Two years ago, Speck’s Bar & Grill owner Debbie Harrod approached Topeka musician Kyler Carpenter with an idea for creating some type of entertainment for kids.
“We were going to do something with birthdays, and somehow we came up with open jam,” Harrod said. “Kyler is so good with kids. He gets them to come out of their shell, and even if they can’t sing, he gets them to do their ABCs.
“He just never gives himself enough credit for anything,” Harrod added. “The kids just love him, and he always includes everyone and makes sure everyone gets up there.”
Since then, the all-ages open jam has become a weekly tradition at Speck’s, 2105 S.W. Mission, which will celebrate the event’s success by hosting an anniversary jam Sunday, Feb. 22 beginning at 5 p.m.
“We have had a lot of people hop on board and help with the jam, and the two-year (event) brings together all the hundreds of people that have helped make this happen,” Carpenter said. “To celebrate that, we are bringing everyone together who has been part of the jam.”
While the anniversary jam will be held indoors, the summer jams at Speck’s have been known to include a bubble pool and sidewalk chalk for the kids.
“If you are going to come for the first time, you are going to get a great burger, great fries, great service, great food and a lot of friends and fun with a comfortable atmosphere,” Carpenter said. “If you are just coming to the jam, I am going to ask if you are coming here to play or sing. But if you are not here to play or sing, then it’s OK to just listen, because that is the most important part of live music — the people that come to enjoy the live music.
“You can go a lot of places on Sunday night,” Carpenter added, “and you might find some live music with one guy playing all night long. You might really like him or not really like him, but at Speck’s you don’t have to wait very long — you can hear the next person. There is so much talent that comes up here every Sunday night.”
Carpenter describes the jam as a unique experience and said he loves watching how it helps local entertainers.
“What I love most about the jam is watching the kids grow,” Carpenter said. “When something grows, you never know how its going to grow. So you just kind of get on for the ride and hope that people keep coming out and young musicians continue to discover this place as a place they can get behind the microphone and just share their talents.”
For more information about Speck’s Bar & Grill, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/speckstavern.topeka.