Tyler musician and singer Owen Tiner is serving as the coordinator for Tunes at Noon, a program held each Thursday on the downtown Tyler square.
During Tunes at Noon, performers set up on the square. Food trucks and community organizations also are on site.
It is an opportunity to expose performers to a larger audience.
We talked to Tiner recently to hear about music in East Texas and his hopes for the live performances on the square.
How would you assess the live music scene in Tyler?
The city of Tyler and the surrounding area has phenomenal talent in musicians, singers, songwriters and performers. While there are definitely places that local talent is on display, it is currently fairly limited but growing.
I believe its potential is far beyond what anyone is thinking it could be.
What is the idea behind Tunes at Noon?
Being a musician myself, I’ve been able to witness a lot of the revitalization of downtown areas in some of the venues I play. Tyler is no exception and I could see a lot of potential for the need to have something happening in downtown that isn’t limited to nightlife or festivals. A good number of people work downtown and even more are considering it with the renovation of Plaza Tower and the Peoples Petroleum Building.
What better way to get them out and out of their offices at lunch! They’d get to meet each other, exchange ideas, business contacts and referrals in an informal setting. They wouldn’t have to have a 15-minute drive to a lunch destination, and I know enough local talent that can keep the atmosphere fresh, hip and progressive.
Food trucks are a big thing right now and Tyler is obtaining more and more of them. Plus, there’s something about eating outside with music that we all love. Tyler Main Street was already thinking about the idea when I brought my version to them, so we just went with it. Now, in only our 10th week, it has grown into more than we had originally planned and we couldn’t be happier.
What is the atmosphere like during a Tunes at Noon?
It’s a mixture of all professions, all walks of life (two- and four-legged), and all ages. We have young professionals, seasoned professionals, lawyers, business owners, people on jury duty, teachers, children and some that just get off work and come for the music. Not all live or work in or around downtown.
Some people make the trip across town for the event and more discover the fun each week. One of the great ideas that Amber Varona (Main Street director) had was to put all the tables and umbrellas together. Conversations begin between strangers over a grilled cheese sandwich and they may even step out and play one of the games set up on the side of the square.
Our sponsors have been very generous with their time as well. They are all on board for the success of this little program and it shows. It’s light. Not crowded. Very much like a relaxing day at a city park, but with its own originality.
Who are some of the singer-musicians that you hope to bring to the square?
I have booked every musician I wanted so far. As I stated earlier, the talent here is incredible. Some of the musicians we’ve had are Heather Little, Stefan Cotter, Jopi Drew, Travis Bolt, Heather Nikole Harper, Michael Morse, Dustin Becker and Tiffani Watkins. Lucas Kelm and Chris Rasco put on a great show. I even get to step in here and there for a little help on the mandolin.
In the coming weeks, look for Lee Mathis, Patrick Freden, Ian Power, Marc Beevers, Kayla Ray (very excited about that one), Meredith Crawford and Clint Alford.
I am so very blessed to know all of these folks professionally and personally. Bringing them to Tunes at Noon has been great for them in meeting new fans as well.
If someone wants to perform at Tunes at Noon, what should they do?
Contact me through our Facebook page: facebook.com/tunesatnoontyler. We will be booking through the first two weeks in October.