If you've visited Mike's Bar and Grill on a Thursday night, you may have seen a group of musicians playing together and having a great time! That group is called Strathmore Acoustic Conversations (SAC), which is all about bringing the community together through a shared love of music. Facilitator of community music events Brenda-le Graff said the main goal is to have fun and spend time together, regardless of skill level.

"Anybody is welcome, you don't necessarily have to be a musician to join us. You might be somebody who is interested in becoming a musician, maybe you had guitar lessons when you were 6-10 years old and you can probably knock out about three or four chords, but you've never really put your heart into it and you're thinking you'd like to. Come along, see if it fits your style and your liking, and if nothing else, the friendships that get developed around the table or around the circle are amazing and you have no idea where it can take you from there," she said.

Graff is incredibly passionate about music, and is a strong advocate for all the benefits music can bring. It's not just a fun hobby for her; it's a way to develop friendships and improve yourself on many levels.

"Music provides healing. Whether it's emotional, whether it's physical, it doesn't matter. Music is something that can flow through your blood in the same way that calmness can. The other thing, music builds community. We have literally had people in the audience that have walked up to us and said 'we're new in town and this is the greatest thing that's happened to us since we got here'. I had one lady from Newfoundland and she said 'Oh my gosh you guys just made me feel like I was back home again. So I challenge and I urge people to open up, if there's some little spot within your life that's just feeling empty and unfulfilled. At least give this a shot, you might be surprised what kind of a miracle music can be to you."

As for how music heals physically, Graff spoke about how it can help relieve stress, which has positive physical benefits. Music therapy is also another way to physical heal through music. 

The group meets every Thursday at Mike's Bar and Grill from 6:00-8:00 PM, and it's completely free to join! There's also a free Ukulele Strum Club from 5:00-6:00, but Graff asks that you do sign up for that so she can keep track of who's coming and who to expect. If you're interested in joining the Ukulele Club you can contact Graff at 403-934-8516, or through their Facebook group. You can also contact her just for any other questions you may have. She hopes to see you there!  

"There's nothing more beautiful than watching music create bonds between people and form friendships. My two biggest hashtags are 'music heals the soul' and 'music builds community' because I've watched both of those two miracles happen over and over and over again."