CELEBRATING 5 YEARS AND EMBRACING CHANGE by Sandy McAfee

10 Dec CELEBRATING 5 YEARS AND EMBRACING CHANGE by Sandy McAfee


OUR Coffeehouse, KAC’s longest running initiative just hit a 5 year milestone. That equates to 110 shows (paid performances), hundreds more open mic moments and thousands of attentive audience members. That is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

I discovered OUR Coffeehouse in April of 2012 shortly after a trip across Canada in the Summer of 2011. That trip had revealed a missing piece in my life and in our community. The gap had been discovered in Nova Scotia, a Canadian gem full of music and people who connect through its heart. I had truly contemplated relocating to this amazing place and had spent months tortured by thoughts of how to live in two places at once. How could I leave friends and family? I had come to the conclusion that moving would be too difficult but perhaps I could build something here? But what? And how? It was a daunting task to contemplate. And then I discovered OUR Coffeehouse.

From the first moment I stepped into the space I could feel something different. The warmth and honouring of the performers was palpable and I knew I had found kindred spirits. I stepped in to help anywhere I could and have never left. Since then I have shared the running of this project alongside Lynda Norman and Sheila Dyer and I open and close each evening in song.

There are so many special moments; so many times I have been moved to tears as I witness the blossoming of confidence and skill. My jaw has dropped often as a new songwriter, musician, poet, comes out of the woodwork to grace our stage. I have said goodbyes to ones who move to other place and even wept for some who are now no longer with us. This place and these people have given me more joy, purpose and inspiration to birth new projects than any other source.

How do you ever express that much gratitude? I going am not sure you can but I will try:

  • To the two power women, Lynda & Sheila who drive this project and put in countless hours of work, with who I have shared laughter and tears on this journey, you are forever my sisters in creative expression. Thank you.
  • To Nils Loewen, for coming week after week with sound equipment and your cello to add amazing contributions to performance after performance, you are truly a gift to our community. Thank you.
  • To all those who helped in our kitchen, helped set up and tear down, your contribution is so appreciated,  it is our volunteers that help us keep things going, we are true community when this happens. Thank you.
  • To all those who sat at the table and conspired to create the Artists for Creative Alliance vision (Kelowna Arts Councils humble beginnings). Thank you.
  • To every board member of KAC past present & future. Thank you
  • To every traveling musician who has stumbled upon us and come to share your music and stories and left us feeling connected to a bigger world. Thank you.
  • To every local musician, poet, writer, dancer and artist who has come to share and grow and contribute to this beautiful project. Thank you.
  • And to every person who comes to listen, to support all that this project stands for, we could not do this without you. Thank you.

And now to embrace change:

The Benvoulin Heritage site has been our home for all this time and in 2018 we will be moving to a new location. OUR Coffeehouse will still be a listening audience format and maintain the same calendar schedule (check What’s On for specific dates) but will start @ 6:30 and be held at Marmalade Cat as an “after hours” event. We will still be the same family, just residing in a different house.

I have shared a little of what the Coffeehouse means to me and we hear time and time again how this little community project has impacted many others. In honour of our anniversary and the fabulous space we have called home we would like to collect these stories.

Please tell us about your favourite moments or your personal story, whatever you feel inspired to share by clicking on “Submit your Story”.

We look forward to more time together and creating new memories at our new location.

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