It’s not always easy to face the music when time is short and schedules are packed; however, research has shown that taking time to step away from the work week grind can do wonders for your health.
One way to unwind mid-week is to spend time with family, friends and your community watching and listening to music.
As of Sept. 25, The Stage Depot, a new music forum hosted at the Hopewell Railroad Station, will offer music to the community every fourth Wednesday of the month, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. For the Stage Depot’s first-ever event, local musical talents Grant Peterson and Greg Merkle were featured. This month’s forum will be held Oct. 23.
While the event is free to the public, a $5 donation is suggested to benefit the night’s performing musicians. Light refreshments are also served for patrons looking for some time to get out, relax and enjoy the music.
“We like to have homemade treats there, and to bring fresh flowers,” said Vicki Margulies Margulies, Stage Depot’s organizer.
Margulies is no stranger to the music scene. Prior to this weekly Hopewell event, she helped run a monthly musical gathering called the Blue Pomegranate, which took place outside the Blawenburg Reformed Church in Skillman.
“First I got involved helping with the music, very soon after I was doing all the music,” said Margulies. She took on the responsibility of finding talent to perform and soon had enough talent to book months in advance.
Margulies worked with Blue Pomegranate for four years and helped update the event based on what she felt would work best. She also worked to offer a variety of different music and musicians.
“There are just so many musicians, and I don’t think I had a repeat performance in my four years of [working on Blue Pomegranate],” said Margulies.
Even though the musicians would come and volunteer to play for Blue Pomegranate, Margulies shared that she always found people interested in performing. In fact, with Blue Pomegranate, musicians could be booked a year in advance.
Another Blue Pomegranate event was scheduled to take place in September, but the committee assisting Margulies could no longer help support her in running the event. Instead of letting the event fold, she decided to bring the musical gathering closer to her home in Hopewell and renamed it.
Margulies came up with the idea for Stage Depot, and knew that the Hopewell Railroad Station would be the perfect spot for the event.
“I love this venue…I like the relaxed, low key atmosphere,” Margulies said.
Another aspect of the location Margulies likes is the grounds, and she will see if certain bands will be able to play outside in nicer weather. While Blue Pomegranate ran six shows a year, the goal with Stage Depot is to have 12 shows in a year. Margulies also plans to not book musicians too far in advance, and is looking forward to getting to meet more local musicians.
“There’s certainly a wealth of musicians for me to draw from,” said Margulies.
The next Stage Depot will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 23, and will feature the man and wife duo, Tom Macmillion and Company. Because of where the holidays fall this season in November and December, the event following will take place in January.. If a Stage Depot event falls on a holiday or too close to a holiday, the next gathering will occur the following month.
Having support from those that enjoyed Blue Pomegranate, Margulies already has interested attendees. To get the word out even more, Margulies designed flyers and created the Stage Depot at the Hopewell Train Station Facebook page, and over 250 people have expressed interest in the event.
For those that enjoyed going to Blue Pomegranate, the idea of the Stage Depot was well received. She admitted she was surprised by how fast the positive feedback has come.
“Everyone has really embraced it,” said Margulies.
While Margulies has taken charge when it comes to creating Stage Depot and organizing it, she’s also had support in the form of Ted Klett. According to Margulies, Klett knows a lot of musicians and is there to help should she need it.
With the support from Klett and the overall community, Margulies’ goal is to provide a space for the community to relax and come together. She also looks forward to bringing along her dog, a sheltie named Charlemagne, who used to come to Blue Pomegranate with her as well.
“I think another main reason why I’m doing it is because I don’t like going to bars anymore to listen to music,” said Margulies,“…you’re there for the music. For the camaraderie. I love that people can enjoy, relax and just be themselves.”
The Stage Depot is an opportunity for families in the community to be exposed to different kinds of music and musicians. For individuals with a love for playing music or listening to live music, the Stage Depot is another spot for them to check out.
On a personal level, Margulies holds music close to her heart, and is looking forward to listening to the local musicians with her community.
“I’ve always loved music, It’s very dear to my soul,” said Margulies.”I feel like I really listen to all the intricacies, I love the tight-knit feeling and comradery that musicians have to play in a band, or a really good band. It was really something that saved me as I was growing up.
Margulies, while not a musician herself, has always gravitated towards the art, and had played a little when she was younger. She tried the piano and harmonica, but the drums are what really resonated with her. She even took drum lessons for some time.
“Since I never became a full fledged musician myself, I really do enjoy this aspect of still being connected to the music scene. I love bringing great music to people, and I love giving the musicians a place to play.”