Art in Your Backyard: The Sitka Monthly Grind

When it comes to entertainment in “your backyard,” nothing fits the bill like the Sitka Monthly Grind.  This local variety show begins its season in September and takes its final bow in March each year.  Advertised as family-friendly and non-political, it is pure art by Sitkans for Sitkans.

When it comes to entertainment in “your backyard,” nothing fits the bill like the Sitka Monthly Grind.  This local variety show begins its season in September and takes its final bow in March each year.  Advertised as family-friendly and non-political, it is pure art by Sitkans for Sitkans.

Jeff Budd founded the Sitka Monthly Grind. After being introduced to the concept while living in Ketchikan, Budd moved to Sitka in ‘95 and started his own version. “I thought Sitka would be a great place to give it a try. I met with Ted Howard, Julie Schmidt, Fiona Ferguson and Doug Barn. Gradually, after some trial and error, we figured out how to do it.”

Each Grind has a different theme. Some themes change yearly, but some remain consistent. The “Fiddle Grind” and the “Original Artist Grind” are produced every year and always eagerly anticipated.

Regardless of the theme, the art is some of the best that Sitkans share with each other. Audiences are able to watch singers, dancers, poets, comedy, and even magic acts. Every once in a while, a visiting group may share their talents with Sitkans as well. It all depends on who steps up to showcase their talent for that particular Grind.

And, just like the weather, if you don’t care for a specific act, just wait 5 minutes. “I cannot think of any real klunkers over the years. Every grind, to my thinking, has had a wealth of excellent presentations. Sitka audiences are the most welcoming and appreciative anywhere.”

Budd fondly remembers one particular act “when Mr. Joe Montagna performed a song by Joe Cocker” and certainly got “a little help from his friends” – receiving a lengthy standing ovation.

“I also remember a time early on when we had some little girls in tutus on stage dancing to classical music. Within literally 30 seconds they were off, and a heavy metal band from the high school was up and slaying it. This had to be one of the world’s fastest juxtapositions ever!”

Wanna add to the fun or just help out? “We are always looking for more people to help with set up, scene changes, and take down. We also love seeing new faces and new ideas on the stage.”

In addition to the show being family friendly, so is the price. Each ticket is only $5. Or as Budd says Ray Troll likes to say, “the new free.”

Audience members are also encouraged to bring a homemade dessert to share with everyone and enter into the dessert contest. “To my sophisticated taste they are all winners!”

So for $5, a person gets great entertainment for about 90 minutes, plus a dessert and coffee or tea. Doesn’t get more backyard than that.

SHARE POST

The Sitka Winter Arts Guide is out on stands now!

Pick up your copy at one of our locations or check it out below.

Sign up for our Mailing List!

Please enter a valid email address.
Please enter an email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.