Local Music Collective Mentor presentations at the Donald Heiter Center in Lewisburg

Local Music Collective Mentor presentations at the Donald Heiter Center in Lewisburg

Local Music Collective members offered informative talks and demonstrations of their musical instruments to young people at the Donald Heiter Community Center in Lewisburg, PA. Flora Eyster presented on flute, “Meet the Flute Family.” Flora brought over 40 flutes and did demonstrations, displays,  and shared the history of the flutes’ mechanics and materials.

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Hope Kopf presented on West African music to the kids at DHCC summer camp. She did a fine job, giving all the kids some real hands-on experience with a variety of percussion instruments. They got to make lots of sound, but well-controlled by Hope. A definite success.

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Urie Kline introduced contemporary Taiko performance to the kids at the Donald Heiter Community Center. He placed the art form within the context of Japanese and American historical developments. While Taiko is a fairly recent development, it has roots in traditional Japanese musical elements, making it a perfect point of entry for listeners unfamiliar with that culture’s music. The demonstration was tailored to include audience participation as well!

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LMC Musicians Meet Their Young Musicians!

LMC Mentors Meet Their Young Musicians!
On Saturday, May 2, 2015, members of the Local Music Collective took the next big step in fulfilling the mission of our (very first!) grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Volunteers from the Local Music Collective membership set up shop in The Donald L. Heiter Community Center in Lewisburg to show prospective young musicians a thing or two about the instruments that they love to play. (Rob Ensinger and his crew from Robert M. Sides Music also brought a wide variety of wind instruments for kids to try.)

Our sixteen volunteer Local Music Collective musicians brought their instruments and their unbounded enthusiasm to an afternoon during which young wannabe musicians from the area had the opportunity to discover and explore the musical sounds that most intrigued them. The goal was for these budding musicians to find the mentor and the instrument that felt like the best personal match, and our LMC volunteers definitely succeeded in connecting with some very happy future players and listeners. SGC7226


















So here’s a high volume shout-out to all of our volunteer mentors: Ferdie Alama, guitar; Bruce Barr, guitar; Annie Clark, stage presence and electric bass; Joe DeCristopher, guitar; Audra DePrisco, ukulele; Jeremy DePrisco, guitar and electronic music; Flora Eyster, flute; Rich Grace, banjo; Bob Gutheinz, hammer dulcimer; Carl Kirby, mandolin; Urie Kline, Taiko drumming; Hope Kopf, African drumming; Larry Mitchell, piano; Jack Pyers, bass and recording preparation; Stu Shrawder, drums; Stan Sloditskie, accordion; and Fred Strickland, electric bass.
In addition, other LMC members provided essential support throughout the day, greeting families as they arrived, explaining the event, and helping interested kids sign up for the summer lesson series. These members included John Sweeney, Cindy Cali and Loren Rhoades and Taylor Fleming. Bravo, everyone for your contributions to the long-term health of local music!SGC7200
The afternoon concluded with a concert featuring all of the volunteer mentors. Each musician contributed a favorite song and, in fine LMC jam tradition, enlisted a number of fellow mentors for their musical assistance.

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At the end of the day, eleven young people had found the mentors and instruments of their choice and then signed up for a series of three introductory lessons to be given at The Heiter Center over the summer. As of this writing, those lessons have begun, and one of our mentors, Flora Eyster, reports that her flute student was literally jumping for joy at her first lesson.
Finally, a tremendous amount of planning went into the development of the Mentors for Young Musicians program. We would be remiss not to thank the folks who did so much to make this event happen: Annie Clark, Flora Eyster, Fred Strickland, John Sweeney, and Larry Lawson. And, we are grateful to member Scott Canouse who spent the entire day taking a beautiful series of photos that documented this wonderful event. And Keith Hummel for extraordinary sound. Thank you all!!

Local Music Collective – Mentors for Young Musicians – Bios

LMC Mentors, bios

Ferdie Alama (guitar)

Ferdie started playing guitar at a young age, and was inspired by watching folks like Chet Atkins and Les Paul play on TV. He had the great fortune of meeting Chet Atkins in New York City in 1991, and he asked Chet how he could become a good guitar player. Chet’s answer: “Ferdie, go to your room and practice 10 hours a day.” Unfortunately, he was never able to do more than 8. While Ferdie never got to play quite like Chet, he still finds it very rewarding, and these days particularly enjoy songs with complex rhythms played with a finger-picking style. Playing guitar has given Ferdie much pleasure over the years, and he would love to help others to find that same enjoyment for themselves.

Bruce Barr (guitar)

Bruce Barr currently performs music from his 25+ years of song writing. Bruce accompanies himself on guitar, and he is sometimes joined by percussionist Tim Attinger.  Punctuated with humor and irony, his songs reflect his life and the lives of those around him.

Bruce has been playing guitar for 50 years, with a focus on finger-picking and interesting chord progressions.  He plays acoustic and electric guitar, mostly in the genres of folk, blues, pop/rock, and R&B, with additional forays into country and reggae.

Annie Clark (stage presence)

Local artist and musician Annie Clark has a very full gig bag of performance skills based on a lifetime of ‘trying everything’.   Drawn to the stage as an elementary student, the guitar as a teenager and opera as an adult, Annie has been a lifelong practitioner of acting, singing, playing an instrument, making art, designing sets, directing, promoting and best of all, teaching. Her stage presence and performance skills were sharpened by stand-up comedy and improvisational theater classes. She plans to share an array of tips and knowledge on how to “be” on stage.

Joe DeCristopher (guitar)

Joe is a long-admired and highly respected area musician. He has played an essential role in musical combinations far too numerous to mention, but it all began decades ago with the acclaimed jazz-fusion group known simply as Fred. Currently Joe plays with in a number of groups, including DePotorLand, Lawson and Disorder, Nine Degrees of Syncopation, and Sink or Swing. He is nimbly adept in all genres, from blues to rockabilly to swing to jazz. His love of the guitar is well matched with his detailed knowledge of musical theory, and he is a most patient teacher.

Audra dePrisco (ukulele)

Audra dePrisco is a longtime upper elementary teacher at Greenwood Friends School in Millville. She is also a ukulele player and singer with a flair for funny songs and ballads. She is the adorable part of the duo Fricknadorable, the other part being her husband, Jeremy. The ukulele, one of the most accessible of the string instruments, takes a very short time to learn and a lifetime to master. A first instrument is fairly inexpensive and very portable. Once a few simple chords are learned, the new player has access to a wide array of songs. Early lessons will include basic chords, strumming rhythms, and changes.

 Jeremy dePrisco (guitar OR electronic music)

Jeremy’s early musical experiences involved playing electric bass in high school rock bands. Ultimately, bass guitar led Jeremy to a love of the acoustic guitar, with which he has acquired broad experience and a lengthy list of credits. A few highlights include his time touring with Bodo Band (Hungarian folk), a number of solo albums, several appearances on George Graham’s Homegrown Music, and his collaboration with Dr. Stephen Schrum on the original musical Dog Assassin. Jeremy and his wife Audra formed the Americana duo Fricknadorable in 2011, and they continue to perform throughout the region. Jeremy is currently working on his next solo album.

Beginning or intermediate students who would like to learn a bit about the acoustic guitar will find his approach light and fun. His goal is to get students comfortable with their instruments as quickly as possible, and to make playing guitar something that they look forward to doing every day.

Students who are curious about the technical aspects of electronic music production and recording will get an introduction to this world. The focus will be on key recording concepts and some of the most common elements of the recording process.

Erin Dietrick (voice, violin, trumpet)

Erin is a native of the Susquehanna Valley and has performed as a soloist and with ensembles from Harrisburg to Virginia to New England to Ireland. Erin has a BS in Music Education from Messiah College, where she studied voice, violin, and conducting. She is currently the general music teacher at Greenwood Friends School, where she also retains an active private studio consisting of vocalists and a wide variety of instrumentalists. Erin has also been an active violinist in the Bloomsburg area with local folk artists and has been featured on Paul Loomis’s “World Famous in Bloomsburg” CD.

Erin takes a holistic approach to teaching music and focuses on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of her students. With children she views music making as exploratory in nature. She wants her students to explore the meaning behind the music they are making, as well as their own emotional connections to each piece. She offers beginner to advanced instruction in voice and violin, as well as beginner to intermediate instruction for trumpet.

Flora Eyster (flute)

Flora is an award-winning flutist with concert, improvisation and composition experience. She studied classical and modern music at Bard College. She has played flute for over 25 years from Boston to Europe, and enjoys free jazz, traditional jazz, bluegrass, folk music of the 60’s, and current folk/jam bands like Railroad Earth and Cabinet.  She plays the entire flute family –- C, alto, and bass flute — and has a flute collection from around the world.  You can sample her film and flight music at www.travelinplacemusic.com or at CD Baby.

Flora will happily instruct beginner flutists.  Students can help create their own three-lesson programs, based on the musical style(s) they would like to learn. Flora will provide basic practice materials for home review, as well as coordinated strength-building physical exercises for breath and posture. In addition, Flora will share information on kinds of flutes, instrument care, and how to obtain an instrument.

Richard Grace (banjo)

Richard, an accomplished singer, banjo player, and guitar player, has been performing and producing acoustic music in central Pennsylvania for the past 25 years. Richard’s music reflects the influences of Jerry Garcia, Woody Guthrie, and John Hartford, and he is especially fond of Irish music.  Richard was the founder of the alternative bluegrass band The Redd I Ramblers, and he currently performs with both Pages of Paul and Celtica. With Celtica, a traditional Irish folk and jam band, Richard is the vocalist and song archivist. He will provide mentoring and instruction to banjo beginners on basic techniques and practice approaches.

Bob Gutheinz (hammer dulcimer)

Bob Gutheinz will introduce people to the infrequently heard but always-delightful hammer dulcimer.

Carl Kirby (mandolin)

Carl Kirby started music in elementary school band, picking up electric guitar and bass in his teens. For the past 30 years he has been an acoustic string musician – playing acoustic bass, guitar, mandolin, and fiddle in several styles from old fiddle tunes to jazz. He has studied and taught music theory in such a way that it informs, but does not get in the way of the beginning musician, and he’s currently in five bands.

Urie Kline (Taiko drumming)

Urie Kline will provide instruction in Taiko drumming.

Hope Webster Kopf (West African drums)

Hope is a retired teacher who has been studying and sharing the joys of West African drumming since 2000.  She began playing instruments at age four and majored in music education in college. Over the years she developed a love of studying other cultures and West African Drumming is a perfect venue for that. Every rhythm is connected to daily life. At present she leads the Ko-i-niké West African Drum Ensemble which performs several times each summer. Children will learn basic technique on the djembe (shown in photo). They will be exposed to the different patterns that combine to form one particular rhythm and will learn how the rhythm is used in the West African culture.

Bob Gutheinz (hammer dulcimer)

When Bob first heard the gentle tinkling sound of a hammer dulcimer, he knew it was something he wanted.  He finds playing the dulcimer relaxing and enjoyable, and he especially likes playing Celtic music and holiday carols.  With a teacher’s help in understanding the layout of the instrument, plus a little time and persistence, students can learn to pick out a wide variety of tunes.  Bob is looking forward to helping people discover the intricate beauties of his favorite instrument.

Larry Mitchell (piano, mandolin)

Larry has always loved to sing. He started singing and performing when he was about 5 years old. He started piano lessons when he was 6 years old, and he’s been playing ever since. In his teenage years he also took organ lessons, and he was a church organist for many years. He has also played piano or keyboards with many different groups.

Larry started playing mandolin about 20 years ago when a friend loaned him an instrument. He soon bought his own mandolin, dived into heavy practice mode, and—as he says—“learned to play by the seat of my pants.” Larry has played the mandolin with several groups and currently plays with Vamp ‘Till Ready, where he enjoys learning fiddle tunes for the mandolin.

Jack Pyers (songwriting, arranging, recording)

Jack is a veteran stage musician, touring artist, and music producer from central PA. As a Billboard Charts bassist and guitarist, he performed in the heavy metal and hard-rock genre. He was an original member of regional favorite Harpo and toured nationally with the Atlantic Records band Dirty Looks. Jack has recently returned to the stage with a stripped-down performance as an acoustic singer-songwriter, yet his hard-rock roots are clearly evident. You can check out his unique sound and energy on Facebook at Jack Pyers Music.

Pyers’ mentorship program will provide guidance on songwriting and arranging, keys to playing together in a band, preparation for recording sessions, and particular recording techniques vital to successful recording.

Stu Shrawder (drums)

Stu Shrawder started out in music as a child “playing pots and pans until my parents bought me a small drum set at the age of 5.”  Around the age of 14 he started playing drums in garage bands (he notes some of his bandmates from back then are still around)..!! He studied drums and music in high school and in college, and has also studied with Steve Mitchell. Stu recalls that he started playing guitar when he started traveling (the summer of 72…after the flood) because it was So Much Easier to carry a guitar instead of drums.  He has played in a number of bands over the years: The Uncles of Funk, Uncle Davy, Outland, Soma, Lipsmackin’ Blues Band, Juice, Trace Elements and the Danville State Blues Band. Stu has also worked at Danville State Hospital as a Music Therapist for the past 25 years.  He says: “I play any and all instruments that I can get my hands on…  If music speaks to you…talk back!!!”

 Stan Sloditskie (accordion)

When Stan was a kid, he was surrounded by accordions. His father, his uncles, and his aunts all played, and he took lessons for a while as a teenager. Although he left the instrument behind for many years, he got interested again when he was 55. This time he learned to play by ear, and for years since has played in a number of country bands. These days he plays mostly for folks in hospitals and nursing homes, as well as at LMC Jams. He knows that many folks look at an accordion and say to themselves, “That would be too hard to learn.” But, he says, if you have the proper instruction, it isn’t really all that hard.

Fred Strickland (bass guitar)

Fred took a few guitar lessons when he was 10, quit after a while, but took it up again in high school to play in a rock “combo” (“Louie, Louie” and so forth). His experiences in that band taught him all kinds of life lessons, and he considers those beginnings of his musical journey “one of the best things that ever happened to me.” For many years thereafter, though, he mostly set the stage for others to play — helping to start the King Street Coffeehouse, helping with the Local Music Collective, etc. He didn’t perform much other than playing at home or at LMC jams. In recent years, he is glad to say, he has had a chance to get back on stage, playing bass and singing with the band DePotorLand, writing a few tunes, and smiling broadly all the while!

Local Music Collective – Launches Mentors for Young Musicians Program

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LMC Launches Mentor Program

As you may remember from our last newsletter, Local Music Collective (LMC) members have set an extremely ambitious goal for themselves.  Through a program called LMC Mentors for Young Musicians and funded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, many members have stepped forward to offer their services as musical friends and instructors for the area’s aspiring young musicians.  These members hope to provide inspiration and support to the next generation of local musicians.  And, although our mentor slots are full, you can still lend a hand!

Volunteers are needed to help staff an information table on the day of the Lewisburg Arts Festival on Saturday, April 25.  These volunteers will be distributing and explaining programs containing mentor bios and sign-up forms for the mentoring event, which will follow in exactly one week.

Mentors for Young Musicians will begin at the Heiter Community Center on North Fifth Street in Lewisburg at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 2.  Our very generous mentors have agreed to help host a musical “petting zoo” for children to get eyes and hands on a full array of musical instruments.  Members have volunteered to bring their own instruments to show and explain to kids, and Sides Music will be bringing a number of brass and wind instruments for kids to check out as well.

The volunteers are also making themselves available to the beginning musicians for a series of three lessons, to take place over the summer at the Heiter Center, for the very nominal fee of $5/lesson.  Our hope is that young players will find both the instruments and the teachers that match their individual interests and personalities, and – voila – musicians will be hatched!

The instrument petting zoo at the Heiter Center will be held from 1:00 to 4:00, and will be followed immediately by a FREE 60 – 90 minute jam/concert that brings our volunteer mentors onstage along with many of the young musicians who have signed up for lessons.

This concert will feature a number of our mentor volunteers as song leaders.  Those of you who have already offered to be mentors are reminded that there are still available slots for additional jam leaders.  A song leader would select the tune, recruit musicians to play with him/her, and consider whether there are ways to include some of the young musicians in the song—perhaps to provided rhythmic accompaniment, sing along on the chorus, or something even more creative.

Additional volunteers will be needed on this day at the Heiter Center to serve as greeters and guides who can help kids and their parents find their way to the musicians they have selected as potential mentors.

Lots of LMC members are on board for this initiative, but we can still use more help!  If you have a couple hours to spare on the day of the Arts Fest (Saturday, April 25, 2015) or on the following Saturday (May 2, 2015), please contact John Sweeney at 570 394-6424 and let us know when you are available.  C’mon out and support your very own Local Music Collective!!

Local Music Collective Awarded PA Partners on the Arts Grant for Youth Music Program

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Local Music Collective Awarded PA Partners on the Arts Grant for Youth Music Program

New Berlin, PA — Last summer the central Susquehanna Valley’s Local Music Collective, with over 150 members in Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union Counties, celebrated its 30th anniversary. To enhance its ties to local communities and to promote opportunities for area youth to get hands-on experience with a variety of instruments, the LMC applied for and has received a grant from PA Partners on the Arts for the 2014-2015 year. The grant will provide an opportunity for young people to have a taste of the sort of musical experience that LMC members cherish.

In coordination with Lewisburg’s 2015 Celebration of the Arts, LMC members will serve as music mentors to area youth, helping them try out a variety of instruments, as well as guiding them through the process of obtaining or renting those instruments. The project will begin during the Lewisburg Arts Festival on Saturday, April 25, where LMC members will meet with and sign up young people who would like a chance to play an instrument. The following Saturday, May 2, LMC members will host a “play-shop,” where a musical “petting zoo” event will be followed by an LMC members/young players’ concert.

The LMC will be partnering with the Donald Heiter Community Center in Lewisburg to reach area youth interested in studying both instrumental and vocal music. The Heiter Center will host the LMC’s “play-shop,” including the instrument petting zoo where young people and their families can try out instruments at designated stations set up by LMC members and Robert M. Sides Music, an active partner in this program. Twelve to fifteen music stations, staffed by volunteer mentors, will be featured. Vocal music instructors will also be available. The instrument petting zoo stations may include acoustic guitar, baritone and French horns, clarinet, drums, electric bass and guitar, flute, harmonica, percussion and rhythm instruments, piano and/or keyboards, recorders, saxophone, trombone, and trumpet.

“Our goal is to give young people a chance to experience the joy that LMC members experience through music and music performance,” says Annie Clark, LMC member and Artistic Director for this grant. “Kids (and their parents) will have a chance to try out a broad selection of instrument families, to make a connection with potential instructors/mentors from the LMC, and to talk with Sides Music about instrument rentals. LMC mentors will provide assistance to students and their families as they work through the first steps of their musical instrument experience. Following the “Zoo,” fledgling musicians will have the chance to join their LMC mentors in presenting a concert for the community.

This grant award will allow the LMC to promote the pleasures and satisfactions of hands-on musical performance. By facilitating instrument access and providing musical mentors to potential and beginning young musicians, the LMC hopes to strengthen musical appreciation throughout the valley and set some of the next generation of musicians on the road to a lifetime of music enjoyment.

Additional details about the grant award opportunities will be released in coming months. This project is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

LMC jam photo

Photo headline: Local Music Collective members host monthly house jams. This event held in 2014 was a celebration of their 30-year long history.


Local Music Collective Shirt Design: Instruments with clouds, sun, and water

Local Music Collective shirt design

Here’s our Local Music Collective shirt design.

Local Music Collective Shirt Design: Instruments with clouds, sun, and water

If you’d like a Local Music Collective t-shirt, please mail your request, including Size of shirt, Color of shirt, Color of ink (usually black), your email address, phone number and mailing address and $20 ($22 for sizes XXL and larger), plus $4 for shipping and handling to: Local Music Collective, P.O. Box 338, New Berlin, PA 17855.

Subscribe to the Local Music Collective

The Local Music Collective supports live music in the Susquehanna Valley, with house jams, newsletters, and membership. To become a member, please send $12 per year, or $30 for three years, to:

The Local Music Collective

P.O. Box 338

New Berlin, PA 17855

or contact Fred Strickland, membership chairman: blackoak@ptd.net

570 743-8140