“To curate stimulating performances that strengthen the inclusive community who celebrates the rich culture and diversity of folk music”
“To support superb working artists on DMV local and virtual stages”
We are a predominantly volunteer organization that provides performance opportunities for emerging and nationally touring singer-songwriters, and folk and acoustic musicians. We have provided an intimate setting for a listening audience since 2002, producing more than 500 shows in a variety of locations in DC, Maryland and Virginia to date.
Our vision is that live folk and acoustic music will be performed somewhere in the DC/Baltimore Metropolitan area every day. To achieve this, we work collaboratively with other folk and acoustic music nonprofit presenters, including local festivals.
We seek to present a variety of music not only to attract and serve diverse cultures, but to expose cultures to each other through music. What the folk tradition offers is a window to the world, an insight into the lives, attitudes, spirit and hardships of those who’ve lived it. And, at its best, contemporary folk song can do the same thing, shining a light on the events, the characters and the attitudes that shape our world so that, in time, the best of these songs will be absorbed into the tradition.
Folk music has a way of connecting everyone — performers and audiences, as well as the greater community. Folk music inspires us and lifts us up, crossing all socioeconomic lines and brings people together. At a folk concert, the audience not only listens; it is encouraged to participate in the making of the music by singing along; thus building a sense of community in the audience. People who sing together are likely to start talking to one another during the intermission and after the show. These newly forged connections can cross the boundaries of age and class.
Thus, FocusMusic invites you to join us in pursuit of building greater community among the residents of the greater DC/Baltimore area through the enjoyment of folk music.
Jillian Matundan, President
Judy Oliver, Vice President
Joan Clark, Treasurer
Shelley Caplan, Secretary
Maura Greenman, Board Member
Ross Martin, Board Member
Herb Levy, Board Member
Brent Ruggles, Board Member
Mark Sylvester, Board Member
Annette Wasilik, Board Member
Gabrielle Zwi, Board Member
rob Hinkal, Executive Director
Emily Hall, Past Board Member
Mark Smith, Past Board Member
Frank Allen Philpot, Past Board Member
Jay Keating, Past Board Member
Jerry Bresee, Past President
Scott Moore - Past President
Cindy Broome - Past President
Tom Cardarella - Founding Vice President
Liz Dulaney - Founding Treasurer
Karen Tupek - Past Webmistress
Lester Reingold, Past Newsletter
Sue Reingold, Past Membership
Focus Proudly Sponsors
In 2002, a group of local musicians began to meet to begin to put words to a vision of a club in the DC area that would provide a home to the burgeoning community of writers and performers who worked in acoustic music. The group included a few fans and met at the homes of several musicians. The vision of FocusMusic emerged as an inn where folk music is in. The dream was to control a building that could operate 7 days per week, both providing a home for touring musicians and a reliable venue for local ones. Three members of the group became its organizing board: Steve Key (president), Tom Cardarella (vice president) and Liz Dulaney (treasurer) and FocusMusic obtained a 501 (c)(3) designation under the auspices of the Folk Alliance.
FocusMusic grew from the Phoenix Coffeehouse in Alexandria, Virginia. The Church of the Resurrection provided a home for the monthly gatherings of the Phoenix Coffeehouse. When FocusMusic began its operations in 2003, it offered regular shows at the Church of the Resurrection in Alexandria, VA, Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mount Rainier, MD and Takoma Park Presbyterian Church in Takoma Park, MD.
FocusMusic held its first meeting of its members on November 8, 2003. FocusMusic’s first year of operations essentially broke even with revenue of $10,863 and expenses of $10,864. The principal purpose of the meeting was to replace its board and officers as Steve Key was about to relocate to Seattle, and Tom Cardarella had resigned his board seat. Jerry Bresee indicated that he was willing to become the next president. Nine other individuals volunteered to serve on the board: Cindy Broome, Herb Cooper-Levy, Rachael Cross, Ron Goad, Scott Moore, Kris Ohleth, Joel Pomerantz, Nicki Rouse, and Ruth Alice White. The new board set its first meeting for November 23 to work out the details of the future operations of FocusMusic.
Links & Partnerships
FocusMusic actively supports other music organizations throughout the Washington, DC/Baltimore area and works to bring talented emerging artists to listening audiences throughout the Washington, DC/Baltimore area. Get more involved in your local music community - check out our list of concert calendars, festivals, organizations and concert series.
Baltimore Folk Music Society
Baltimore Songwriters Association
Folklore Society of Greater Washington
Sing Out! magazine
Susquehanna Folk Music Society
WERA FM (Home of Traditions)
Philadelphia Folk Festival – Schwenksville, PA
Red Wing Roots Festival - Mount Solon, VA
Richmond Folk Festival – Richmond, VA
Smithsonian Folklife Festival – Washington, DC
Spring Gulch – New Holland, PA
Takoma Park Folk Festival – Takoma Park, MD
Washington Folk Festival – Glen Echo (Bethesda), MD
The Barns at Wolf Trap - Vienna, VA
Beans in the Belfry - Brunswick, MD
The Birchmere - Alexandria, VA
BlackRock Center for the Arts - Germantown, MD
Bluemont Concert Series - Northern VA
Carroll Cafe - Washington, DC
Common Ground on the Hill - Westminster, MD
Focus - DC Metro Area
Folk Club of Reston-Herndon - Herndon, VA
49 West Coffeehouse - Annapolis, MD
The Gordon Center for the Performing Arts - Owings Mills, MD
Institute of Musical Traditions - Rockville and Takoma Park, MD
Jammin' Java - Vienna, VA
Kennedy Center Millennium Stage - Washington, DC
Music Cafe - Damascus, MD
One World Coffeehouse - Columbia, MD
New Deal Cafe - Greenbelt, MD
North Elk Coffeehouse - Northeast, MD
Perry Hall Folk Music Night - Baltimore, MD
Rams Head On Stage - Annapolis, MD
Robert Harper Books - Riverdale Park, MD
Soundry - Columbia, MD
St. Elmo's Coffee Pub - Alexandria, VA
Strathmore Hall Arts Center - North Bethesda, MD
333 Coffeehouse - Annapolis, MD
Wolf Trap Filene Center - Vienna, VA
World Folk Music Association showcases - Bethesda, MD
So, You'd Like to Play a FocusMusic Show?
FocusMusic books performers of all levels for cameos, openings acts, split bills, and full-length feature performances. Most of the performers are best described as contemporary folk-acoustic singer-songwriters, and our audiences like to hear every word. But they also like a bit of blues, country, comedy, Americana, international and traditional. The most important factor is that you be REALLY GOOD at what you do!
Thank you for your interest in FocusMusic. We look forward to meeting you.