By John Lynds
What Wally’s Cafe Jazz Club is to Berklee School of Music, Maverick Market is to Zumix. For decades Wally’s has welcomed musicians studying at Berklee to come across the street and jam for hours on end.
At Maverick Market during any given week instructors, students and supporters of Zumix can be found playing music, taking part in impromptu jam sessions and generally having a good time making music.
So it comes as no surprise when Maverick Market’s owner Dan Lyons teamed up with Zumix to bring adult music classes to one of the unoccupied retail spaces at Maverick Market. Lyons and Zumix’s Board President Steve Snyder, whose band Don’t be Denied has played several gigs at Maverick Market, collaborated on the idea over several months.
“We wanted to come up with something that benefited both Zumix and Maverick Market,” said Snyder. “Dan (Lyons) has opened his doors to many talented musicians and instructors at Zumix so it was a no brainer to open a satellite learning space at Maverick Market. Our goal is to capture adults who have always wanted to learn to play an instrument or adults who play an instrument but want to improve or learn how to read music.”
The result of the collaboration between Maverick Market resulted in ‘Play it Forward’ a play on words, said Snyder, of ‘pay it forward’.
“The concept is that adults can come down, sign up for music lessons that are a better hourly rate than you would find elsewhere and help support both Zumix and Maverick Market,” said Snyder. “Maybe some patrons come in, grab a bite to eat at Maverick Market before the lesson begins, hang out for a bit and learn an instrument. Then, eventually, some of these new talents will be jamming at Maverick Market’s Open Mic Nights or other shows. There’s really no music venue in East Boston where you can see live music, have a drink, grab some good food. I think Maverick Market is sort of becoming that in the neighborhood.
For his part, Lyons said since arriving in Eastie he has been impressed by Zumix’s staff and students and knew it was a worthy neighborhood organization he wanted to get involved with.
“Without music I would not be where I am today,” said Lyons. “What Zumix does for our community’s youth is nothing short of amazing, I wish Zumix was around where I grew up as a kid. As a musician and entrepreneur it’s very exciting to see Zumix now expanding to offer their great services to adults with Play It Forward. You’re never too old to learn something new, I didn’t start learning guitar until I was into my 20’s. Now over 10 years later there’s still a lot left to learn, I’m happy to say I was one of the first to sign up for weekly lessons at Play It Forward! Hendrix here I come! Zumix and my restaurant Maverick’s have always been great neighbors but I think we will make even better roommates here at Maverick Marketplace. Open Mic is every Wednesday night here at Maverick’s which is regularly frequented by Zumix staff and alumni. It’s a great mesh of our two worlds and something that has become very special in our community. Come check it out, it just might inspire you to sign up for some lessons!”
Zumix Executive Director Madeleine Steczynski said the partnership is sure to produce wonderful results for Zumix’s mission in the neighborhood.
“The thing I am most excited excited about is that the time is right to expand our music community in Eastie in a way that is fun,” she said. “This idea wouldn’t work well in vacuum, but it works really beautifully at this location in relationship with what Maverick Market and Zumix is already doing. I believe the crossover of communities is going to be amazing. We are going to see more people making music, meeting new friends and caring more bout the community and Zumix at a time when our (Zumix) kids need adults to care about them.”
From left, Zumix alumni Rosa Vazquez, Zumix Executive Director Madeleine Steczynski and Zumix’s Board President Steve Snyder inside Zumix’s new adult music class space, Play it Forward!, at Maverick Market.