By Gwen Jorgenson and Jenna-Lee Neff
Photos Courtesy of the Arizona Live Music Cooperative

North 32nd folk music fans are invited to come together for open mic nights every Monday at 6:30 p.m., sponsored by the Arizona Live Music Cooperative (AZLMC). The nonprofit organization has partnered with Genesis Church to give local musicians a venue in response to the reduction of live performances in the past two years.

“This one is all about the music and giving the music community in the Valley a stage and an audience,” says Glen Gardner, local musician and co-founder of the AZLMC. “It’s not a bar or restaurant, but a dedicated listening room with a stage, professional sound, video, and an appreciative audience.”

Because performing in front of a live audience is enjoyable and beneficial for both the singer and the listener, AZLMC’s mission is to provide performance opportunities to musicians and to encourage the spiritual healing power of music.

Musicians of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to attend the open mic nights at the church, where Gardner drives the event as the sound engineer. Providing professional sound equipment, he takes the audience through each performer’s two song rotation. The music selections by the artists vary from original compositions, folk standards, spoken-word performances, and a cappella. Musicians bring a variety of acoustic guitars, electric guitars, harmonicas, and banjos.

“We very much appreciate the support of the folks at Genesis Church,” Gardner says. “They share our vision of music as a healing force in a time when it’s an especially important lifeline for many.”

Musicians wishing to perform can sign up at 6 p.m. each Monday, with doors opening to the public at 6:30 p.m. Genesis Church, located at 13625 N. 32nd Street, is smoke- and alcohol-free. Respect for the venue is requested. All donations collected at the door benefit local recovery programs.

“Many music venues have closed over the past couple of years,” says Gardner. “We thought it was important to have a place where local musicians could play and be appreciated.”

Gardner’s career has centered on music. He has played with several successful bands, had a radio morning show, and now refurbishes high-quality guitars. He works with AZLMC co-founder Cowboy Wrecks, a singer, song writer, and the production engineer. Each week he produces the video recorded event for YouTube and

“This group of musicians are outstanding in their talent as well as spirit,” says Cowboy Wrecks. “We sincerely love having a wide variety of artists of all levels. All are welcome.”