Dedicated to promoting traditional, acoustic music
and related arts in the greater Saginaw area.

who we are

OTSMA was formed in February of 2003 by local musicians and other members of the community in Saginaw, MI, who love music and think people should enjoy making music as well as listening to it. Those founding members saw the need for a grassroots effort to keep traditional musical styles alive in the region. OTSMA members and the larger community are now benefiting from that founding vision.

We encourage people of all ages to come out and join in the fun of making music.

a little OTSMA history

Initially, we got together in public places a couple times a month for "round robin" jam sessions. We began been meeting at Fuzzy's Ice Cream Parlor on Court Street in Saginaw, then held open mic sessions at the Jerome School, then at a school in Zilwaukee, then at the White Crow Conservatory, and have met regularly for basement sessions at various churches. We have bounced around from here to there as members have arranged for the various performance and jam locations. We are presently holding regular sessions in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church, in Saginaw, MI. They have a great music program there and have graciously allowed us the use of their facilities.

the Saginaw River Log Jam

Beginning in June of 2005 we began to take live music into senior care facilities and other elderly residences, as well as other public venues. We continue to do that today, and rotate the location so that we cover as many places as we can within our area. For these performances, we are presently calling ourselves the “Saginaw River Log Jam”. We ask that elder-care residence managers, or folks with family or friends who live in an elder-care residence please contact us if you would like to see a residence included on our “Saginaw River Log Jam” circuit.

other public events

On an intermittent basis we schedule various kinds of public events, indoors and out of doors. Sometimes we are in a park, sometimes in coffee shop, or are the entertainment for fundraisers, etc. Those events have varied formats, but generally our Saginaw River Log Jam public events sessions are a blend of open mic and rehearsed Log Jam performances. They are generally built around a "round robin" format, and we never know in advance exactly what will happen, what tunes we will be doing, whose songs we will be playing, or who will be up at the mic.

what we do at our jam sessions

OTSMA round robin jams consist of members of OTSMA who get together to play music. Here's how it works: we sit around a circle, and form a spontaneous ensemble of guitars, basses, fiddles, mandolins, bouzoukis, dobros, banjos, drums, bodhrans, pipes, whistles, ukeleles, harmonicas, and more. The musicians range in skill from beginners to professionals.

You can take a turn leading a tune. Or you can follow. You can play along or sing along. Or you can just tap your toes and enjoy the experience. The number of musicians at these events varies from 5 up to 15, and we are an ever-changing and dynamic ensemble.

If you like family sing-alongs around the piano or campfire, accompanied by good instrumental skills, covering a wide ranging repertoire, then OTSMA Wednesday evening sessions are for you. EVERYONE IS WELCOME.

When we are not performing as "Saginaw River Log Jam", we meet for weekly sessions to jam and/or prepare for upcoming performances. We do not have any regularly scheduled open mic session, but the fact is that all our Saginaw River Log Jam sessions are essentially a blend of open mic and open jam sessions. They are generally built around the "round robin" format, but we never know in advance exactly what will happen, what tunes we will be doing, whose songs we will be playing, or who will be up at the mic. We do have some tunes we love and play often, but the repertoire keeps growing, and every session is a new experience.


We warmly welcome anyone, young and old, who enjoys playing or listening to a variety of traditional music. All levels of skill are welcome. Just bring your favorite songs, your instruments, your voices and your ears.

styles and musical influences

Music played at OTSMA sessions has included celtic, bluegrass, blues, gospel, cajun, zydeco, chanty, children’s songs, and folk ballads, and more, including old favorites from pop, country, folk-rock, alternative and reggae, all played on acoustic instruments (including some that need minor amplification, such as electronic keyboards, finger-style guitars, acoustic bass guitars, etc.). Some members perform original songs. Other members keep us well rooted with their knowledge of traditional musical forms.