Mary Shapiro’s name is probably familiar to many in the SAW community. And for good reason. For more than a decade, Mary has been championing the cause of local musicians getting together and creating “peace through music” in the Washington, DC area. After moving to Washington in 2000, Shapiro quickly helped create a community of musicians sharing songs and stories at Potter’s House, a coffeehouse and café located in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.
But when Shapiro met Jeff Wolf, a fellow musician and public school teacher, the vision of peacemaking really started to take shape. Before too long, the two fell in love and married, settling down on Jeff’s sprawling piece of beautiful land within miles of route 66 in Marshall, Virginia. And the opportunities the two have created are truly impressive. When Jeff retired, he decided that his biggest passion was to support local musicians. So, he did what any “gear nerd” would do: he decided to invest in some recording equipment and build a small but impressively outfitted recording studio in his home.
But it didn’t stop there. Mary’s passion for creating community through music, along with the couple’s impressive amount of space and waterside view from their backyard, led to the creation of “Stillwaters Supper and Songs”, a monthly house-concert venture attracting some of the best local and regional talent. The format is simple: the evening starts with a potluck supper followed by an open mic where all are encouraged to participate and (arguably more important) those in the audience encouraged to listen to each performer. The environment is supportive, friendly and relaxed. Following the open mic, the concert begins on the outdoor stage, or, in colder months, inside on a small living room stage. Jeff’s technology and engineering skills really get to shine as he offers professional sound for the performers.
In addition to the recording studio and Stillwaters Supper and Songs concert series, Mary and Jeff have organized arts festivals on their property, inviting local artists and artisans to show and sell their work. Another new venture was a one-day workshop for working musicians called “A Day in the Studio, A Night on the Stage” where experts in songwriting, musical performance, album production and graphic design facilitated sessions that walked attendees through each aspect of the music business. “That’s something I’d like to do more of”, Mary commented when I asked what her vision was for the next five years. Teaching is a common passion of both Mary and Jeff, and their commitment to creating community and supporting local artists is as admirable as it is obvious.
“Really, I just want harmony (here at Stillwaters),” Jeff reflected. Mary and Jeff’s tagline for their concert series is “Building community and creating peace through music”, and it seems to be an ideology they not only believe, but a value that they try to live out every day.
To contact Mary Shapiro and inquire about Stillwaters, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the recording studio, upcoming concert series and other events at Stillwaters, check out their website at http://www.stillwaters-studios.com/. To purchase tickets for upcoming shows at Stillwaters, visit www.StillwatersSupperandSongs.eventbrite.com.