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Uptown Music Collective Orchestral R&B collaboration

Uptown Music Collective to present one night only orchestral R&B collaboration
On January 25th at 7:30pm, the Community Arts Center in Williamsport will be rocking in a new way as the Uptown Music Collective, and the recently formed Lycoming College Community Orchestra brings their first collaboration, On and On: The Legacy of R&B, to the stage. This one night only performance will center around the modern heritage of the rhythm and blues sound, featuring music from modern R&B artists like The Roots, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Macy Gray, Frank Ocean, Aloe Blacc and more. The performance will feature over 25 performers from the Uptown Music Collective taking the stage alongside the forty members of the Lycoming College Community Orchestra. The event is sponsored in part by River Valley Transit and M&T Bank.

Rhythm and Blues was an umbrella term created in the 1940’s by the music industry to describe music made by, and created for African-Americans. The style, like most, grew from earlier popular styles, including Swing, Big Band and the Blues, and was mixed in the great American melting pot with a big helping of Afro-Cuban Rhythms, and a Gospel backbeat. In the 1950’s this infectious style eventually spawned Rock and Roll. Since those early days, Rhythm and Blues has continued to grow, change and to spark other genres, many of which have taken on a life of their own, like Soul, Funk, Disco, Ska, Reggae and Rap. Today the music continues to capture a large and diverse audience and has assimilated elements of many of the styles that evolved from it to continue the evolution of its sound.

“So much modern music comes from the cradle of Rhythm and Blues,” said Uptown Music Collective’s Executive Director, Dave Brumbaugh. “For a young musician today, it is so important that they get in touch with the roots of their music, master the rhythms, harmonies and passionate vocal performances of the ground breaking styles and through a deep understanding of them, move the music forward. Through our performance programs we dish out healthy portions of R&B, Blues and Jazz to our students on a regular basis and by the time they leave the Collective most speak the language fluently.”

To further bring this music to life the Uptown Music Collective will be teaming up with Lycoming College Music Department Chair William Ciabattari and his colleague, Riana Muller and their relatively new group the Lycoming College Community Orchestra. “We wanted to create an ensemble that filled the needs of two groups of people, our students and the community,” said Ciabattari. “As we saw it, there were not a lot of opportunities for adult amateur string players to play in an orchestra, nor was there an opportunity for our own students to do so. We spent about a year building the framework, and we rolled out our first ensemble last fall.  Our inaugural concert last November was a great success. We are looking to build on that success with this amazing opportunity to make music with one of central PA’s great gems, the Uptown Music Collective.”

Established in April of 2000, the Uptown Music Collective (a 501(c) 3 nonprofit school of music) has developed a reputation as the premier source of music education in the area, with an enrollment of over 135 students. Offering private lessons at all levels on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, as well as classes and workshops in music theory, songwriting, and styles such as the Blues, Jazz, Classical and Rock. The primary age range of the Collective is 10 – 18 yrs. old, but is open to all ages and levels. Along with private lessons, the UMC offers a myriad of programs including its flagship Performance Program. This program educates students about the ins and outs of major and minor performances, including direction, production, preparation and technical aspects of the performances. The program brings outstanding student run performances to the area, including most recently, the 20th major performance from the Collective. A Rolling Stones tribute held at the Community Arts Center entitled, It’s Only Rock and Roll. The one night only event featured current Collective students playing alongside the school’s alumni and was a great success.

On and On will feature Collective performers between 9 and 18 years of age who have been diligently preparing for this event.  Along with the live music, there will be a professional grade light and sound show organized by the students themselves. As with all Uptown Music Collective performances, the students are not only the performers, but also direct the show. There is also a group of younger students, called “Tech Monkeys” who will serve as stage technicians, spot light operators and video operators. Haley Miller (WAHS) is the student director for this performance. The student leadership committee for this show is made up of Shelby Lynch (Montgomery High School), Brennan Hepler (Loyalsock Township High School), Kira Crissinger (Milton High School), Janaya Daniele (St John Neumann Regional Academy), Morgan Patterson (Montgomery High School), Gianna Rockoff (Loyalsock Township High School), and AJ Robbins (Loyalsock Township High School).The leadership committee is under the supervision of Uptown Music Collective Executive Director, Dave Brumbaugh.

“I am always excited when we have the opportunity to put our students on stage with an orchestra,” said Brumbaugh. “It’s a rare privilege for young musicians to perform music with the ultimate in large ensembles. It’s even more exciting this time as many of the orchestral scores were created by our students. Imagine learning to write for an orchestra while still in high school and then having the opportunity to hear your work played! It’s going to be a very special night thanks to Bill Ciabattari and the Lycoming College Community Orchestra.”

Additional sponsors for this event include Culligan Water Conditioning of Lewisburg and M&M Sheet Metal. Media sponsors for this event are Lamar Advertising, and Backyard Broadcasting. Tickets for the performance are $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door Tickets are available at The Uptown Music Collective (848 West Fourth St., Williamsport) and The Community Arts Center Box Office (220 West Fourth St., Williamsport) as well as Alabaster Coffee (410 Pine Street, Williamsport) and K & S Music (1116 West Southern Ave, South Williamsport). For more information contact the Uptown Music Collective at 570-329-0888.
 
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