I love to play and sing jazz, pop, neo-soul, and R&B. Anything that has a groove has my heart. But if I could pull it off, which I cannot, I’d strictly only perform songs from the album “Miss E...So Addictive” by Missy Elliott. It is the best female hip-hop/r&b album to date—endless bops.
How did you get into music?
My mother was a classically trained guitarist and vocalist, and my dad used to play accordion in a Polka Band. Neither pursued music professionally, but they made sure all six of their kids had some sort of musical background. I started piano lessons and joined choirs when I was in the first grade. Once I was introduced, I instantly fell in love with music, to say the least.
What's your favorite thing about being a teacher?
I love building relationships with my students and helping them reach their musical goals. Kids are amazing! But probably my favorite thing is helping my high school students perform outside of Sunburst events. Seeing them succeed on a professional level is extraordinarily gratifying.
Any advice for aspiring musicians out there?
If you do not know how to fail, you will not succeed. The road to success is through practice, performance, and perseverance. Someone will always be better than you, so it is how you utilize and combine your own personal gifts to reach that crystallized vision. The best advice ever given to me was from my late mentor Geri Allen:
“This music journey is long range.
Some downs but mostly ups.
Longevity is the true measure of success. Never give up."
Electric Army is a group of five Pittsburgh area musicians forging new sounds that incorporate hard-hitting riffs, catchy vocal melodies, and a style that is all their own. Their self-produced debut “Hotbed of Descent” has something for everyone and sounds like a band settling into their swagger while at the same time ready to move on to bigger things. Descent captures something that few bands are able to achieve, which is a feeling of honesty and integrity. Whether it’s the seemingly care-free lyrics in “Heavy Dreamer” or the heavy instrumentation in “Gold”, it all comes across as genuine and invites the listener deeper inside the music. If their release show was any indication, Electric Army is one of the most promising bands in Pittsburgh, and they are just getting started.
TL;DR: A true DIY project that is as genuine as it is rocking.
On Friday, August 23, we will be hosting a Summer Open Mic Night for our students! Open Mic Nights at Sunburst allow students the opportunity to showcase what they’ve been working on in a supportive and beginner-friendly environment. Students can perform solo, with their instructors, in groups with their friends and family, or any other way that suits them; the stage is truly open. We’ll be hosting two sessions: 6-7:30pm, for all ages, and 7:30-9pm, for adults only (BYOB).
This July marks the first annual Love Pittsburgh Music Month, during which our local music community urges you to get involved in the scene by going to a show and checking out some of our amazing homegrown talent. July is the perfect month for marquee events like Picklesburgh, the Vine Rewind, and the Deutschtown Music Festival, which features more than 300 bands over the course of two days (including many Sunburst instructors and students!).
Check out LovePGHMusic.com for a comprehensive list of upcoming shows, and read about other ways to get involved and help us build a thriving music community in our home town!
Each June we like to highlight all of our instructor's exciting musical projects in our Instructor Band Bonanza! Check em out:
Project Name: hunnycomb
Teacher(s) Involved: Chloe Wieczorek, Kevin Lynch
How did your group get started? Before the group came to be(e)...lol...Chloe performed as a solo artist, collaborating with various musician friends. Then she found some home bois 4 lyfe and they were Kevin on drums, Bryce Rabideau on guitar, and Jonah Petrelli on bass.
How would you describe your sound? R&B/Neo-Soul... Jazzy-Pop nectar for your soul.
What's on the horizon for your group? The horizon = a lot of performing, writing, recording, and promoting. We plan to release at least one single before the end of the year, in preparation for our 2020 album debut. (Oh and we have a cover music video streaming the interwebs this Friday!)
Where can we listen to your music and/or see you play? Follow us online @hunnycombmusic on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube
Here's when you can catch us this summer: 6/8 - 9pm - w/ Lyndsey Smith and Starship Mantis @ Hard Rock Cafe 6/14 - 7pm - Frick Park After Dark @ Frick Environmental Center 7/6 - 7pm - Stars at Riverview Jazz Series @ Riverview Park, Observatory Hill 7/12 - 4pm - Deutschtown Music Festival @ Main Stage
Project Name: Rose Winston
Teacher(s) Involved: Solo project by Anne Angyal
How would you describe your sound? Lo-fi Electronic Pop - It has been described as Animal Collective/Arthur Russell meets Sade
What's on the horizon for your group? This summer Rose Winston will tour the East Coast and Midwest for a few weeks in August. Look online at www.rosewinston.com to see if you might be traveling in one of those cities - or tell your friends to come out and say hi.
Where can we listen to your music and/or see you play? You can listen online (Spotify, Bandcamp, Youtube), CDs will be available soon and Rose Winston will be playing in Pittsburgh at Nights of Conroy with Ami Dang on Aug. 24
Project: Radon Chong
Teachers Involved: Brian Hecht
How did your group get started:
I rediscovered some midi files I generated with notation software before I knew anything about harmony or music theory. I liked the mix of randomness and everything being in the same key (I don’t think I knew how to enter sharps and flats in the software). I started writing little things on the guitar, trying to capture this “vibe.” Once the band was put together the music became shaped more by the musician’s personalities and individual styles than by my early unschooled experiments, but we tried to keep an attitude of not worrying if things “made sense.” The big discovery for me was that it's not necessary to set arbitrary limits on the music you are making; in the absence of unlimited time and money limits will present themselves.
How would you describe your sound:
The city paper described our debut cassette as “sitting at the intersection of post-rock’s interwoven trajectories and Captain Beefheart’s atonal laments.”
What’s on the horizon for your group:
We plan on releasing a 4 song EP sometime in the second half of the year.
Our spring recitals are June 7th, 9th and 15th, here’s a schedule of which instructors will be at which recital session. Talk to your instructor about getting prepared to perform and sign up by calling, emailing or stopping by the desk the next time you’re in!