Homegrown Martha’s Vineyard music at Chilmark Potluck Jam


Music buffs jammed into the Chilmark Community Center on Saturday night for the latest of the occasional, casual conventions of local musicians that have caught on in the last couple of years thanks to the inspiration and efforts of Alex Karalekas. It’s called the Chilmark Potluck Jam, but it’s more like an exhibition of local musical talent, ranging from teenage hard rockers to 20-something interpreters of genre-defying music to middle-aged folkies. More than two dozen individuals and groups performed — a testament to the maturation of the event. It’s become something of a happening.

While younger Islanders relish the opportunity to sample the creativity of their contemporaries or just to check out a cool scene, older attendees were reminded of musical antecedents in the building that go back more than 50 years, when they were called sing-alongs. Whatever their vantage point, upwards of 200 people — and half a dozen sociable dogs — had stopped in by the end of the evening to eat, listen, and catch up.

The next Jam — scheduled for Saturday, May 14 — will likely be the last this year. These are pointedly off-season events, much appreciated by musicians and lovers of live music, both of which are plentiful, if sometimes hidden, on the Island. As for Mr. Karalekas, a singer-songwriter in his own right, he says, “I’m just trying to keep the spirit alive.”