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November 26, 2014
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Connecting through community: The Cooperage

The Coal Town Rounders perform their rousing music at The Cooperage, which hosts live events.


If anyone can be called the “point person,” it’s project coordinator Doni Hoffman. “Doni has assumed the role of being the face of The Cooperage,” said Cremo. “She’s very well organized,” and her duties include coordinating the Farmers’ Market, updating the website, developing programming and overseeing the events.

The events

Recurring events at The Cooperage include concerts by a diverse group of musicians presented by The Coop @ The Cooperage, RiverFolk and by The Cooperage Project. There are open mics for both acoustic and electric music hosted by John Rocklin and Peter Florance, respectively. Beginning in October, The Bodhi Tree Art School and Studio is offering classes at The Cooperage for adults and children. A recent, well attended lecture by Dr. Rudolph Ballentine paves the way for future lecturers, authors and poets to take the stage.

The stage itself has received many compliments from audience and performers alike for its acoustic qualities. “I feel privileged to be presenting acoustical music in such an accommodating space,” said fiddler Coleman Smith of The Bog Swing Group. Stage lighting provided by Graeme McDonnell, a local resident and professional stage designer, sets the mood for the night’s music. Future planned upgrades for the stage area include stage curtains and a larger green room for the performers. WJFF Public Radio (90.5 FM) also plans to install mics on the stage to broadcast performances live from The Cooperage.

Family-friendly activities are also offered, such as monthly contra dances, and Family Game Night where folks are invited to get to know one another by playing board games.

Workshops and partnerships
Space in the 7,000-square-foot building is taken up on the first floor by a performance stage, a large open space and a catering kitchen that is used for meals during the farmers market and at some concerts. Upstairs is another open space used for meetings, and an office that houses the broadcasting home of WJFF’s new satellite studio. On one wall of the open space sits a desk and chair that comprise the headquarters for Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support (SEEDS), a non-profit organization committed to developing renewable energy and sustainable lifestyles.