The Ohio University Lancaster guitar group, STRUM, will perform for free next Wednesday. (Submitted)

OU Lancaster Guitar Club To Perform for FREE Nov. 30

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Ohio University Lancaster’s Guitar Club (STRUM) will present a free concert on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, from 2:15 p.m.-3 p.m. in the Raymond S. Wilkes Gallery for the Visual Arts.  The concert is free and open to faculty, staff, students, friends, family and the general public.

Student members are taking a folk guitar class or are continuing members of the STRUM Club (Students Teaching Rookie Undergraduate Musicians).

Zac Wesaw, Freshman Aviation major from Fairfield Union, joined the group to push himself to learn the guitar. “I always wanted to learn ever since hearing my grandfather play.”

Wesaw urges others to join the group, “Anyone who is interested in playing the guitar should sign up for Dr. Young’s class, and it’s a great social experience as well. There are so many beginners and  guitar players with different skill sets and to see that all come together has been the best part of this experience.”

Hunter Staley, a junior music major from Lancaster high school is one of the more accomplished musicians in the group. He has been playing for five years and had his own band that played locally. “I love that the guitar is an orchestra within one instrument, that can convey any mood and emotion,” he said.

Staley wanted to continue playing regularly and collaborate with other like-minded musicians, and upon taking Music 1000, a music theory class, he was inspired to join the Strum club, teach others and continue to play and learn new skills. He was surprised that he also made new friends, developing close friendships that has even developed into weekly 4 hour plus jam sessions of playing and writing music together.

“I think anyone from absolute beginners to people who have been playing all their lives should be a part of this club, there is something for everyone, we can teach each other and help each other out,” he said.

Staley hopes to see the club continue to grow from its current 12 members. Upon graduation, Staley will like to continue to perform and teach music someday.

Mark Whitehead, Junior Middle Childhood Education major from Amanda Clearcreek high school, has always been involved with music, playing piano at five years old, trumpet in elementary school and French horn and the mellophone throughout high school. Once in college, he also took a music theory class and was inspired to learn to play guitar. After teaching himself to play, he then joined the Strum club, and says he really enjoys the way that players of all skill levels are able to learn and improve from whatever level they entered the class. He urges other student to become involved in the club, “Anyone who has any interest in the guitar should take the class and be a part of the Strum club.”

Upon graduation, Whitehead hopes to teach middle school children in 4th-9th grade, hopefully in music, “I love playing guitar, I love learning new things, so that is the main reason I want to be a teacher and someday teach guitar.”

Keenan Place, a freshman civil engineering major from Teays Valley high school, has composed an original song for the concert entitled “Nostalgia,” this is the first original arrangement he has completed. “My song is a mellow, classical-inspired, finger style composition; it provokes a sense of peace, think of it as a cross between Beethoven and Ed Sheeran.”

He doesn’t read music but instead uses math to compose his original work. He plans to work with Dr. Young to continue refining this song and creating new arrangements. Upon graduation, he would like to build advanced roadways for an engineering firm and teach his future children to play guitar. He to thinks the class and group are a good fit for any interested student. “I would urge anyone to take this class and be a part of this group, I plan on being a part of it for as long as I am here.”

This semester’s ensemble is directed by Dr. Paul Young, lecturer at Ohio University Lancaster and advisor to the group. “This class has been inspiring to teach every day of the semester. They want to learn and push me to develop experiences and opportunities that they’ll remember forever,” he said.

The program features a variety of musical styles. “We are playing some holiday favorites, classic rock, and jazz songs, it is a good variety of music, something for everyone,” Wesaw said.