Songwriter circle gathers local enthusiasts

Published 12:00 pm Monday, June 24, 2024

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After over 20 years as the band director at Conkwright Middle School, Trish Torline has plenty of music experience to share with others. 

In retirement, she continues to make the most of such opportunities. 

The multiple Lexington Music Awards nominee has been leading HeartStrings Songwriters Circle events since 2019, with the newest to take place at The Hall Coffee & Social Club at 17 S. Main Street on Thursday, June 27, at 7:00 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

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As part of a special Jr. edition, performers will be Katie Grace and John Thomas Moore. 

The HeartStrings Songwriters Circle was established in 2019 to give local and regional songwriters a place to showcase their original songs. 

“I wanted a place where I could go and sing my songs…I knew if I felt that way, then other songwriters felt that way too [and] wanted a place to go and sing their music,” Torline said. “At that point in 2019, there weren’t that many around.” 

While COVID-19 created challenges, the event kept going by having showcases on Zoom and live streaming them on Facebook. 

Torline now hosts Songwriter Circles in the central Kentucky area twice monthly, with the second Thursday of each month hosted at Rohs Opera House in Cynthiana and Hall’s Coffee & Social Club hosting the fourth Thursday of each month. 

“I have heard so many incredibly talented singers and songwriters,” Torline added. “Kentucky has a lot of talent in it.”

Three different singer and songwriter acts – including Torline – are featured in each showcase. 

It is booked in advance and has six different rounds, which allows each musician to play up to six original songs. 

Over the years, several different genres have been included. 

“We’ve had R&B, jazz, inspiration, country, rock, [and] pretty much run the gamut,” she said. “At a songwriter’s showcase, it’s all about the song!” 

Much of the music is born from the song’s meaning to the writer and musician. 

“It’s the backbone. That’s the catalyst behind music in general. There has to be a feeling. There has to be an emotion that sparks the idea,” Torline added. “They take turns performing their original songs, and before they sing them, they tell of the inspiration behind it.” 

Audience participation is sometimes a feature that involves asking or answering questions. 

With plans to continue moving forward, hopes are high that songwriters across central Kentucky and more will continue having a place to perform. 

“If you love music…the Heartstrings Songwriters Circle showcase is a great place to support local music, local musicians, singers, [and] songwriters,” she said. “I may even have people come from Tennessee or Ohio to participate. That’s how important it is for songwriters to get their music out to people [and] have a platform to perform it.”