By Jenna Lazenby
Tyler Godsey, founder of 5 Points Music Sanctuary, Roanoke’s newest live concert venue, has spent much of his life chasing the highs of live music. That he is considered legally deaf never stopped him from seeking what he describes as, “those magical moments when an energy blows through the crowd and everyone is united in love by the music.” As an expectant father, that passion for music was something he looked forward to sharing with his children.
“When my wife told me she was pregnant with my first son I started compiling a playlist of songs that someone who comes into this world should hear, Godsey shared in a recent interview. “When my son was born, I was on cloud nine, and was playing the list I made for him. I didn’t realize he wasn’t hearing any of it.”
Testing confirmed that Godsey’s son was profoundly deaf. Several years later, his daughter would receive the same diagnosis. After spending a lot of time searching for solutions, the Godseys discovered hope in Cochlear Implants.
“That first time your kids gets to hear you tell them that you love them, that’s when you fully understand the true gift of sound,” said Godsey. “I’ve known for a while what my calling is. I fully believe in the power of sound to improve lives and unite communities, and in the power of music to help people heal from pain and reduce symptoms of suffering.”
It was this belief and a desire to create a space where concerts are safe for those with hearing loss that led Godsey to open the 5 Points Music Sanctuary this past January. The venue, located in Old Southwest, on Maple Avenue, was originally constructed in the early nineteen hundreds and served as an Evangelical church for a number of years. When the space became available after its most recent occupant, a yoga studio, moved locations, Godsey started crafting his vision for utilizing the space for live music events, as well as a variety of music therapy programs.
In its first year of operation, Godsey’s goal is to put on somewhere around forty shows. Proceeds from the events will benefit 5 Points Music Foundation, the non-profit organization that will fund music therapy programs and music lesson scholarships for those with hearing loss. The foundation will also advocate for hearing loss awareness and plans to provide hi-fi earplugs to artist and stage workers.
“The shows we put on at The Sanctuary will be different from what other venues offer,” Godsey emphasized. “I don’t want to repackage what is already being done in the Roanoke market, I want to differentiate and complement our market with things that don’t already exist.”
The venue size is one of those differentiators. It holds just shy of 300 people, not as large as The Berglund Performing Arts Theater or The Jefferson Center, but not as small as Roanoke’s other venues that bring in larger acts. The acoustics in the renovated church are also impressive. Prior to opening, additional audio-focused upgrades were made to even further enhance the quality of sound in the venue.
Godsey also spends a lot of time studying and searching for those uniquely talented artists who are a little under the radar, but can deliver high-caliber performances. Once he has a show booked, he goes to work setting the tone of the venue tailored for the specific artist.
The venue opened in January with a raging party that featured Grateful Dead jam band, The Dead Reckoning. It followed with an intimate, seated show featuring classically trained pianist Holly Bowling in March. The Sanctuary’s biggest event to date is coming up on May 14, with an appearance by guitar virtuoso, Stanley Jordan.
“Each show provides the opportunity to create a unique experience,” said Godsey. “It’s why I love targeting different acts. It’s about what complements the music with the right vibe.”
Godsey is also seeking to create other unique music experiences, such as The Legendary Biscuit Sessions. For three Sundays in late April and early May, patrons can enjoy secret recipe biscuits and toppings, paired with musical acts that include Larry Keel, The Floorboards, and the Founding Fathers with Jim Lord.
With all this diversity, there is a show for all types of music lovers and schedules at Roanoke’s newest music venue, where each event is a celebration of sound.
To learn more about The Sanctuary and the 5 Points Music Foundation, visit http://5pointsmusic.com/