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Library to host musicians during Island Hopper festival

By Staff | Sep 19, 2018

PHOTO PROVIDED Bill Metts is one of the musicians who will perform at the Captiva Memorial Library on Sept. 21 during the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest.

Join three singer-songwriters at the Captiva Memorial Library for the upcoming Island Hopper Songwriter Fest.

Branch Manager Colleen Barany said they are thrilled to have the festival at the library because it is such a beach community and the library wants to be considered part of the community.

Kicking off on Sept. 21 at 2 p.m., Bill Metts, Bruce Gallant and David Hintz will perform.

Metts, who was influenced by the music of Taj Mahal, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson and others, writes original songs with down home finger-picking style. Gallant, a songwriter of more than 30 years, considers his songs his journals as they reflect different times in his life. Hintz enjoys writing songs from his heart, which connects his performance with his audience members.

The performances are being hosted by the Lee County Library System and Americana Community Music Association.

Bob Williams, with the Americana Community Music Association, said the organization is made up of local singer-songwriters in the Fort Myers area.

“We have about 80 singer-songwriters that play original music. We create opportunities for singer-songwriters to play original music,” he said. “We do a show in Lover’s Key State Park. That show gets over 600 people at Songwriters at Sunset. We put three songwriters on the stage. They take turns playing original songs and tell the stories behind the songs.”

A partnership began with the Lee County Library System three years ago when they started playing at the South County Regional Library doing a show once a month during season.

Every year, Williams said they have had singer-songwriters from their organization play at the Island Hopper event. This year, ACMA members will play at the Captiva library and Fort Myers Regional Library in downtown Fort Myers.

“We are very excited to play there and expand the audience,” he said. “We are just happy to be a part of a show of local songwriters.”

The performance at the Fort Myers library will be held on Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. and feature Robert Bidney, Carlene Thissen and Mike McMillan.

The average performer with ACMA are in their late 50s, 60s and 70s, retirees that picked up their guitars again.

“If you are an original songwriter, you want to play your own music. Working with places like the library we have created opportunities,” Williams said. “These are all very talented songwriters. People are going to be amazed to hear all the local talents.”

The partnership has also created “Songwriters on the Plaza” at the Fort Myers Regional Library. On the second Tuesday of each month, attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair and enjoy some original music from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The first show will be held on Nov. 13 with Ray Cerbone, Nancy Koener, Robert Bidney and Annie Wenz.

Williams said Songwriters on the Plaza will continue once a month year-round. The format will include three local musicians on the stage.

“They end up playing six or seven songs and each,” he said.

Williams explained that their shows are “listening rooms.”

“It’s very quite. It’s a very comfortable atmosphere because no one is talking and you can hear the lyrics, the song,” he said.

The Captiva Memorial Library is at 11560 Chapin Lane.

The Fort Myers Regional Library is at 2450 First St., Fort Myers.