Jams & Open Stages

Open Stages

All times noted are a start time for Open Stages. Arrive earlier to sign up.

Open Stage

Every fourth Thursday in the Café at 7:00 p.m.
Got a song you’ve just got to share? Come play at our open stage. Sign-ups are at 6:00. Sets are 2-3 songs, depending on the number of players performing. Hosted by Ed McIlvain. Free for members / $1 for non-members.

Best of Open Stage

Third Friday of every month in Tuft Theatre at 7:00 p.m.  
A showcase of five artists, chosen from previous open stages, will each perform a 20 minute sets.  This will allow the performer to share more of their material and the audience to hear more than just a couple of songs. An advanced open stage, if you will, and a possible stepping stone to performing a concert at Swallow Hill Music! Hosted by Dave Devitt. Free for members / $1 for non-members.


Swallow Hill Music offers a variety of jams and performance group opportunities for students and community members. These monthly events offer a great compliment to our classes, private lessons, and workshops. Led by Swallow Hill Music teaching staff, the jams and performance groups are now FREE and OPEN to everyone (members and non-members) alike.

The Jams are a more casual learning and collaborative environment while receiving great direction on technique, performance, and repertoire.

Open Jams

Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night from 8-9 p.m.
Join us in the Quinlan Café for free open jams during the week. Hosted by one of our faculty members. Open to all instruments and abilities!

Bluegrass Jam

Second Sunday of every month, 2 p.m.
Our bluegrass jam is a place for you to try a song out that you’ve been working on or learn new songs that you’ve never heard. Students and community members can drop into this informal and collaborative setting anytime and get direction on technique, performance and song repertoire. Drop-in, tune-up, and chill out. Hosted by Josh Maxey.

Circle Singing

Fourth Saturday of every month, 3 p.m. 
Circle Singing is a spontaneous, improvisational community singing experience, a little bit like a “drum circle” for singers. Starting with a basic structure, we can create endless variations. We take inspiration from methods developed by Bobby McFerrin and his collaborators, where Circle Song leaders create parts on-the-spot, and lead the group in making beautiful, inspired, goofy, or glorious music. Sing beautiful harmonies without sheet music, gain self-confidence, and delight in what we can create together by listening deeply — to each other and to ourselves — and responding to what blossoms. This is a “mistake-free” zone, for all levels of singers—we sing for the sheer fun of it! Hosted by Ellen Hertzman.

Irish Jam Session

First Sunday of every month, 2 p.m. 
This is a beginner/intermediate traditional Irish style music session. We are sheet music friendly so bring a tune or two and your instrument. All instruments and songs welcome. Hosted by John Hammer.

Jam Session

Second Saturday of every month, 2 p.m.
Make music with other people! Take your music out of the classroom and play in a band setting. Hosted by Neil Haverstick.

Performance Session

First Saturday of every month, 2 p.m. 
 Bring songs you’ve been working on and perform them in a group setting! Learn tips and tricks to play more effectively in a group setting and when accompany a singer. Open to all who sing or play an instrument.  Hosted by Neil Haverstick.

Blues Jam

Fourth Sunday of every month, 2 p.m.  
 From the Mississippi Delta to the South Side of Chicago, you can experience all styles of the blues at our jam. Learn how to play specific songs and get general tips on the blues form. Our jam leader collaborates with attendees on the song selection and provides direction on technique, soloing, and back-up. The jam leader will help you find a part that is comfortable for you. Most blues songs are only 3 chords and follow a very similar song forms. All instruments and level of players welcome. Styles of blues covered include delta, Piedmont, electric, Chicago, modern, rock, fingerstyle, and folk.  Hosted by Bob Kinnard.

Jazz Jam

Second Sunday of every month, 12 p.m.  
 Our jazz jam is a great place to explore jazz in a fun, no pressure setting.We play songs from the “standard” repertoire, discuss technique, improvisation and focus on making music together. Singers and instrumentalists of all kinds and levels are welcome. The jam is free for both members of the community and students of Swallow Hill Music. Join us and explore an American art form! Josh Maxey.

Denver Ukulele Community

Third and Fifth Saturdays of every month, 10:30 a.m 
The Denver Uke Community is open to all ukulele players of any skill level. Held on the 3rd Saturday of every month in our Cafe, ukulele players get together and share songs in a supportive, group setting. Hosted by Doug Brown.

About the Quinlan Café

One of the most beloved physical parts of Swallow Hill Music is the Café stage. It was THE original stage from the Denver Folklore Center Concert Hall days, and has hosted a plethora of iconic talent, from Utah Phillips to Taj Mahal, from Joan Baez to Doc Watson and many, many more.

Needless to say, the energy of the Café and the history of its stage makes any performer, be it a beginner or a successful touring musician, feel most welcome and a part of a larger, diverse and historically rich community.

We recently renamed the café for benefactor and former board member Jeff Quinlan. Jeff’s desire to support, encourage and educate future musicians evolved into a lasting relationship with our music community. He served on the Swallow Hill Music Board of Directors from 2007 until his death in 2010.

A co-founder of the Quinlan Financial Group, Jeff loved playing guitar, skiing, camping and hiking. Swallow Hill Music is grateful for his generous spirit.

Become a Member!

Memberships start at just $45. Learn more!

Call for Volunteers

If you’re interested in volunteering at the Quinlan Café, we are in need of volunteers, mainly to help with Thursday night concerts, as well as open jams.  Visit out volunteer page for more info!