By Darla Shelden
Supporters of the popular “Second Fret,” an Oklahoma City music and art venue of the 80s, are hosting an all day musical event where local musicians will come together to share their talents with the public and each other. “The Second Fret Reunion,” the first of its kind, will be held on Sunday, Oct. 14 from noon – 10 p.m., at the Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery (IAO), 706 W. Sheridan in downtown Oklahoma City. Tickets are $10 at the door.
From 1984 through 1987 the Second Fret was a folk music venue/bar that featured many favorite local musicians as well as regional and national acts. The Second Fret hosted touring musicians such as John Hartford, Rory Block, Kate Wolf, Ramblin‘ Jack Elliot, John Hammond, and Claudia Schmidt.
Monica and Mark Falk were the owners of the Second Fret located at 30th and N. Classen. Now living in San Diego, Monica will be at the Reunion on Oct. 14. She said, “Just as the Second Fret of 25 years ago celebrated and recognized the artists who expressed themselves through their art, we now get together to get reacquainted and see how each of us has lived and embraced life through art… okay, admittedly with a few more wrinkles and gray hair.”
“The Fret was, from the get-go, not just a music club but a community institution,” said Mary Reynolds, Oklahoma City musical artist and member of ‘Miss Brown To You.’ “Monica & Mark made it known that even though they paid the rent and set the schedule, the Fret belonged to all of us.”
The Songwriters Showcase will be held from 2 – 4 p.m. and the Open Mic event will be from 6 – 10 p.m. Sign up starts at noon for both events and early sign in is encouraged. A prize will be awarded for the best song.
“It wasn’t surprising to stop by the Fret on any day of the week and find yourself watching young classical guitarist Edgar Cruz or singer-songwriter Mary Reynolds, a Bill Faulk play performed by Bob Moore, vintage 60s and original music with the Groove Things, or a show of female impersonators,” said Tim Blake, singer, songwriter and photographer from Oklahoma City. “The Fret was a very welcoming and inclusive space.”
Reynolds added, “I know that the openness, generosity, and the great moments that came forth from that open spirit, grandmothered the wonderful years we had later at Galileo’s, and the community that we developed in those days helped make a place for the Blue Door to get started.”
Known for its talent and welcoming atmosphere, the Second Fret also provided an intimate environment for lively acoustics. Showcasing a diverse musical line-up, the Fret featured a variety of music styles including bluegrass, classical, poetry, rock and roll, celtic music, the popular Wednesday night Pay-or-Play, and an open mic opportunity for local musicians.
“The Second Fret was the ultimate music listening room,” said Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Peggy Johnson. “Every gig was a concert. A slice out of time, to share the latest songs to a willing audience. I made life-long friendships in those three years. I am not sure my musical career would have ever gotten off the ground without the Fret. I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Monica and Mark for creating such a musical space in Oklahoma City. I can hardly wait to see old friends and hear what 25 years has done to their music. I have a few songs to share myself.”
The name “The Second Fret” was taken from a famous bar in Philadelphia that gave Joni Mitchell her start.
“It was a great blessing to me, to my work in music, to play many times at the Fret, to listen to colleagues and big stars,” said Reynolds. “I have many friends today that I met within those comforting walls. Monica has proposed a wonderful program, including a songswap and the Famous Open Mic.”
A limited supply of Reunion t-shirts will be available through the Second Fret facebook site. The t-shirts can be picked up and paid for at the event.
“It promises to be a fun time for all. Instruments are welcome. Come ready to play and jam,” said Monica.
For more information, call Peggy Johnson at 405-203-6964 or Tim Blake at 405-651-0665.