Out North welcomes new Anchorage Music Co-op

Emma Hill performs at the 2012 Anchorage Music Co-Op. Photo by Marco Carter

Thursday night marked a special occasion in Anchorages music community. The Anchorage Music Co-op premiered its 2012 artist showcase, hosted at the Out North Contemporary Art house. The show consisted of a two hour “round robin” performance by three of Alaska’s own: Melissa Mitchell, Emma Hill (paired with band member Bryan Daste) and Seth Boyer. And for co-founders Laura Oden and Lonny Gransbury, this show was the realization of their longstanding collaborative dream.

“I started thinking about the idea a couple of years ago,” said Gransbury. “I kept seeing really good bands and solo performers but you couldn’t really appreciate them because they were playing in bars.”
Plans for the co-op really got under way this past summer, said Oden.

The co-op defines itself as, “a group of independent musicians seeking to serve and support local artists in their development while creating performance opportunities.”

Along with Gransbury, Oden got to see the pay off of that planning with the presentation of the Anchorage Music Co-ops first official show. There are no plans to slow the pace of growth. By January of 2013 Oden and Gransbury hope to have something akin to a “best of 2012” CD for sale, full of musical artists work that has been live-recorded at the monthly sessions.
“I would love to eventually have a store front with a recording studio and café where people could just drop in,” said Gransbury. “Have warehouse space in the back. But that’s years from now.”

At least for now, the co-op officially functions from the Out North contemporary art house and will be featuring a fresh line-up of talent every fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.

Photo by Marco Carter

“We are just really excited about the prospects of this space, because there hasn’t really been anywhere appropriate for this venue in town,” Gransbury said.
After becoming a member of the co-op, musicians have the ability to perform in these live shows at Out North.

“This gives them extraordinary exposure as an artist and is an atmosphere where their work will truly be heard,” said Oden. “They don’t have to compete with bar chatter.”

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Along with exposure to the art community at large, artists who perform at the shows have their work professionally recorded live, they are given a space to sell their merchandise during the show and their music will be featured on KONR 106.1, the radio station that has recently begun airing from one of Out North’s collaborative groups.

“The co-op is already booked through August,” said Oden.

Out North has been up and running for roughly 28 years, but has not featured music as a primary art form, until now.

“We are looking for a college contingent [fan base]; this is the perfect off campus venue.” Said Gransbury. “It is close to the college, the shows are for all ages and it is affordable.”

The co-op’s next show is scheduled for Feb 23 at 7 p.m.; confirmed to perform at this show is local comedian Kass Smiley.

For more information visit www.anchoragemusic.org.