May 20, 2014



Outdoor Concert Series:


Outdoor Concert Series:

We do not believe it is safe at this time to present concerts indoors in our “friendly confines” but now that the summer heat is diminishing, we have planned a wonderful series of small, outdoor concerts.  We are taking special precautions to inhibit the spread of Covid-19 in accordance with the procedures recommended by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.  Here’s how things will work:

-The concerts will be held on the parking lot at the rear of Focal Point.  Access will be via the alley off of Marietta Ave., across from the Side Project Cellar.

-Tickets will be available ONLY in advance via Brown Paper Tickets (links to which are included below with the concert descriptions).  No tickets will be sold at the door.  Because the county limits gatherings to 50, only 40 tickets can be sold.  All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the musicians.

-Bring your own chairs, like you would for a concert in the park.

-Individuals and groups will set up their chairs at the direction of our volunteer ushers, who will assure that proper distancing is maintained.  If you come with others and want to be seated as a group, you MUST purchase tickets under one name.  Members of a group may set up their chairs in close proximity to others in the group, but the ushers will assure that a distance of 6 ft is maintained between your group and other groups or individuals.

-Masks must be worn when not seated.

-The Maya Café will not be open.  Please feel free to bring your own beverages and snacks.

-Concerts will last approximately 90 minutes.  There will be no intermission.

-There will be only limited restroom availability (so plan ahead ☺).  One unisex, handicap accessible restroom inside our building will be accessible via the rear door opening onto the deck behind the building.  Only one person may enter the building at a time.

-Tickets Will be sold until 3 hours before the show.

-Concerts will take place unless there is serious weather, so please dress accordingly and be prepared for weather.  IE- you may want to bring an umbrella if there is light rain in the forecast.

-If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Focal Point at 314-328-4810.

Additionally, If you answer yes to any of the following, we ask that you stay at home:

1) In the last 2 weeks, have you cared for or had close contact with

someone diagnosed with COVID-19?

2) Do you have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing in a way

that is not normal for you?

3) Do you have a new or unexplained cough?

4) Have you felt feverish in the past 24 hours, had chills, repeated

shaking with chills, or had a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above?

5) In the last 2 weeks, have you had any of the symptoms below:

-New unexplained muscle pain

-New or unusual headache

-New sore throat

-New loss of taste or smell

-New gastrointestinal issues: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea?

Different from the usual Focal Point Experience? Well yes, but you’ll still hear some great music!





Friday, September 25th, 6:30-8:00pm, $10: Point Friends of Traditional Jazz, Blues & Ragtime: Joe Park & The Hot Club of St. Louis

Gypsy jazz was created in the 1930s when gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt was introduced to early American Jazz records. He transformed tunes traditionally played by brass and woodwind instruments and began playing them with his gypsy string-band, which would later become known as The Hot Club of France.

The Hot Club of St. Louis is an all-star line up of the St Louis’ finest gypsy jazz musicians led by guitarist Joe Park. The group performs many of the classics made famous by Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France as well as some of Parks’ own original compositions.  The Hot Club of STL performs with a cast of supporting musicians but always features Park on lead guitar. This performance will include: Paul Davis on rhythm guitar, Rodger Netherton on violin, and Joey Glynn on bass.



Friday, October 2nd, 6:30-8:00pm, $15: Irish Fiddlers Four: Andrew O’Brien, Eimear Arkins, Kevin Buckley & Robert Ryan

Andrew O’Brien, grew up in Dublin in a large musical family, hearing and playing with the cream of musicians in that very musical city. Although the necessity for work has limited his performances, Andrew still finds time to teach at the St Louis School for Irish Arts.

Eimear Arkins is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and dancer from Ruan in County Clare Ireland. She holds eleven solo All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil titles and has competed in all Ireland, European and World Dancing Championships. Eimear has toured extensively with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann on concert tours throughout Ireland, Britain, North America and Canada. She has represented Ireland in France as a performer at Rennes Expo and in Spain as a participant in La Noche Negra a cultural collaboration and exchange between the Mid-West of Ireland and the province of Asturias. For the past eight summers, Eimear has performed with the internationally renowned show Brú Ború and was part of the troupe that represented Ireland at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China. In August 2015, Eimear traveled to World Expo 2015, in Milan with St. Louis Irish Arts where she promoted not only Irish culture but the expression of Irish culture worldwide.

Kevin Buckley started learning Irish fiddle tunes at the age of 9. In his formative years, he played all over the country with his music school, St. Louis Irish Arts and placed in a variety of music competitions (Fleadh Cheoil) both in the Midwest and in Ireland, where he lived for a year. During this time, Buckley also began to compose music (later released as Grace Basement) and broaden his range to include many types of folk music, blues, jazz, rock and pop. All the while sustaining his reputation as an accomplished traditional musician, Buckley has become a much sought after session musician and studio producer, incorporating his wide musical pallet into his trademark tasteful playing and unique improvising. Buckley has recently released an album with fellow fiddle player Ian Walsh, of McGurk’s Mondays fame, is planning a solo traditional fiddle recording for release next year, and has a new project of original material called Count Buckley. He is also an active recording engineer and co-founder of Eastern Watts Records. Kevin teaches Irish Fiddle and Irish Ensemble classes at The Folk School of St. Louis.

Robert Ryan is a traditional Irish fiddler from London, who grew up immersed in the thriving Irish musical community of that city. Robert was encouraged to learn the tin whistle from a young age, and took up the fiddle at the age of eight, learning from the great Clare fiddler Brendan Mulkere. He has recently moved to St. Louis, where he performs and teaches.




Sunday, October 4th, 6:30-8:00pm, $10: The Sapsuckers

The Sapsuckers write and perform original country/Americana songs that blend humor, heartache, and honky-tonk.

With an eclectic style that ranges from hillbilly roots to Nashville pop, the songwriting team of Nikki Grossman and Joe Hart has developed a lively, contemporary take on country music. Their creative lyrics, catchy melodies, and clever stage show have earned them a growing fanbase in the Midwest and beyond.

In early 2020, Grossman (guitar, fiddle, vocals) and Hart (guitar, mandolin, vocals) relocated to St. Louis to form a new lineup as The Sapsuckers Band, featuring Ryan Koenig (mandolin, lap steel, accordion, and harp) and Joey Glynn (upright bass). Koenig and Glynn have performed together for years in a variety of bands, including the Rum Drum Ramblers and as Pokey La Farge’s South City Three. The new lineup is currently booking live shows in 2020 and beyond.

The couple (on stage and off) got their start together as an old-time fiddle band, performing for square and contra dances, with Grossman on fiddle and Hart on guitar. Both had performed in a variety of musical acts—including prog rock, punk rock, and other old-time outfits—and an early connection was their interest in reproducing the close-harmony sounds of early country duos like the Blue Sky Boys and Callahan Brothers. Gifted writers and self-described country music dorks, they soon started writing and performing their own songs.

The duo has recorded three albums: “Don’t Think About Tomorrow Tonight” (2018) was launched at an official SXSW showcase, where they earned a standing ovation, as well as numerous Midwest tour dates. The album was co-produced by John Wood (Richard and Linda Thompson, Cat Stevens, Incredible String Band). The Sapsucker’s video for the song “Fools Were Made to be Broken” was premiered by Radio Heartland on Minnesota Public Radio, The Current. “Ocooch Mountain Home,” (2015), received high praise from the likes of fROOTS, Bluegrass Today, and Country Music People UK. “Speaking of Music” (2013) captures the old-timey roots of the band.

Grossman and Hart live with their blended family, dividing their time between a rural homestead in Southwestern Wisconsin, and the city of St. Louis. They tour frequently throughout the Midwest and beyond. They are a favorite headlining act at festivals including Mile of Music, Fox Valley Folk Festival, and the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Association. They are also frequent radio and television guests, with live appearances on Radio Heartland/The Current (Minneapolis), 30-Minute Music Hour (PBS-Madison), The Midnight Hour (Chicago), Simply Folk (Madison), and many others.




Friday, October 9th, 6:30-8:00pm, $15: Joe Mancuso, Erika Johnson & Tracer

St. Louis Jazz Vocalist Joe Mancuso teams up with TRACER and Erika Johnson for a One Night ONLY Jazz Extravaganza at The Focal Point! Joe Mancuso is always mixing it up with St. Louis Musical Legends, and this concert is no different!
Straight Ahead Jazz, Fusion and Funky Jazzed-Up Blues await you on this historical union of St. Louis Jazz Greats!
Musician Bios:
About Tracer:
Since the late 1970s and early 80s, Tracer has been considered by many as THE Premier Jazz-Fusion band of St. Louis; combining electric instruments with elements of rock, funk and rhythm and blues. Tracer is: Ptah Williams on piano and keyboards, Darrell Mixon on bass and Gary Sykes on drums.
About Ptah Williams——-
Jazz pianist Ptah Williams has performed internationally with Freddie Hubbard, George Benson, James Moody and many other household names of jazz.
“His style is unpredictable, his virtuosity is mind-blowing and following the twists and turns of his solo runs can be as exciting as a roller coaster ride”.
—–Riverfront TImes
“Ptah Williams is one of St. Louis’ finest jazz pianists. He makes the piano breathe and dance. One of his great strengths is that he is able to shine both as a soloist and as an accompanist. As a soloist, he assumes center-stage with grace and confidence; as an accompanist he supports the soloist with a style that is varied and innovative, yet never overpowering.
—–KDHX Radio
About Darrell Mixon——-
Darrell Mixon is St. Louis Jazz Royalty. Following in his father’s footsteps, the late great bassist John Mixon, Darrell has carved out a chunk of Jazz history of his own. Darrel always plays with such energy, passion and zeal! He has performed nationally and internationally with the likes of Oliver Lake, Eddie Henderson, Gil Scott-Heron, Cecil Taylor and many others. St. Louis is so fortunate to have this fine musician on the scene.
About Gary Sykes——-
Gary Sykes is a most versatile multi-genre drummer that explores the kit in new ways every time he plays. He has performed with Freddie Hubbard, Oliver Sain, The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, John Hicks, Lester Bowie, Fontella Bass and the Nuclear Percussion Ensemble to name a few. A true Gem and Living Legend!
About Erika Johnson——-
Erika Johnson is one of St. Louis’ premier Jazz singers. She got her start in the famed East St. Louis Lincoln High Jazz Band under the direction of Ron Carter. She has sung all over the United States and internationally alongside many world class musicians such as Russell Gunn, Hamiet Bluiett, Montez Coleman, Robert Glaspar and many others. She also spent many years performing with the late, great Willie Akins at the iconic Spruill’s jazz club in St. Louis. Erika has an infectious personality, she keeps the audience engaged with her un-matched energy and she can scat like no other!
About Joe Mancuso——-
Joe is the new kid on the Jazz block compared to the legends mentioned above. In recent years his popularity has skyrocketed and he has won multiple awards for both his voice and his recordings. Joe studied jazz at Webster University under the tutelage of Paul DeMarinis, Steve Schenkel, Carolbeth True, Kim Portnoy and Dan Rubright. You can catch Joe performing all over St. Louis, and at upcoming shows in Las Vegas, Sedona Arizona and other U.S. cities.



Sunday, October 11th, 3:00-4:30pm, $10: Opera Bell Band


The official Focal Point debut of The Opera Bell Band! Playing “new-novelty & cartoon-country music”, every Opera Bell Band show is different than the last. The show features several instruments, homemade props, vibrant costumes, tricks, schticks, and, most importantly, their befuddled and beloved host, Butternut the Pilot.




Friday, October 16th, 6:30-8:00pm, $15: Rum Drum Ramblers

Since forming in 2006, the Rum Drum Ramblers have been honing their original St Louis string band blues in barrooms, clubs, street corners, listening rooms, and festivals.  Powerful dual lead vocals by Mat Wilson and Ryan Koenig and the ever stylish slap bass of Joey Glynn weave through a tapestry of syncopated resonator guitar, screaming harmonica, mandolin, fiddle, bones, and washboard.  This trio of multi-instrumentalists have a refreshing groove that swings at a perfectly danceable pace.

The Rum Drum Ramblers have netted awards such as “Best Blues Band” and “Best Blues Album” over the years, but that only begins to scratch the surface of what these individuals have accomplished in the formative early years of their careers, including performing around the globe, contributing to Grammy nominated albums, and sharing the stage with many cherished roots music stalwarts.  Some may remember Koenig and Glynn from their decade long run with Pokey LaFarge, which yielded memorable appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, The Conan O’Brien Show, The Marty Stuart Show, Prairie Home Companion, UKs’ Jools Holland Hootenanny, and guest features in Disney’s “The Lone Ranger”, Jack White’s “American Epic” mini-series, and Jack White’s “Blunderbuss”.  One of the final proteges of Henry Townsend, guitarist Mat Wilson is a living link to the origins of St Louis blues.

Now as the re-energized Rum Drum Ramblers return to the studio to record their first album since 2011’s “Mean Scene”, their road-warrior chops shine through in their playing and their song writing glistens with the depth of experience.  Their music both timeless and exciting, the band plays with sincerity and respect to the original blues forbearers.






*Presented by Focal Point Friends of Old-time Music

**Presented by Focal Point Friends of Traditional Jazz, Blues & Ragtime

… and many more!