By MATT CRANE
Fourth Fridays, Starkville Community Theatre’s writing group, holds its first singer-songwriter forum tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Playhouse on Main.
Committee member Thomas La Foe said the idea for the new format has been in the works for quite some time. La Foe said the idea behind Fourth Fridays is to provide an open forum for writers to present and discuss works in progress and receive constructive feedback from a group of peers.
“We’ve been together six years, and this is first time we’re exploring this genre,” he said. “We’ve mainly dealt with fiction, poetry and plays because they’re easier to discuss in a short amount of time.”
Committee chairman Amanda Clay Powers said the format of Fourth Fridays has evolved over the years, but figuring out how to include singer-songwriters was not easy; however, during the March meeting of Fourth Fridays which featured an open format, local musician John Brocato brought his guitar to share songs he had written.
“I read the lyrics aloud before John played the song,” Powers said. “It was amazing how different the lyrics translated once he played the actual song.”
Brocato said the songs he has written have been primarily performed live in bars and clubs where patrons are not necessarily paying attention to the craft of songwriting.
“Having fellow writers read, listen and critique my song structures and lyrics is unbelievably helpful,” Brocato said. “People will naturally interpret your writing in ways you never imagined, and that experience alone is very enlightening.”
Powers said what started off as an experiment then began to take shape.
“We advertised and there turned out to be interest,” she said. “We were looking for songs in their early stages so that group input might help develop them.”
Tonight’s forum will feature five musicians: Joe Whaley, Josh Watts, Toby Gray, James McCormick and Jerry Carnathan.
Powers said the structure of tonight’s event will consist of lyrics being read aloud, followed by each musician performing his own material.
“If we develop a community around this, we’d like to see people swap songs in advance to allow other artists to perform a writer’s song,” she said. “Songwriting is an art form, so why would we leave them out?”
Aside from Powers and La Foe, the Fourth Fridays committee includes Kris Lee, Damen Peterson and Abigail Voller.
Fourth Fridays’ singer-songwriter event begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Starkville Community Theatre downtown. Food and drinks will be provided following the event.
To submit works for future Fourth Fridays, email the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org .