Jazz Performance Series in December of 2006. What we are creating with our Jazz Performance Series is an opportunity to experience the creative process, live. The venue is conducive to nurturing the art of improvisation, where the artist has the freedom to really dig into their art and present their work to an appreciative audience, in a room which you can hear the dynamics of the music. It IS a Listening Room, a Sonic Art Gallery. We are not a typical jazz club, we are more like the "ungig", an "art space", rather than an "entertainment space". The audience comes to deeply listen, and this positive energy feeds the energy of the artists. Each performance has been a special evening for all people in the room.
Merrimans’ Playhouse brings national and international professional touring jazz artists to South Bend. Another goal is to bridge the gap between cultures and celebrate our universal language of music. We also support local jazz musicians and students of the community with our Jazz Open Sessions on Tuesday evenings, and through our "Home Grown" Jazz Performance Series, featuring concerts of area jazz groups. As part of our Home Grown Jazz Performance Series, we want to represent the rich culture of artists who live in our community. We also present a Student Jazz Performance Series, for regional or touring college and high school students, highlighting groups either affiliated with their school, or have independent projects and recordings, so they have the opportunity to perform their art in an intimate space with an attentive audience. Merrimans' Playhouse plans to have more educational opportunities in the future through more clinics and masterclass from the touring artists.
We also host a live radio program, on WETF 105.7 FM, our local 24 hr. jazz radio station, "This Is The Gig", every Tuesday and Thursday 5:00 - 6:00 pm. Featuring the music and live interviews with touring national and international jazz artists performing at Merrimans' Playhouse, as well as interviews with artists of the community, and discussion of the art of jazz and jazz in our community. You can now LIVE STREAM WETF 105.7 FM. It has added new programming, several of which are out of Boston and Chicago. Check it out! SCHEDULED GUESTS: We may change or add a guest at the last minute, so tune in to see if we have a surprise guest.
The Merrimans have been partnering with Notre Dame's Snite Museum of Art since 2015, and curates their Summer Jazz Performance series, Merrimans' Playhouse at the Snite. The concerts are once a month, third Thursdays, May through August, from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the museum, in the outside courtyard (weather permitting). If you haven't checked out the museum, this will be a great opportunity to do so! This has been a great partnership bridging Notre Dame and the community, and the Merrimans feel very honored that ND reached out to them. Check it out at the Snite's website.
We have a beautiful sounding and feeling nine foot concert grand on our stage. It is a Young Chang with a Renner action. The venue is available as a Recital Hall Venue for teachers and students, as well as for recording sessions.
Board Members: Stephen Merriman, Mary Merriman, Rob Easley, Philip Schatz, Patricia Doyle, Milt Lee, and Karl Smith.
Your support will aid us in furthering our mission. Your donations may be tax deductible, as current IRS laws apply.
Please Donate using Our PayPal account here (you can use your credit card; you do not need a PayPal account).
You may also write a check and send to:
Merrimans' Playhouse, Inc.
518 Marquette Ave.
South Bend, IN 46617
Merrimuse NewsLetter - APRIL - The End of an Era
But Not the End of Merrimans' Playhouse !
Well, HERE WE ARE! All self-isolating, giving us plenty of time to reflect on many things! This pandemic is a crazy thing to be experiencing, and we will all get through it together, but it definitely has affected EVERYONE, and will have a lasting affect on us all. We miss you all and miss playing music, and miss presenting music. We'll highlight our updates in this letter, but there is more information if you scroll all the way down.
Of course we are all waiting to find out how this month will unfold, and how these series of events will unfold in the comings months. We know there is more to come this month, so we are trying to reduce the spread of the virus by taking all the precautions. And of course, as things started to unfold last month, we started worrying about the economic affects this was going to have, and now here we are, IN IT! During our down time we are going to remain productive and make some significant evolutions.
SO... here are some big changes we are making during this down time. We are leaving the buildings on Mishawaka Ave, where both the Piano Store, and Merrimans' Playhouse reside. However, don't worry, we are NOT shut down, and not quitting! But we do have to consolidate to save money, since both of our businesses are affected by this isolation and economy crash: Merrimans' Playhouse is completely down, and Merrimans' Piano has suffered a huge hit, which is our main income source, so we are forced to conserve as much as we can. We will continue and plan to actually be in a better place in the future! We are keeping our Piano Shop active at the Vested Interest building on Sample Street, so will continue to work on pianos out of there. We have to move out by the end of April, so we have a LOT of work to do, and a LOT of stuff to figure out where to store, and move! We'll probably need some help, but the social distancing guidelines need to be adhered to, so that complicates the process.
Yes this is an end of an era, and it's bittersweet to leave that space, but we've been thinking about it for a long time, and now see this as an opportunity to relocate to a downtown location. When a door closes, a window opens, so we will use this time for our transition. It's always been our dream to be downtown South Bend, in the heart of our city. We want to be in a more central location while we are part of this artistic growth in our city. We are not seeing this as an ending, but rather a new beginning, as we will emerge from this isolation with a new vibrancy. We will stay who we are and what we do, but in a space that will allow more people, and be more integrated with our downtown ... and hopefully more than one bathroom!
We have many ideas and plans to keep evolving, and the relocation will allow us to do that. We will certainly miss our "old" venue space, the sound and intimacy was perfect, but we can recreate our intimate concert setting in another location. The old space was not perfect in other ways, so now we will have the opportunity to improve our product and create an even more special place for our special events! We are actually excited, although this is a very stressful, bittersweet, and trying time.
Yes, our social gatherings may be changed for a long time, and we will be following social distancing for months most likely. We are not sure how that will affect our concert series as of yet... but we know we all crave to be together to share in these wonderful experiences, so will find a way to be together again, even if it's different.
We will continue to need your support going forward. Now maybe even more than ever, as we prepare to move into a new home for Merrimans' Playhouse. We still have ongoing operating costs to pay, even though we are vacating one space, we need funds to continue paying our business insurance, music licenses, etc., plus start up rent and preparation supplies (paint, carpet, curtain cleaning service, etc., etc.) for the new location. Any contribution will help us continue to pay the bills. You could consider donating the amount you would have spent on tickets for that concert or open session you are missing. If you have any ideas of storage please contact us.
If we are allowed to gather sooner, rather than later, and we still don't have the new space ready, we plan to continue with our scheduled concerts at other locations downtown, like a pop-up "Merrimans' Playhouse at Your House". Since the near future plan for all concerts and events is uncertain at this time, we will just continue to monitor the situation, and improvise, that is how we do things, so we'll make things work, one way or another.
We will re-evaluate the situation in May to update our events. We will continue to monitor health guidelines and will keep you updated as things evolve. We plan to reschedule cancelled concerts in the future. We will keep you up to date with all the late breaking news!
The Playhouse phone number is 574-310-9977. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll keep the website up to date as well, as things progress.
Also, please spread the word, if anyone wants a piano, we are giving them away! See details below! We have suspended our home tunings and house calls for now, until we have the all-clear with the state guidelines to relax the isolation period. However, we are still completing projects in the shop and still delivering pianos from the shop. Stephen is following CDC guidelines. We are still making appointments for people to pick out pianos to adopt, so continue to call 574-329-3430 for all piano inquiries, or email at email@example.com.
We have suspended our radio program for now, but will start again once things calm down, and we are past this isolation period.
As always, any donations are appreciated, and will go toward our operational costs. Looking forward to opening again, and seeing our old friend and making new ones! We'll keep you updated as we know more. We'll all get through this, stay safe and healthy, and see you soon!
JAZZ OPEN SESSION
Hosted by Stephen and Mary Merriman. Based on Jazz Standards.
LOCAL JAZZ MUSICIANS
Featured at our Open Sessions and "Home Grown"Jazz Performance Series. (J.J. Wright and Don Lerman at the Open Session)
Our Jazz Performance Series features touring jazz musicians. The series includes our "Student" and "Home Grown" Jazz Performance Series. (Francois Moutin and Kavita Shaw Duo - 2018)
INTERNATIONAL JAZZ ARTISTS
(Sylvaine Helary - Spring Roll - 2016)
NATIONAL TOURING ARTISTS
(Javier Red - Imagery Converter - 2018)