Finding Common Grounds for musicians and poets

Andrew Lemon says he wanted to be more involved with the Germantown and Mount Airy communities, but didn’t know how to go about it.

Lemon’s church, the Wyncote-based Calvary Assembly of God, had purchased a property on the corner of Wayne Avenue and Washington Lane in 2007, and completed its renovations as a community center in April 2010 and named it the Common Grounds Coffee House. “We wanted to do something positive for the community but we didn’t know what,” says Lemon, a Jenkintown resident who drives buses outside of volunteering with the Calvary Assembly of God. “How do we do something positive for the community with a part-time staff?” Lemon, 24, quickly learned that Germantown and Mount Airy lack music venues for people under 21-years-old on Friday nights, but offer a surplus of artists.

Since opening its doors to the public last September, Common Grounds has attracted some of those poets, musicians and neighbors by holding community performance nights every Friday at no cost. “I’m surprised how quickly it’s fit into the scene,” says Lemon. Andy Kimbel remembers how 20 years ago, coffeehouse-style music venues had been much more prevalent in Philadelphia.

Kimbel, 55, a Wyndmoor-based songwriter and former jet pilot, has recorded music since 1993, and tours from Seattle to Miami to support his albums.

He’s also served as an open mic night producer at The Point in Bryn Mawr for four years. So, after hearing of Common Grounds Coffee House’s community performance nights that began last fall, Kimbel decided to visit one. He went on to perform at Common Grounds three times since then, most recently in April.

“It’s a really nice place, good sounds, good vibes, and those types of venues are few and far between,” says Kimbel. “You want to leap into the environment.” Lemon says the next step he hopes to see for Common Grounds is to open the cafe during the week and sell coffee to fund their community performance nights and concerts in the future. They currently carry Souderton-based One Village roasted coffee, which they serve at no cost. Common Grounds Coffee House is open every Friday night beginning at 7:30 p.m. 

Andrew Lemon wanted to get involved with the Germantown and Mount Airy communities, but didn’t know how to. Lemon’s church, the Wyncote-based Calvary Assembly of God had purchased a property on the corner of Wayne Avenue and Washington Lane in 2007, and completed its renovations as a community center in April 2010. “We wanted to do something positive for the community but we didn’t know what,” says Lemon, who drives buses outside of his work with the church. “How do we do something positive for the community with a part-time staff?” Lemon, 24, quickly learned that Germantown and Mount Airy lack music scenes and venue, but offer a surplus of artists. And since opening its doors to the public last September, the Common Grounds Coffeehouse has attracted poets, musicians and neighbors by holding community performance nights every Friday night at no cost. “I’m surprised how quickly it’s fit into the scene,” says Lemon, a Jenkintown resident who drives buses in his time outside of the church. Andy Kimbel remembers how 20 years ago, coffeehouse-style music venues had been much more prevalent in Philadelphia. Kimbel, 55, a Wyndmoor-based songwriter and former jet pilot, has recorded music since 1993, and tours from Seattle to Miami to support his albums. He’s also served as an open night producer at The Point in Bryn Mawr for four years,  So when he heard about the Common Grounds Coffee House’s community performance nights that began last Fall, Kimbel thought he’d check it out. He’s performed at Common Grounds three times, most recently in April. “It’s a really nice place, good sounds, good vibe, those types of venues are few and far between,” says Kimbel. “You want to leap into the environment.” Having established itself within the neighborhood, Lemon says the next step is to open Common Grounds Coffeehouse during the day. They carry Souderton-based One Village roasted coffee, and the funds will pay for continuing their community performance nights and concerts. Until then, Common Grounds Coffeehouse is open every Friday night beginning at 7:30. Andrew Lemon wanted to get involved with the Germantown and Mount Airy communities, but didn’t know how to. Lemon’s church, the Wyncote-based Calvary Assembly of God had purchased a property on the corner of Wayne Avenue and Washington Lane in 2007, and completed its renovations as a community center in April 2010. “We wanted to do something positive for the community but we didn’t know what,” says Lemon, who drives buses outside of his work with the church. “How do we do something positive for the community with a part-time staff?” Lemon, 24, quickly learned that Germantown and Mount Airy lack music scenes and venue, but offer a surplus of artists. And since opening its doors to the public last September, the Common Grounds Coffeehouse has attracted poets, musicians and neighbors by holding community performance nights every Friday night at no cost. “I’m surprised how quickly it’s fit into the scene,” says Lemon, a Jenkintown resident who drives buses in his time outside of the church. Andy Kimbel remembers how 20 years ago, coffeehouse-style music venues had been much more prevalent in Philadelphia. Kimbel, 55, a Wyndmoor-based songwriter and former jet pilot, has recorded music since 1993, and tours from Seattle to Miami to support his albums. He’s also served as an open night producer at The Point in Bryn Mawr for four years,  So when he heard about the Common Grounds Coffee House’s community performance nights that began last Fall, Kimbel thought he’d check it out. He’s performed at Common Grounds three times, most recently in April. “It’s a really nice place, good sounds, good vibe, those types of venues are few and far between,” says Kimbel. “You want to leap into the environment.” Having established itself within the neighborhood, Lemon says the next step is to open Common Grounds Coffeehouse during the day. They carry Souderton-based One Village roasted coffee, and the funds will pay for continuing their community performance nights and concerts. Until then, Common Grounds Coffeehouse is open every Friday night beginning at 7:30.

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