Sep 242008
 
Authors: Kelli Pryor

ld be classified as up-and-coming, Fort Collins is home to many local bands and solo artists, some playing just to play and others playing to make the big time.

For the past year, the Fort Collins Musicians Association has worked to motivate, educate and unite local bands, regardless of their long-term goals.

The FoCoMA will celebrate its one-year anniversary Sunday with a free concert at the Aggie Theatre, featuring local artists from various genres.

The concert marks the end of a busy first year for the grassroots organization. FoCoMA was started after Mike Mockler and Greta Cornett, both active in the Fort Collins music scene, felt there was a need to bring the local music community together.

“The Colorado music scene has been on the rise, but there hasn’t been a lot of support for local musicians,” said Cornett, the president of FoCoMA and a working musician.

Mockler, Cornett and Kevin Micke, vice president of the association and manager of local band Vices I Admire, are among the few that founded FoCoMA.

The group, which is active and connected to the local music scene, meet informally every Tuesday afternoon at Mockler’s house to discuss plans for upcoming FoCoMA events, as well as different ways to advance the organization’s mission.

“We are a cohesive group of people going in the same direction,” said Mockler, now the CFO of FoCoMA and owner of Scene Magazine.

While working to bring musicians and fans together, FoCoMA also focuses on motivating, educating and promoting local musicians.

“We look for people who are active in Fort Collins and reach out to them,” Mockler said.

Mockler uses his connections to the local music scene and venues, like the Aggie Theatre and Hodi’s Half Note, to encourage support for local musicians. Every Sunday, FoCoMA hosts a new talent showcase at either the Aggie or Hodi’s for new bands to gain experience performing.

“Bands just want to play on a big stage,” Mockler said. “It bolsters their momentum.”

“It’s a good experience for every band to get,” Cornett added.

The organization also holds one educational workshop for musicians every month. The workshops are geared toward younger bands and teach them about different aspects of the music industry, such as promotion, recording, booking and etiquette, Micke said.

“We’ve had workshops with talent buyers and local professionals,” he said.

FoCoMA also strives to promote local music by starting new events and festivals in Fort Collins.

Currently, they are working to create “Three Bands, Three Bucks” at the Ramskeller on Friday nights.

The shows will feature three local bands for a $3 cover charge, though FoCoMa is still working with student government on the logistics of the shows.

The association received sound system equipment from local businesses for the shows and proceeds will to the bands that played.

The organization also sponsored the Best of Fort Collins last April — a sort of Grammy Award ceremony for Fort Collins area musicians, Mockler said.

People voted for the best local band in many different genres, from punk to bluegrass to world to avant-garde and everything in between.

This April, the association is expanding the Best of Fort Collins to a two-week festival so people can familiarize themselves with bands they haven’t heard before they vote for their favorites. They are aiming to have bands from different genres play at local hot spots — folk at Avogadro’s Number, punk at Surfside, hippie jam at Hodi’s and rock at the Aggie Theater.

The new festival will be just as much for local bands as it will be for the public, Cornett said.

“We want musicians supporting musicians and to give people a chance to get to know new bands,” she said.

Staff writer Kelli Pryor can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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