Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Songwriters Stage at Credo is a chance to hear local musicians originals.

On the first Monday of every month, Downtown CREDO (706 W Smith Street Orlando, FL) becomes a venue to hear local musicians as they share original music. If you are tired of bands performing covers this is a chance to find something new. I arrives a bit early and ordered a coffee. I was surprised to find that there is no set cost, instead you pay what you can. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, so I don't know what a chain like Starbucks must charge. I decided $5 was a good price for my cup of Joe.

 Downtown CREDO is a 501c(3) non-profit with a mission to improve the quality of lives in our nations cities by cultivating networks of meaning, impact and community.I saw Credo's director, Ben Hoyer speak at a TED Talk in Winter Garden. His message of serving the community was inspiring. His CREDO…
"Life is worth living. I refuse to merely exist. I pursue a life of meaning and purpose, fulfillment and joy. The world is not yet as it ought to be. Neither is my city. Neither am I. Yet, I reject apathy and despair. I engage the world, my city, and myself to make an impact for good. I am not alone. I press through narcissism, isolation and self-sufficiency striving to live in authentic community."
 This isn't your typical open mic. Performers each have ten minutes to make the credo stage their own. Each act performs two original songs, and a panel of judges chooses three finalists. These three are invited back to the stage at the end of the night to perform one more song and the judges select one winner (cash prize and free recording time with Emissary Studios included!). Performers are judged in five different areas: songwriting, vocal performance, playing ability, stage presence, and audience response.Songwriters in Central Florida to come together and create a community of artists. There’s a lot of talent in this city and we want to help showcase it! All levels are welcome.

Musicians slowly gathered with guitars in hand. It was a night of calming acoustic music. The music was hit or miss, but writing a good song is hard work. The most inspiring musician that night for me was Lloyd Williams. He is a musician from the band "The Cold Start."  His music got under my skin, full of emotion and meaning. If ever I see a concert featuring "The Cold Start", I am there. At the break, my coffee was done and so was my sketch. The music would continue much later into the night, but I decided to pack up my art kit and get back home to Terry. I have no doubt that I'll be hearing more music from Lloyd Williams. As I left, I read CREDO's rally cry, "Refuse to merely exist!" It is a great message for any artist or citizen to follow.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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