Kim Massie performing to a huge crowd at the Whitaker Music Festival

Meet the man who programs St. Louis’ Most Popular Weekly Free Summer Concert

Adam Jaschek Whitaker Music Festival Missouri Botanical Garden imageThe world-renowned Missouri Botanical Garden hosts a summer concert series that boasts an average attendance of 56 thousand people for each 10-concert season, averaging over 5,600 per show.

The Whitaker Music Festival, a St. Louis summer entertainment favorite, features an eclectic selection of musical entertainment that is curated and managed by Adam Jaschek, the Garden’s Senior Events Coordinator. In addition to the Whitaker Music Festival, Adam manages special events including Chinese Culture Days, Japanese Festival, Best of Missouri Market® and More.

I interviewed Adam to get insight on how the bands are selected for the Whitaker Music Festival, why the series is so popular, and why the Botanical Garden features such events.

Visit for the 2016 Whitaker Music Festival schedule.

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Meet the 23-year-old blues phenom from St. Charles

Tyler Stokes and Delta Sol Revival image

The terms singer, songwriter, musician, and bandleader all describe Tyler Stokes, but I walked away from this interview thinking of him as an extremely wise and intelligent young man with amazing insight and vision. In Tyler I found a breed of musicians that defines a new generation, influenced at a young age by the best rock and blues artists the age of their parents, grandparents and older.

My friend Scott Laytham (The Scott Laytham and Karl Holmes Duo) recently suggested that I interview Tyler on my podcast. Not long after that I received a call from Tyler asking if I’d like to have him on my show. I accepted without hesitation, and I’m so glad I did. Tyler and I had a great time digging deep into his background, influences, and career, as well as a fascinating discussion of music therapy, especially as it’s applied in hospice care.

Hear Tyler talk about being discovered and encouraged at a very young age by two blues greats, Devon Allman and Marquis Knox. He also lists musicians he’s been privileged to be associated with: Dave Black, Tom Byrne, Yonrico Scott, Keith Robinson, Valerie Jo Kirchhoff, Dan Connor, and others.

Special thanks to Myles Kelly for letting us record at his studio, The Live Room.

Delta Sol Revival on the Internet:

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St. Louis Based Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Educator, Entrepreneur

Peter Martin Whitaker Music Festival image

I’ve been following Peter Martin since 2009 when I saw him play at the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. I also saw his 2014 concert there. In this interview, he shared that the Garden is one of his favorite places to play in St. Louis, ranked at the top with Jazz at the Bistro where he’ll be performing May 18–19.

Peter is known for his collaboration since the late nineties touring and recording with jazz singer, Dianne Reeves. He’ll be performing with her this spring in the US and Europe. He has upcoming gigs with his trio — Greg Hutchinson on drums and Reuben Rogers on bass — in Tokyo and New Orleans. We cover some details of this busy concert schedule in this interview.

Peter also describes his very interesting upbringing which includes being raised by parents who were professional musicians, having Wynton Marsalis as a mentor and close friend, and his association with many of St. Louis’ jazz greats like Carolbeth True, the late Willie Akins, Freddie Washington, and others.

This interview isn’t all about music; we also discuss his life as an educator and entrepreneur. Several months ago, I started running into Peter at Venture Café, a weekly gathering of innovators and entrepreneurs. Naturally, I wondered why an accomplished musician would hang with a bunch of business types. I was surprised to learn that he is a leader in online music education. In the podcast he talks about how he founded and launched Open Studio Network, a business described as, “Built in Saint Louis. Made for the World.”

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Free Concerts Favorite Fanfare is celebrating 40 years in the band business in 2016.

Fanfare Vince Golomski Kittie Moler imageVincent Golomski of Fanfare Band is my guest in this episode of A Concert Pitch. He is founder, manager, and keyboard player of this popular dance band celebrating it’s 40th year.

Catch Fanfare Band February 13th at the Ritz Lobby Lounge.

Fanfare Band, with lead singer, Kittie Moller, performs all over St. Louis at commercial venues including the Ritz Carlton in Clayton and Dierbergs in Des Peres. They also perform private shows at local schools and retirement homes, and other private events all over the region.

I’ve heard this band at several free concerts in the area over the past four years including the St. Louis County Parks Department Food Truck Fest and Bridgeton’s Summer Concert Series. They have several such concerts scheduled for the 2016 summer concert season.

A significant fact about this band is their popularity with the dance community. Vincent describes their regular gigs at the Ritz where local dance clubs show up, and the phenomenon of people dancing in a supermarket when they do their gigs at Dierbergs. He shares the experience of doing programs at grade schools where the students and teachers are up dancing as they present a modern history of music, and the subtleties of performing for the residents of area retirement communities including Friendship Village and The Gatesworth.

We also explore in this episode the band’s history; their recordings; criteria for adding songs to the list; the background of the other musicians, drummer Lanny Boles and guitarist Charlie Delbert — and  why they enjoy doing free concerts.

Be sure to check the calendar for summer concerts that feature Fanfare with Kittie Moller.

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Co-writer of Redneck Yacht Club, recorded by Craig Morgan, reached #2 in Billboard, #1 in R and R, and is a certified gold record.

Redneck Yacht Club

Songwriter Steve Williams Redneck Yacht Club imageI was introduced to country music songwriter Steve Williams, through a friend, Myles Kelly, manager and keyboard player for Rockin’ Chair, a band that covers the Laurel Canyon sound of bands like Eagles; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Poco and others. Myles contacted me recently after seeing high school buddy, Steve Williams, preforming with Wil Nance at Nashville’s The Listening Room.

Myles told me that Williams would be performing at a now sold out show with Nance in Festus on January 23rd and suggested I interview him for A Concert Pitch, so I did.

I’ve never been a big fan of country music, but I respect the genre for its popularity and production quality. My musical preference leans more toward the acoustic rock of my youth and, for the past 40 years, jazz. Nonetheless, I have a fascination as an amateur musician with how songs are written and how songwriters work with publishers and artists. This interview was a great opportunity to satisfy my curiosity talking to someone who is making a good living from writing songs, and claims two #1 songs (“Redneck Yacht Club” and “I Get To”) and has songs on 3 gold records!

Steve grew up in St. Louis and cut his musical teeth playing in bars in the area. He left town, played with several bands and ended up in Nashville. He describes how he climbed the ladder in that hub of musicians, venues, publishers, and promoters, then shares deep insights about writing, collaborating, and getting your compositions produced.

View the calendar event for the sold out Song Writer’s Showcase with Wil Nance and Steve Williams.

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Romondo Davis and Randy Mayfield image

Romondo Davis and Randy Mayfield

Randy Mayfield uses his gifts as a musician and songwriter to spread the Gospel. As Pastor of Missions and Outreach at Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton, Missouri, Randy leads missions in St. Louis, nationally, and in many foreign countries.

I’ve known and performed with Randy for over 27 years, and I’m proud to be included in his “All Star Band” of musicians in a concert at Central church at 7 p.m. on Friday, January 15th, 2015. In this episode, we discuss the concert, who’ll be performing, Randy’s background as an entertainer, his Christian ministry, and more.

The concert is FREE and is open to everyone! An offering will be taken to support Central’s Missions and Outreach.

A few days after this interview was recorded, Randy announced that Contemporary Christian Music legend, Scott Wesley Brown will also appear in the concert.

The band for the January 15 concert:

Randy Mayfield – Rhythm guitar/vocals
Sandy Weltman – Harmonica/Uke/Mandolin
Carl Sasse – Lead guitar/mandolin
Chris Sasse – Violin/fiddle
Tim Mauldin – guitar/steel/banjo
Mike Bradenstein – Bass
Romondo Davis – Guitar/percussion/background vocals
Pete Johnson – Drums/background vocals

Opening act: Susan & Patrick Crecelius

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Tim Callihan of Spectrum Band imageTim Callihan is the leader of Spectrum, one of the premier private bands in the St. Louis Area. I met Tim four years ago at their gig at the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce Summer Concert Series at Faust Park. I’ve been following and promoting Spectrum ever since.

Spectrum is so successful — they’re booked well into the future — that they have no time or need to play public events — aside from their Faust Park summer concert which they’ve been doing for 17 years. That’s great for corporate party planners and brides and grooms, but a shame for area residents who love quality music performances. The cohesiveness of the band as a unit, the musicianship of the individual members, the song selection, the arrangements, and their technical presentation are all top notch.

Perhaps we can convince Tim to book them for a show in a public venue like the Playhouse at Westport Plaza. No, too small and no dance floor. I’ll have to work on that. I mean these guys are good.

In this nearly 80-minute interview, we cover subjects including Tim’s recording studio, his career and retirement from Boeing, his support of local music — especially at Jazz at the Bistro, the history and makeup of Spectrum, going the extra mile to assure great sound and lighting, his views on the importance of music education, and his motivation for playing free concerts.

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Joe Mancuso Voices of St. Louis 2015 imageI consider Joe Mancuso an entertainer right out of the fifties, singing jazz standards of Sinatra, Bennet, Torme and the like. His love and mastery of the standards, his passion for performing, and the classical voice training he received at Webster University puts him in an elite class of jazz musicians in St. Louis. He can be heard performing gigs with some of St. Louis’ greatest jazz sidemen, monthly at Thurman Grill and Nathalie’s, and a special Christmas show December 13th at the Duck Room.

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Tony Viviano with Sinatra Records imageI’ve known Tony Viviano since 2002 when he approached me to compile videos of his performances and media interviews on a DVD. Shortly after that he asked me to shoot video of free concert he did with his big band at Bluebird Park in Ellisville, Missouri. Since then, I’ve been seeing Tony perform in a variety of venues, and running into him at other performer’s shows.

Tony was influenced at a young age by his older brothers who brought home and memorized records of the great singers like Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, Tony Bennet and others. He started performing in high school and soon began getting booked in small clubs around the area. I no time, Tony was doing bigger and more prominent local venues, as well as getting booked into other cities. His versatility in musical styles is impressive as he mixes swing and big band arrangements with popular songs from the fifties to the present.

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Rocklin' Chair at the Live Room image

Chuck Wade, Myles Kelly, Mike Ehrhard, and Romondo Davis

Featured guests on episode 7 of A Concert Pitch are Myles Kelly, Chuck Wade, and Mike Ehrhard, members of the band, Rockin’ Chair, a band made up of members of two St. Louis bands from the seventies, Mesa and Nickles. Rocklin’ Chair is a reunion band that celebrates the music of bands like Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, the Band, the Allman Brothers Band, and coming up this Thanksgiving weekend, they’ll be playing two concerts showcasing the music of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Eagles. On Friday, November 27th they’ll be doing a tribute to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. On Saturday evening, the 28th, the show will be a tribute to The Eagles.

Win tickets to Rockin’ Chair’s Thanksgiving weekend concerts at the Playhouse at Westport Plaza (Enter before 8 a.m. Wednesday, November 25th):

Rockin’ Chair links:

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