Will Morris, co-owner of The Silver Orange
Will Morris, 41, is a Sacramento-based behaviorist, working with Axis Applied Integrated Services. With his co-workers, Emily Weller and Christina Huggett, Will is one-third of the ownership of The Silver Orange, Sacramento’s newest teen center and part-time all-ages concert venue. The Silver Orange celebrated its grand opening on February 3 and has played host to numerous concerts, art and computer programming workshops—and Dungeons & Dragons sessions. Morris said that he and his partners want to provide a safe, fun environment for teens to learn social skills, play games and have fun. Along with his professional qualifications as a behaviorist, Morris is an avid Rubik’s Cube enthusiast, musician, and dedicated collector of hats—he has more than 20 in his expanding collection.
Where did the name The Silver Orange come from?
It came from me talking with my kids trying to come up with a name. Somebody threw out the idea of silver and orange. I wanted it to be orange because orange is my favorite color. When I looked up silver and orange on the internet to see if anybody else had that name, what came up was that silver and orange are two of the five words in the English language that don’t have rhymes. I thought, “Well, that’s cool,” and I liked the way it sounded. That’s the short version of the story.
Why did you decide to open this place?
A lot of reasons. One, it was a personal one. I wanted a place that was safe and comfortable [for] my kids and I. Where we could hang out, play pool, do music and stuff like that—where we wouldn’t have to worry about being in an adult space like a bar or something. I work in the field of behaviorism. We work with a lot of kids, teaching them social skills. Emily and I started talking about that original idea and thought it would be cool to open up a space [for] the public so that the community could have a resource where kids could learn social skills in a fun, relaxing, safe setting. There seemed to be a need for it. … It’s [for] that age group where you don’t fit in, so we thought, “Well, what if we had a place where parents could just drop their kids off after school and … it’d be just $7 to get in?”
Do you feel venues exclusively for teens and all-ages venues go hand in hand?
[We] kind of morphed into [an all-ages music venue]. We wanted the kids to have access to music equipment, music lessons and stuff like that. We wanted them to be able to make their own bands, and provide a space where they can perform. That was kind of how we started that idea. We made all-ages events so everyone could come. I love it. Sacramento doesn’t have that many all-ages venues.
Is there a message you’re hoping to send to Sacramento’s music scene?
I think a good message to get out to the music scene in Sacramento is that we have awesome talent. And we need to be able to provide a space for them to express [and] nurture their talent. I think The Silver Orange is a space where we can do that, and also provide them the opportunity to get to know the music business at a young age. When they play The Silver Orange, it’s a paid gig. They get compensated for their performances.
Is there an activity at The Silver Orange that you personally enjoy the most?
I teach the Rubik’s Cube classes on Thursdays. I love those in particular. It’s my class, so I guess I have to love it, but I do love it. I love the kids’ enthusiasm. We’ve got some awesome teens that come in, [they’re] a little hesitant to learn the Rubik’s Cube, but then they pick it up really quickly. I really like that class. It’s hard to pick a favorite. I also love just [hosting the concerts] and watching the kids go up for open-mic night when they’ve been practicing throughout the month. We do an open-mic night every fourth Saturday, and so they get to sign up and perform. Maybe they only had one or two songs that they’ve been practicing. Then we’ve had teens that have worked to build a whole set. We tell them they have to have a minimum of a 45-minute set, with a minimum of three original songs. If they can build that up, we’ll sign them up for a full concert and pay them for their show. To me that’s the other awesome part.
Tell me about you’re affinity for hats?
I have a very large collection, though I’ve noticed I tend to wear one or two here at The Silver Orange. I wear different hats for different meetings, maybe that’s weird, but that’s what I do. I decide this is the hat which goes with this type of event. I’ve always loved hats ever since I was a teen. I even have some that I’ve had since I was a teen that I wear once in awhile.