Vernon singer-songwriter Betty Johnson performs with her trio

Vernon singer-songwriter Betty Johnson performs with her trio

Coldstream Coffee House keeps live music percolating

The Coldstream Live Music Society is needing new board members to run its popular monthly coffee house in Vernon.

If it takes a village to raise a child, then it should only take a few music lovers to run a coffee house.

That’s the hope of the organizers of the Coldstream Coffee House, which has been entertaining locals and visitors for the past 15 years.

After serving for five years, many current board members of the Coldstream Live Music Society, which operates the monthly coffee house at Vernon’s Powerhouse Theatre, are looking to retire and new board members are needed to lead the live performance event into the future.

“We always have lots of volunteers on the evening of the events, and we really appreciate all their help, but we are looking for people with a passion for live music and promoting local artists who would like to serve on the Coldstream Live Music Society board in one role or another,” said current board member Kerry Parks.

A registered society, Coldstream Live Music’s mission is to provide a venue where local musicians and performing artists can present quality material for appreciative audiences as a not-for-profit venture.

“It has been rewarding to help put on the shows and to see the performers and the audience connect in the music, words and imagery. We have seen some young people grow from stage fright and jitters to confident and accomplished musicians.  That’s been great to see and be a part of,” said Parks.

The society has also been able to give back to the community.

“We donate profits each year to local music education and music therapy programs,” said Parks.

The society has been operating with seven board members, who meet two-to-three times a year, and communicate by e-mail as needed.

New members are needed for the president, secretary and treasurer positions, as well as directors who help book the venue, do set-up and cleanup, as well as selecting and booking feature artists.

The new board will have the benefit of a transition period with previous board members, said Parks.

“We have been truly grateful for the many casual volunteers that bring great energy to help out with tasks on the day of the show and anticipate that this great relationship will continue under a new board,” he said.

The Coldstream Coffee House opens its 2016-17 season Saturday with a performance by Vernon singer/songwriter Betty Johnson.

Johnson has released a new album, which she calls a unique program of original music and prose poetry dedicated to the expressions of seasonal life moments.

“Yes, seasons are like music. They are the vibrations of life,” she said, adding the album is a celebration of special friendships she has made through music and words.

Known for her expressive voice and accomplished guitar playing, Johnson’s performances are emphasized through acoustic jazz, blues and her own songwriting originals.

Audiences also love her ambient exploration and re-styling of beloved familiar tunes.

Johnson regularly performs throughout B.C., and over the years, has shared the stage with the likes of Juno-nominee Maria Dunn, award-winning Mae Moore, blues guitar legend Ken Hamm, Canadian roots artist David Essig and rock band Chilliwack.

A former participant of the George Ryga songwriting intensive weekend with Bill Henderson and Roy Forbes, Johnson has more recently spent her summers honing her craft at Sorrento’s B.C. Swing Camp, a jazz camp for adults.

Accompanying Johnson at the Coldstream Coffee House will be guitarist Neil Fraser, who can move from genre to genre with both ease and tremendous delicacy and intensity, and bassist Bill Lockie, who has also graced the stages of the Vernon Jazz Club with the Dharma Dolls and Jazz Handles.

The Coldstream Coffee House starts with an open mic, showcasing a variety of local talent, Saturday, Oct. 15  at 7 p.m. at the Powerhouse Theatre. Musicians can sign up at the door for the open mic starting at 6:30 p.m. The feature act takes the stage at 9 p.m. Admission is $5, and there is a concession by donation.

Those interested in being a part of the Coldstream Live Music Society board can contact Parks at 250-545-6408 or email


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