Backstage with Sylvia Johnston

Backstage with Sylvia Johnston

As the Owner/Operator of Cornerstone Music Cafe, Sylvia Johnston is never bored. Built on a strong belief in the magic of music, Cornerstone Music Cafe is a unique business that does it all, acting as a live music venue, a cafe, and a provider of high-quality music lessons.


Listen to the podcast:


After returning from her travels to Europe and Africa, Sylvia started working at Cornerstone as a receptionist in 2004. At the time, Cornerstone was just a music studio but it soon evolved to become much more. 


Sylvia and her husband purchased Cornerstone Music Cafe in 2011and she says she hasn’t been bored since! In addition to operating a music studio and running a cafe, Cornerstone Music Cafe regularly hosts live music performances. To date, Cornerstone has booked more than 250 events through Stagehand and hosted artists such as Amy Bishop, Carolyn Harley, Kate Stevens, Jory Kinjo, and Jay Semko.


Although the pandemic poses many challenges, Sylvia and her team at Cornerstone are finding ways to adapt and continue supporting the community. Inside the Cafe, visitors can purchase goods from local vendors and pick up takeout options from a food-to-go fridge. Music lessons are now offered in-person or online, and throughout the summer Cornerstone featured local musicians by hosting live music performances outside the Cafe.


Reflecting on how Cornerstone has adapted so far, Sylvia says she’s hopeful that the current situation will motivate people to seek out change.


“Change is really hard, but change can be good. I’m kind of excited to see what comes out of all of thiswhether our communities get stronger and whether people recognize that they need to get out more and support the music community when we get through the initial part of this.”



View Cornerstone Music Cafe’s Stagehand profile to learn more about the venue.