First ‘Flashband’ for Youth to Pop Up in Silver Spring

Connecting musicians is the goal of one of the newest “flash” concepts to reach Montgomery County.Flashband

Flashmobs where large groups of people gather to surprise the public and dance in a busy area has become a trend over the past few years. But now, one local organization has brought musicians into the mix and for the first time since they started “Flashband,” they’re bringing the movement to Silver Spring and involving local youth in the mix.

Local musician Neal Humphrey came up with the idea when his band broke up about two years ago. He wanted to meet other area musicians and figured that there probably others looking for opportunities to play as well.

So he started “Flashband in April 2012, and the organization has had about a dozen performances in the Washington, D.C. area. The idea is to invite musicians to a mega jam session and get them to join temporary bands. After a month or so of practice, the group will get together for a big concert to show off what they came up with.

It starts with a “meet and greet” where 35-45 musicians choose their own bands from other participating musicians.

“The meet-and-greet jam is a way for people to get to know the other musicians and have a chance to play with them so they can find musicians that match their interests,” said Humphrey.

The Silver Spring meet up event will be on April 24 at the Urban Nation Academy for the Performing Arts.

“At the meet-and-greet jam, musicians break off into four or five concurrent jam sessions and musicians rotate every 30 to 40 minutes so they get a chance to play with all the other musicians,” said Humphrey. “Bands form during the jam as well as in the next one to two days via email.”

The temporary bands each perform a fifteen minute set at a show about a month after the initial meet up. 

Silver Spring’s first “Flashband” is set for May 16 at the outside amphitheater in Veterans Plaza.

“I envision Flashband becoming the network for musicians,” Humphrey said. “The more musicians can meet each other and build connections, the more they can find the musicians they work best with and the more they will be inspired to play music more often. When you improve the quality of relationships between musicians the quality of music that we all get to enjoy improves.”

Each show has a theme, which provides some direction to the musicians as to the style of music. Each band has to write at least one original song together as a band after forming. The other two or three songs can be originals or covers as desired.

“So far we have held shows in local bars and music venues, with most musicians being in their 20’s to 30’s with some in their 40’s and 50’s,” Humphrey said. “For this upcoming Silver Spring showcase, we’re partnering with the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. to put on a youth-focused Flashband showcase.”

For the Silver Spring youth event, Humphrey said they’re looking for both youth musicians, high school or college age, as well as a few experienced musician mentors.

Find more information about “Flashband” and how to get involved through their website here.

Valerie Bonk

About Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media (MCM).


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