Bringing Community Together through Music: A Q&A with the Founder of “Claremont Music Scene”
When I found out there was someone running Claremont Music Scene, my curiosity was piqued through the roof. So many questions were going through my mind: What is it? Who’s involved? How can I learn more? Where have I been?! I was particularly intrigued because first, Claremont is my favorite city in the whole world. Almost to the level of how Leslie Knope feels about Pawnee (notice I said ‘almost’). Second, music is my ultimate passion in life. I grew up listening to oldies but goodies (on my mom’s side) and 70’s classic rock (on my dad’s side). Then, on my own I discovered a deep and soulful connection with 80’s new wave and 60’s reggae. So naturally, I was incredibly curious to learn more about the Claremont Music Scene and its influence in connecting people together within the Claremont community.
Fast forward to when I met with Brian Luft, Claremont resident of 10 years and Founder of Claremont Music Scene, which is his passion project. We connected over our shared love for music. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Connecting with others over a shared interest for something; and for us it’s music. I was curious about the project, so I had a number of questions. What I found was very interesting and I want to share it with all of you.
Q: What is the Claremont Music Scene?
A: “Claremont Music Scene was created with the purpose of elevating the music and arts community in and around Claremont, CA. Whether you're a performer, educator, venue, or a fan, Claremont Music Scene brings together a network of like minded people through tools and channels to create and manage an organic community. But it’s more than just a destination website. It’s a movement that embodies a community where people can connect with each other and find music activities around the area. A musician I met at my Village Venture booth described it best, ‘Claremont Music Scene is not really a place but a state of mind’. Since then, that has always stuck with me.”
Local musician Alex Sanders performs at Claremont Music Scene’s Village Venture booth.
Q: What inspired you to create the Claremont Music Scene?
A: “I began my musical journey later in life and found myself wanting to connect with other musicians. That also meant learning more about music activities going on around town. I would see flyers posted at Rhino Records and on windows of various places and I was vaguely aware of music happenings around town but there was no comprehensive directory or calendar. I have always been a fan and supportive of music on a personal level and also have the technical skills to build websites, so it was only natural for me to build a platform that brings a music community together.”
Instagram post of Brian Luft (foreground) hosting a local MeetUp group.
Q: What need in the community does Claremont Music Scene fill?
A: “The need in the community I see is for there to be a better way for event goers to find and connect with the venues and the artists they want to see. Claremont already has more music events than most people realize like Friday Noon Concert Series, Sunday Afternoon Jazz, and Drum Circle MeetUp but it’s difficult for people to find. The Claremont Colleges bring a distinct multicultural buzz of creative activities and people in Claremont overall appreciate the arts, so we know the demand exists. The Claremont Music Scene website provides a central place to connect, share, and discover up-to-date events around town. As Claremont develops further, like the Village South expansion, there will be new opportunities for more musical experiences.
I saw an opportunity to build a community or social network that supports one another. This network allows easy access to music information (e.g., venue details, directories, city codes), networking tools (e.g., local classifieds, group, forum), and creating and supporting volunteer groups. More importantly, the idea of building a community around music allows others to carry forward their own ideas knowing their efforts will be supported and recognized - just as I have done with Claremont Music Scene.”
Top left: 80's covers band Neon Nation performing at the Monday Night Concert.
Top right: Pride of Cucamonga plays at Shelton Park as part of Friday Nights Live.
Bottom left: Technopagan performs at Claremont City Hall Plaza for Friday Nights Live.
Bottom right: Chet Jaeger Christmas Brass at Festive Sounds Saturdays.
Q: How does this service bring people together?
A: Claremont Music Scene has done events in the past where we had meet and greets at restaurants to talk about music in a casual way. I’ve seen contacts and relationships formed out of these meetings as people engage in interesting and inspiring conversation. I have a MeetUp group with over 500 members where musicians can connect with potential band mates, students can find a music tutor, or venues can find musicians.
Anamaria De La Cruz and Mark Dzula perform at Friday Nights Live.
Q: How is Claremont Music Scene adapting to the current time of crisis?
A: “This is something that I have been thinking about and it’s been a time to reflect and plan how ‘The Scene’ can better serve the music community. I would like to do something like a socially distanced drum circle or create a music montage of what others are creating and recording at home. Just recently a friend and I met at Memorial Park and did some karaoke out in the open. We played YouTube karaoke videos through a speaker and just went for it. It was a blast and now we're going to try to do it weekly!
Right now, this is a time where music can be the antidote to the tension that is in the world right now – no matter what your beliefs are, what your thing is, or your political stripe, you can sway together to the same song.”
Q: Any inspiring stories?
A: “There was a time where I opened up my house to 15 musicians that I met with my Village Venture booth and we had a potluck and live jam session. People split off into different areas and groups where they were able to introduce themselves to one another. It was wild and awkward, but still good vibes all around so it worked out well!”
So, for all you music lovers out there, come and join the movement! Follow Claremont Music Scene on Instagram and Facebook for the latest news. Get to know Claremont Music Scene a little better by visiting claremontmusicscene.com where you can learn about local events, request to plan a music event, connect with performers, and join the MeetUp group.
Feel free to contact Brian Luft at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect. The only prerequisite is to have a love and appreciation for music and harmony.
“Sing your life. Walk right up to the microphone and name all the things you love.” – Morrissey