The Folk Society of Whitehorse has been hosting the famous Yukon-Alaska Coffee House for
more than 25 years. This event features two coffee house evenings, back-to-back, in Skagway and Whitehorse.
The Yukon evening of talent, which takes place on Saturday, will also serve as the finale to a series of Whitehorse coffee houses that happen once a month from October to March each year.
Coffee houses are an opportunity for people to share their talents on stage in front of a friendly and enthusiastic crowd in an alcohol-free environment. Although the performances are primarily musical in nature, over the years the shows have also included storytellers, poets, comedians and cultural dancers.
There are no restrictions regarding musical genre, either. Anything from folk, to fiddle, to rock, to jazz, among others, are perfectly acceptable.
If you’re thinking you don’t have what it takes to get up on stage and bust out the performance of a lifetime, Ray Tucker, a board member with the Folk Society of Whitehorse, has some encouragement for you.
“You have more talent than you think you do,” says Tucker with great confidence.
And really, Tucker is speaking from experience — 23 years of experience organizing these events, to be precise. He has witnessed performances from multiple artists that have since gone on to create successful careers in entertainment.
Kim Beggs, a celebrated Yukon musician, recounts her early days in the music industry and says she was too nervous to get up on stage many times. In the early 2000’s at the Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau, Beggs was invited on stage by her friend and local musician, Nathalie Edelson. She then discovered she had something people wanted.
“If you have something you want to share, then people are going to want to hear it,” Beggs says. “Coffee houses are important for fostering creativity and are so supportive for emerging talent.”
Sets are 15 minutes long, including getting on and off stage. This gives each performer about 12 minutes of showtime. Secure yourself a spot on stage and sign-up in advance, as there are no guarantees for people registering the night of the event.
In Skagway, the show is on Friday, April 15 at 7 p.m. at Eagle’s Hall on Broadway and 6th Ave. Call (907) 983-3222 to book your spot on stage. The Whitehorse show takes place on Saturday, April 16 at the United Church, located at 601 Main St. Call (867) 633-4580 to register.
The show in Whitehorse starts at 7 p.m. with a $5 admission charge, but doors will open early at 4:30 p.m. for a potluck dinner. Bring something delicious to share!
Whether you are coming to share your talents on stage or simply enjoy some live entertainment in a non-smoking and alcohol-free venue, the Yukon-Alaska Coffee House is sure to please.