Tag Archives: Steve Sasloe

Westport’s Newest Gig

For over 50 years the Westport Music Center was the place to go for lessons, instrument rentals, repairs, musical books and accessories. Then they added  the Gig Center, a space for kids (and adults) to learn music history, recording and songwriting skills — and play live. The only thing missing was groupies.

The Westport Music Center closed a year ago. But the Gig Center’s Jim Reilly found new space — in the old Kidville store — and reopened there. With the same great instructors (including former Music Center owner Steve Sasloe), it was a hoppin’ place.

A few months later though, COVID-91 struck. For weeks, Westport shut down. Like so many others, the Gig Center’s instructors headed online.

But when Connecticut began reopening, Reilly realized his facility was big enough to accommodate (properly distanced) rock musicians. Plexiglas dividers separate the singers, saxophonists and trumpeters (they’re most at risk for spreading droplets).

These days, Reilly says, the Gig Center is the only place around where people can play music together safely.

The Gig Center

Of course, not everyone is comfortable coming in. So the Center created a system for people to play live online. Their music is broadcast into the Gig Center, so everyone jams together — without the delay that bedevils Zoom conferences.

At the end of a normal “semester,” the band plays at a local bar. This time, they’ll gig at an outdoor venue, in August.

For more information, click here or call 203-292-8934.

So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star

For over 50 years, the Westport Music Center has been the place to go for lessons, instrument rentals and repairs, musical books and accessories.

Now it’s the place to go to be a rock star.

In the back of the sprawling space underneath the former Pier 1 store on the Post Road — past all those instruments and sheet music — aspiring musicians gather at the Gig Center.

It’s the brainchild of Steve Sasloe. Last year, the longtime owner built 2 state-of-the-art studios. In the afternoons they’re filled with kids. At night, adults come. Under the guidance of pros, they learn music history, recording and songwriting skills.

And they play.

But the Gig Center is not just a rehearsal space. These guys (and girls) end with a live show. All that’s missing are groupies.

“Growing up, we formed our own bands,” Sasloe says. “But you don’t see a lot of ‘Guitarist Needed’ signs anymore.”

Steve Sasloe (left) and Gig Center show instructor Josh Auchterlonie.

Enter the Gig Center. Sasloe and his crew do the legwork. They form bands, bringing together guitar players, drummers, keyboardists, singers, even brass and woodwind sections.

They lead rehearsals, and arrange performances. (This year’s venue: Kieran’s Place, at the Smith-Richardson golf course.)

Music ranges from the ’60s to today. Sasloe says the tweens and teens who are attracted to the Gig Center — some of whom already take private lessons there — appreciate the roots of rock.

But their voices are not always the same as Mick Jagger, John Fogerty, Tom Petty, Patti Smith or Kurt Cobain. So Sasloe and his staff change keys, as necessary.

For kids, the Gig Center offers a chance to be in a real band — something not easy to do, in today’s STEM-and-sports-filled world.

A Gig Center band. From left: Audrey Blau, Annabel Blau, Freddie Aldridge, Lili Aldridge, Lucas Nilsson. All live in Westport.

Adults get an opportunity to get back to a passion that fell by the wayside, once “real life” intruded. Or, Sasloe says, to “cross ‘rock ‘n’ roll musician’ off their bucket list.”

The results are impressive. The 2 studios crackle with the sounds of music.

But it’s about as far from “The Sound of Music” as you can get.

Rock on!

(Hat tip: Suzanne Sherman Propp)