1st Saturday Coffee House returns

Tom Howe, left, performs with friends, Tim Verway, centre and Terry Human at right during a 1st Saturday Coffee House.
Citizen photo/Mickey Dumont

“How about that?” an exuberant Tom Howe said last year about the growing interest in a coffee house program he started in 2018 at the Portage la Prairie Regional Library.

Tom passed away this year, but the “1st Saturday Coffee House” he founded will continue, as per his wishes.

The Herman Prior Activity Centre is a temporary venue and the 1st Saturday Coffee House will return to the library and on the first Saturday of scheduled months when possible.


Due to COVID-19, the library is unable to host the acoustic open mic, but because of developing cooperation between it and the Herman Prior Activity Centre who share a wall, dates and space have been found to accommodate the event. “Unfortunately, “First Saturday” dates were not available so until we beat COVID-19 into submission, we’re going to take what dates we can,” says Mickey Dumont, who in cooperation with the library is managing the event.

“We had a very casual approach to organizing the talent prior to the world turning upside down,” Dumont explained. “If you wanted to perform you just showed up the day of, sign the sheet and get up in your time slot. Now we have to be more organized to make sure we have only so many people in attendance to allow for social distancing and required health precautions. Masks are also mandatory.

“To register you can call the library at 204-857-4271, Mickey at 204-249-0725 or by email; mickeyadumont@gmail.com or programming@portagelibrary.com

The acoustic-only open mic format has become a favourite amongst not only the casual performer but judging by the Coffee House attendance, the free matinee event is a performer and patron favourite.

The all-acoustic venue is not just for singer/songwriters. Music has proved to be the largest part of the two hours to date, but it is open to writers, stand-up comics, magicians, etc. “What do you got?” Howe is famously remembered to say when asked. If you have a talent you want to share, the mic is open.

Portage La Prairie Regional Library presents the 1st Saturday Coffee House” at the Herman Prior Activity Centre from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. on the following dates: Oct. 24; Nov. 28, Dec. 19, Jan. 23, Feb. 27, March 27 and April 24, the final date until the program again launches in the Fall.

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