In Winchester, Virginia, there’s music in the air. Though jazz music originated hundreds of miles away in New Orleans, Louisiana, the style has evolved across time, and the country thanks to brilliant Black musicians like Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. And today, it's found its way to the only jazz club in Winchester, Flat 9.
Flat 9 was founded by Daniel Kelly II, a Shenandoah University graduate and musician as energetic as jazz music itself. Daniel’s dream of a jazz club began when he was a sophomore in college, back in 2015. He began his venture into the music business shortly thereafter, as Dan Kelly II music, teaching music lessons and playing gigs (Daniel is an excellent drummer). Over the next few years, as his business grew and he increasingly played more gigs, Daniel recognized a need in his community, “There’s a huge niche in Winchester for people who enjoy jazz, but there was no place for them to come together. A jazz club is a place for people to hang and destress, and see a different perspective through the musicians.” Daniel ran with his idea and began Flat 9 out of Winchester’s Innovault coworking space. The venue gave him 45 tickets to sell for the first performance, and he sold out the space at a maximum capacity of 55 tickets, “A lot of people doubted that I could do it, but it’s about believing in yourself. If you have a thought, you have to embellish it and manifest what you want.”
After Flat 9’s first event was a huge success, people wanted more. Daniel recognized that if he wanted his business to be as big as he believed it could be, he needed to take it seriously. He stopped using middlemen to organize his jazz club and took control of the operations himself. Then, in 2022, he made the decision to change the name of his business, “I want my business to be a conglomerate, like Berkshire Hathaway, but for other musicians and music companies. You don’t see Warren Buffet’s name on the business though, right?” Daniel Kelly II Music became M.E. Opus, which stands for Music, Entertainment Collections, “It adds a little bit of intrigue, and makes people dig a little deeper to find out ‘What is that?’”
Next on the horizon for M.E. Opus is a rehearsal hall. Once again, Daniel can feel the need for musicians in his community, “There are 75 bands in our area and the closest rehearsal spaces are in D.C. or Richmond. A lot of people need a space to practice music, teach lessons, and prepare for concerts or tours.” He wants the rehearsal hall to be a welcoming environment, and a safe space for people to play music, and try new things. The two business ventures, Flat 9, and the rehearsal hall couldn’t be a more perfect pair, “I wake up every day and think about how amazing it is: people playing at the club need a place to rehearse, and people practicing at the rehearsal hall need a place to play concerts!” After a brief intermission at the Flat 9 Jazz Club, performances will return on September 9th and 16th at The American Bar in Winchester. Tickets are free with a recommended donation of $10.