The Silvermont jam session is unusual not only because of its elegant setting but also for its interesting form. The musicians—typically there are around fifteen, and eighteen is the limit—are seated in a large circle with a single microphone on a stand to be passed around. Each player is expected to choose and announce a tune, start the song, and lead the group as the tune is played and sung. And so the evening goes, song after song. Meanwhile, non-players who are there to enjoy listening sit in the hallway or in an adjacent connecting dining room area. Some audience members flatfoot or clog a little whenever a particularly bright tune is played. Music played at the Silvermont jam ranges from bluegrass and old-time to country and gospel. Since this session is truly open to all who want to participate, there’s even an occasional jazz or classical player in the mix.
Folks who come to listen must also check in at the kiosk as regulars (scan card) or as visitors.