Chippewa Chapel 1st Anniversary | 02.22.07


"We want it to be bigger than just a room that these people are playing in."








Off Broadway, St. Louis
Thurs., 02.22, 9 p.m.
Admission is free; bring your instrument

The Chippewa Chapel Traveling Guitar Circle, Medicine Show, and Open Mic Night has healed the masses every Thursday night at venues all over the city. We caught up with host and performer Jesse Irwin to talk about the future of Chippewa Chapel, and what's in store for their First Anniversary Show, Thurs., Feb. 22 at Off Broadway.chip1

All four Chippewa Chapel hosts (Jesse Irwin, Catherine Kustelski, Justin Brown, and Brian Andrew Marek) will be in attendance, and the Chapel has extended invitations to all previous hosts throughout the years. "I'm hoping Jonathan Baer shows up, Tommy Halloran, Josh Wiese, and Bob Reuter. That would be cool," Jesse says. "We are putting out the word that it's something special, we really hope that it draws a lot of the old regular crowd and we can sort of have a reunion."

Jesse's enthusiasm is more than contagious; "[Chippewa Chapel] grows performers. It has the effect of creating and training musicians for St. Louis. It's like a farm system, really. I mean, you get to come out; if you're still unsteady and you don't have your legs on you yet as a musician, you get to learn how it works. You get to go out and try it in front of people, get immediate feedback from the people that are in there, and most importantly other musicians."

Where do they go from here?

"The current plan is to host it at Off Broadway semi-permanently. The thing about us is we maintain all our contacts at all these other bars. Every once and a while, if we want to take it traveling, or when Off Broadway needs that night for a concert, we'll book Chippewa Chapel somewhere else. We can really be creative about where we are going to show up, you know some really strange places, and take the Chapel to some uncharted territory."

"We're [also] talking with KDHX about some way of broadcasting Chippewa Chapel performances. We're in discussions with the station right now. We want to do something to help build up St. Louis as a music city. We're really invested in trying to make good music happen here and make musicians stay here. We want to give people the incentive to go to our open mic over others because there will be a chance, if we determine that something is really good, that whatever they do is going to get broadcast in front of a bunch of people. We want it to be bigger than just a room that these people are playing in."

The First Anniversary Show for Chippewa Chapel Traveling Guitar Circle, Medicine Show, and Open Mic Night starts at 9 p.m. Thursday at Off Broadway. If you're planning on stepping up to the mic yourself, or just looking to hear something new, Chippewa Chapel is just what the doctor ordered. Although my vocals can only be heard in my car with music blasting so loud I can't hear myself, it's good to know if I want to upgrade my venue, there's a place for me to do it. Lucky for you, I stick to my car. | Courtney Watson

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