By Jade Ruggieri
The Concerts in the Lofts at Wesley United Methodist Church are back to in-person events with Jim Snyder performing at 6 p.m. Sunday.
These were started in 2011 by Kerry Lily, who had a love of music and the community. He didn’t see anything like these concerts in Morgantown, so he started this series.
Every second Sunday, the Concerts in the Lofts provide local musicians a place to play and audience members to listen.
In August, Aristotle Jones will be featured and in September Brandhi Irvon will be performing.
These are free concerts with light refreshments, but donations are always welcome and they go directly to the artists.
“We always have a great time,” the Rev. Martha Ognibene said. “It gives artists the ability to showcase themselves in a new way. It gives community members an opportunity to hear an artist, meet new folks and create new fans. Any time you can increase both the connection between the church, community and cultural impact in a fun way, is a good thing.”
Duncan Lorimer organizes the event, since he took over for Lily in 2018. Lorimer said even during COVID, he kept the series alive through Facebook, but is excited to have the concerts move back to the beautiful space.
“There’s nothing else like this,” Lorimer said. “We try to have a mix of styles — classical, jazz, a lot of acoustic, electric bands, country, singer-songwriter music — because it’s important to hear these artists as they tell their stories behind songs.”
Lorimer said he is open to suggestions from the community of whom they would like to see perform next.
Snyder is a Morgantown native who was raised in the Charleston area.
He takes his mix of contemporary folk mixed with a splash of R&B and classic acoustic rock to venues coast to coast. The one descriptive word that is most used when talking about him is “smooth.” Whatever he plays is delivered with creative acoustic guitar arrangements and expressive vocals.
Snyder said he has been a musician all his life and he did some session work at Capitol Records Studio. After moving back to the state, Snyder created the Musicians Emergency Relief Fund of West Virginia 10 years ago and for eight years, created the West Virginia Music Festival in Lewisburg to raise money for musicians who experience unexpected financial stress.
“My influences include everyone from Mother Maybelle Carter to Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash to the Beatles, with most things I play now like James Taylor. Since I’m not as well-known around Morgantown, this will be exciting to play in a concert setting. I’m hoping people that know me will come out, but I’m hoping people who aren’t familiar but want to hear someone new on the scene, so to speak — new in the Morgantown area — will come out.”
Concerts in the Lofts is an activity for all ages to enjoy learning more about local artists from the state and involve the community. Lorimer said he is looking for the concerts to grow as each is a “low-key, family-friendly event.”
“The concerts are important because it exposes the Morgantown market to artists, not only that they know in the area, but also outside the Morgantown area,” Snyder said. “It builds a network of musicians and venues that are in it for the right reasons by promoting music and giving people a chance to discover new West Virginia musicians.”
To learn more about the Concert in the Lofts and stay up-to-date with upcoming performances, visit the Facebook page at Facebook.com/groups/concertsintheloft/.