Posts tagged Music Sandwiched In
Music Sandwiched In: A mom's point of view

by Melanie Coblentz

Are you looking for a fun, free activity to introduce your children to a range of music? Or for a place to enjoy live music with a friend over lunch? While the library might not be your first thought for food or live music, the Spartanburg library has been supporting the Upstate art community for the last twenty years through the “Music Sandwiched In” series.

The offering to the public was initiated to celebrate the Spartanburg library headquarters’ new building, but despite being a feature of the community for more than two decades, many people have yet to experience it. I was unaware of the offering until one day my young son and I heard music flowing through the library – selections from the local production of The Music Man being performed. What a treat! Since then, I’ve found that you can see jazz, traditional German music, musicals, and even artists who have collaborated with Dolly Parton for free!

A performance in the spring I'm especially looking forward to is a newcomer to the Upstate. She is a performer with the Spartanburg Philharmonic, and just happens to be married to the Maestro Stefan Sanders. I was privileged to be in the audience during their Philharmonic debut, and I am very excited to see her perform solo.

Young or old, you are welcome to come enjoy lunch and music together, at the Music Sandwiched In events. Did I mention lunch? Do not worry if you forget to pack a lunch, you can purchase lunch once you get there. One of the best chicken salad sandwiches I've had in a long time plus live music, all for under $10. Where else can you get a deal like that?

I hope you join my daughter and I at the upcoming events. She'll be that happy one dancing her heart out, off to the side.


Melanie Coblentz is freelance writer, currently living in the Upstate. She is a regular contributor to the family blogs Kidding Around Greenville & Kidding Around Spartanburg. She enjoys sharing her love of the arts with her children, and in her youth was a member of the West Coast Symphony’s Youth Orchestra in Sarasota, Florida. 

Music Sandwiched In: A Retrospective


Todd Stephens (MSI).jpg

In April 1997, when the Headquarters of the Library moved from the edge of Converse Heights to downtown Spartanburg, we knew the information age was on the cusp of significant change as the Internet shouldered its way into the mainstream. If the acquisition and presentation of information was to undergo a revolution, then the library must remain pliable and change as well.

Libraries are not passive institutions.  Libraries are a vital and intricate part of a community’s educational and cultural fabric. To remain relevant, Libraries must program spaces in and out of its walls.

Nineteen years ago, the Headquarters Library Opening Festivities Planning Committee, chaired by Wendy Mayrose, focused on programming that engaged, educated, and entertained the greater Spartanburg community.  The planning committee did not have the benefit of present day technology.  They did not have access to analytics and the street level analysis of household behaviors.  What the committee did have was a keen understanding of the importance of meaningful interpersonal relationships and programming public spaces with ideas and information.

With this mindset as the frame, Hank Barnet, serving as a member of the planning committee, suggested the creation of Music Sandwiched In, a lunchtime program featuring local musicians – a rather simple concept.

Since 1997, thousands of individuals have enjoyed jazz, bluegrass, sneak peaks of the Spartanburg Little Theatre’s musical productions from Footloose to Hairspray, and of course the always popular Foothills Oompah Band.  During Music Sandwiched In the doors of the Barrett Room are left open, and the 105,000 square foot library is filled with music, laughter, and applause.

Hank’s idea has blossomed into a musical program that has continued to enrich the lives of others for 19 years.  Music Sandwiched In has been replicated at our branch locations and has led to spin off programs such as Books Sandwiched In and Cinema Sandwiched In.

Music Sandwiched In is free, entertaining, and intergenerational.  Our audiences come from White Oak Estates, Boiling Springs High School, Summit Hills and Meeting Street Academy (just to name a few).  There are weeks when we have school busses lined up with the buses from our assisted living facilities.  As a community, we are strong when an 8-year-old is able to sit next to a 98-year-old and share in the same experience.  We are active when we allow music to flood our senses and to stimulate our thinking. 

The Spartanburg Philharmonic have brought first rate musicians into the library for our public to enjoy – for free.  It is the vitality in this partnership that has allowed Music Sandwiched In to continue to enrich the lives of others.  A simple, yet impactful idea:  music and a sandwich.

For the full list of Music Sandwiched In concerts, click HERE.