The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Our World of Music in Big Sandy


February 7, 2018

inside the RD recording studio, located in the old Odd Fellows building.

The Grammys 60th Anniversary was January 28th and was a time to celebrate the power of music. Music has always been an important part of Big Sandy. Here at Big Sandy we have always had a number of gifted musicians and the Mountaineer thought this week would be a great time to have a quick look at a few local musicians who are new, old, or not so well known in our area.

Nick Fry is first and for most known in Big Sandy for his "Outsiders Art", but Nick loves music. He plays the harmonica. There are many types of harmonicas, including diatonic, chromatic, tremolo, octave, orchestral, and bass versions. Nick owns four of them, two of them being a CB harmonica and two of them being a CG harmonica. He'd like to own more. He doesn't know how many more he wants. He also plays the "harpsichord", which is what Nick calls it. His birth father taught him music which he plays by ear. He knows and can play most of the old hymns, although "some of them I've forgotten." His mother who also sang taught him to sing and harmonize the old hymns. Nick owns a notebook full of music his father wrote, "and I can't remember a single one of them". If you ask what he likes about music he says he loves to sing, especially the old hymns. He can harmonize with anyone, because, "I harmonize by ear". Nick plays once a month at the Big Sandy Community Church of God.

Matthew Camp is the grandson of Jewel Bahnmiller. His mother is Kathy. Matthew and Therese moved to Big Sandy in December to work at the Bear Paw Coffee Shop and Deli. He plays the piano and the ocarina which is an ancient wind instrument kind of like a flute. Matthew most likes to sing songs he has written himself. A year ago, in December he put out his own album, The Story of Advent. It basically tells the story leading up to Christmas. Matthew wrote, performed and produced it himself. Copies are available at the Bear Paw Deli for those who would like to support our newest musician. It is also available for sale digitally. A large portion of what he has written is spiritual, however he does sing cover songs which are popular songs written by others. "I decided to challenge myself to improve my abilities in arranging and producing music. So, this year I decided my big project musically is to record 300 cover songs. At the moment, I am doing all of the harmonizing." Before moving to Big Sandy, he has given a wide variety of concerts. Matthew has given numerous solo performances, singing with choirs, and has also been involved with musicals. You'll have an opportunity to hear Mathew sing in the future at an Open Mic performance at the Bear Paw Coffee Shop and Deli. Lastly if you would like to learn to sing better Matthew would love to help anyone improve their singing ability by giving them voice lesson. There is no age limit to take the lessons.

Charlene Silvan Moravec loves music. Charlene's life was full of music since she was a child. It helped mold everything she did. Charlene's mom played the piano and she could play everything, but her dad could only play the "comb and paper". Charlene laughs. Her father's favorite songs that her mom played was "Memories and Baby Face". Charlene grew up sitting by her mom at the piano bench either that or she'd be sliding down the hill at Eagle Creek. Her mom had a band for years, playing with many including Marvin Osterman, Ed Blazek, Leona Blechner, Violet Drga, Martha May, Bob Flanery and Charlene played clarinet at one time in her mother's band. Charlene's mom who gave her piano lessons starting her young. "We lived in a three-story house and mom kind of liked the long hair stuff, but when mom would get out of sight, or I thought out of hearing, she'd be down stairs, I'd turn on the radio and play those songs. I played mostly by ear." She did sing, but she said "Ya, let's not go there, I mean it was all right, but now I can't sing a bushel basket." The name of her band was the Rhythm Trio. It got started even though she was married and had kids at the time. "I never even thought of it. But Dick Wortman and Dewey Hannum wanted me to help fill in music for a talent show." They asked her to play although they hadn't even practice together, but it sounded like fun! George told her to go for it. "After we played the talent show we got a couple of offers." The Rhythm Trio played for 9 years. They mainly played country western. They were supposed to play for be just local venues, but they quickly started travelling the state including both Friday and Saturday nights. Charlene has wonderful memories of playing for Big Sandy and how entire families would dance. She remembers Harley and Alma Darlington teaching all the children to square dance. After so many years of travelling with the band she realized she had children at home and it was getting to be too much. "Music is important to me. It's something I have always loved."

Nick Fry

And finally, a new music opportunity. Chris Myers has opened a sound studio, the RD Recording. The name honors Rusty Danreuther. "Rusty was really good taking an interest in kids weather it was music or sports or anything. He was so good at encouraging people. He was genuinely excited when you did it. It was great." Chris believes Rusty's passing left a big hole in our community. Chris would like to open RD Recording as a non-profit to encourage the youth to get more involved in the whole music experience. The room itself is a little bit big, but it has good sound. Bobos, room dividers, can be built in the future creating some sound treatments. "I want a place where we can do a little hands on training for kids who are interested, maybe do a mini camp once school gets out in the next couple of years. We are in such a rural area, but to have that hands-on experience is a whole different ballgame."


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