The Common Room Recording Grant is intended to support musicians who are ready to record their songs in studio but are limited by funds and experience. (Robyn Roste photo)

The Common Room Recording Grant is intended to support musicians who are ready to record their songs in studio but are limited by funds and experience. (Robyn Roste photo)

Community-funded recording grant benefits Abbotsford songwriters

Common Room Music Collective starts ongoing grant to help musicians with recording costs

by Robyn Roste, Contributor

A Fraser Valley-based group of musicians and event planners called the Common Room Music Collective (CRMC) is starting an ongoing recording grant to help local musicians with recording costs.

The CRMC is holding an evening of music and community on Friday, July 26 from 7 to 10 p.m. to launch and fundraise for the Common Room Recording Grant. The group wants to raise $2,500 at the launch event to fund their first grant.

“The Fraser Valley has a well-crafted music scene here. We want to help play a role in it too,” said John Dunning, one of the event organizers and members of the CRMC.

The Common Room Recording Grant is intended to support musicians who are ready to record their songs in studio but are limited by funds and experience.

In addition to the money, grant recipients will also receive mentorship from CRMC members for everything from budgeting and finding the right studio to planning tours and events.

Dunning said inspiration for the grant came from the group’s goal of supporting a sustainable arts scene in the Fraser Valley. In the past two-and-a-half years, the group has held several songwriter nights in members’ living rooms.

“We started doing songwriter nights because we had a lot of friends who had written one or two songs, and played guitar, and we thought we should show each other our music that we’ve written,” he said.

What began as a small group of friends grew through word-of-mouth to an average of 25 musicians attending the gatherings.

At the songwriter nights, musicians come with one or two songs prepared and put their name into a hat. Those whose names are drawn play their songs for the group and receive advice and feedback.

The artists who attend the songwriter nights range from people who are interested in writing songs or have written a few but aren’t sure what to do next to those who have found commercial success and are touring.

“Our goal is to keep everything in the Fraser Valley,” Dunning said. “If we’ve learned anything from doing these songwriter nights it is we have this really deep pool of talent.”

On July 26, the grant will launch at the Common Room Recording Grant Kick-Off event and applications will begin being accepted. Those interested in applying can learn more and download an application form at

Chosen by a jury process, recipient artists will receive the grant once it’s fully funded. It will be a rolling grant, awarded whenever the fund reaches $2,500.

Hosted by the Kariton Art Gallery and in partnership with Creative BC, the kick-off event will feature live music from Kuri, Whippoorwill and Saint Solider.

Attendees will also have the chance to learn more about the CRMC and the Common Room Recording Grant. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance online or at the door. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards funding the grant.

“The artists performing are all people we’ve met at the songwriter nights,” said Dunning. “Attending this event would be the way to find out more and learn more about what we’re doing and aiming for.”

Launched in 2018, the CRMC aims to provide a safe and supportive network for Fraser Valley artists.

Their goal is to bring musicians together to share their craft and encourage collaboration.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Sarah De Klein and her family have created a team – one of many – for the Move4Communitas fitness challenge and fundraiser. (Submitted photo)
Communitas in Abbotsford holds virtual fitness challenge

Move4Communitas started March 1 and runs for 8 weeks

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of March 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

Most Read