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All Soul Acoustic Coffeehouse Provides Nightspot Alternative

By KENDRA BLEVINS
Associate Editor

ELLIS PAUL



All Soul Acoustic Coffeehouse is an alternative venue to smoky, noisy bars. Music aficionados, especially those of the blues, bluegrass and alternative country persuasion can come to Emmerson Hall at All Souls Unitarian Church, 2952 S. Peoria Ave., once a month to hear top musicians who often skip over Tulsa during their tours.

“It’s all about the musicians and audience. Everyone is totally interested in hearing the performers,” says Julia Watson, volunteer. Since the series is housed in a church, sometimes people wonder if it’s a religious activity. “It’s not church related at all,” notes Watson. “The public venue has good sound quality and provides a relaxed atmosphere for the audience, with coffee and food available during the concerts.” Watson continues, “It’s a family friendly venue. We have people who are eight to 80 years old.

“One of my favorite things about our venue is, that although we sometimes have as many as 200 people in the audience, it still has a very intimate feel. Most of the time, the artists stick around after the show to sign CDs and to answer questions,” says Watson. Eight years ago, the coffeehouse started as a venue for East Coast artists. Founder Anitra Lavanhar moved to Tulsa from Boston with her husband, Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian. She wanted to bring to Tulsa the Boston scene of smoke-free acoustic coffeehouses which cater to folk musicians. Local acts often open for the concerts. The 2008 fall series includes Ellis Paul, Richard Shindell, Tracy Grammer, Peter Case with Rockin’ Acoustic Circus and Eliza Gilkyson. Many artists come to Tulsa for the first time to play at All Soul Acoustic Coffeehouse because of the music-centered atmosphere.

“The musicians love the non-smoking venue and appreciation from the audience,” says Watson. “We get approached a lot by bigger booking agents now. It doesn’t take a lot of arm twisting.”

October is a special month with two concerts instead of just one. Richard Shindell doesn’t tour America very often and when All Soul had the chance to book him they took it.

The coffeehouse is non-profit and hosted by a team of eight volunteers. All the proceeds go back into the sound equipment and music series. Tickets are available in advance through All Souls Unitarian Church, 2952 S. Peoria Ave., (918) 743-2363, or at the Midtown Borders Bookstore on 21st Street, (918) 712-9955. Tickets are also available at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. and seating is first come-first served, except for season ticket holders. A season ticket guarantees a reserved seat up close at the shows. Call Denis McGilvray at (918) 361-3511 for season tickets.

Updated 09-29-2008

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