Tag Archives: Venue of Merging Arts

VOMA to host bluegrass group Mountain Ride

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Bluegrass band Mountain Ride will perform at Venue of Merging Arts, VOMA, on April 7 as part of the venue’s folk and bluegrass series.

Mountain Ride features Eric Avey on guitar and vocals, Scott Matlock on fiddle and vocals, Corey Woodcock on banjo, Chance Hurley on mandolin and Kate Avey on bass and vocals.

Together, these five friends and musicians have toured the country. Their closest stop to Johnstown came last fall when they performed at Windber’s Bluegrass in the Park festival.

Local musician and folk and bluegrass series organizer Micah Mood said he’s excited to welcome Mountain Ride back to the area for their first performance at VOMA.

“My band had the chance to play right before Mountain Ride at last year’s Windber Bluegrass in the Park festival, and they put on a great set,” said Mood, a member of Johnstown’s own Striped Maple Hollow. “They opened with an instrumental Bill Monroe song, ‘Jerusalem Ridge,’ which is a family favorite of ours, and it was a great chance to get to see them for the first time.”

Mood said he’d describe the band’s music as “up-tempo bluegrass with a great blend of traditional and progressive influences.”

“They’ve got a great repertoire of original songs, and they have the classic bluegrass instrumentation — guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and bass. I enjoy string bands with all sorts of instrument configurations, but the classic five piece arrangement, including fiddle, is still my favorite,” he said.

Windber’s The Les Hunter Band will open the all-ages, BYOB show.

“The Les Hunter Band played on a bluegrass show last year, and I’m glad to have them back,” Mood said. “This three piece string band leans heavily into the outlaw-and-alt-country realms, and I think their songs and instrumentation will be a great counterpoint complement to Mountain Ride’s driving bluegrass.”

Mood added that this performance marks the second of three VOMA Bluegrass and Folk Series shows this spring.

“I think this spring series is a great showcase of the kind of great bluegrass coming out of Pennsylvania right now,” he said. “Mountain Ride play a ton, so I’m grateful we had the chance to get them in on our calendar for a show. And it’s not just me talking up this show — The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers, who just played to a full house at VOMA on March 11, implored the audience to come back out in April to see their friends Mountain Ride put on a great show.”

Tickets for this performance are on sale and can be purchased in advance by visiting www.thevoma.com/tickets/ online. Doors are scheduled to open at 6:30 p.m. that evening, with the music scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

“A bluegrass show at VOMA is a great chance to see a good band, oftentimes playing to a single microphone, in a small room with a warm, intimate atmosphere,” Mood said. “Bands tend to be loose and at ease, and it just makes for a great night of music.”

VOMA is located at 305 Chestnut St. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. For more information, including a list of upcoming events and performances, visit www.thevoma.com.

Eastend Mile supporting new album with VOMA gig

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Pittsburgh-based jazz band Eastend Mile are scheduled to perform at Venue of Merging Arts, or VOMA, on Oct. 8.

The “alternative jazz” group was formed in 2013 and includes Roger Romero on saxophone, Caleb Lombardi on the piano/keyboards, Christoffer Thygesen on bass and Dhruva Krishna on drums. Eastend Mile fuses jazz with other musical genres such as indie rock and hip-hop.

The band has performed in Johnstown once before, when they co-headlined a show with Memphis Hill.

“We are incredibly excited to be returning, and hope to become a staple of the Johnstown music scene,” said Krishna, who lists his influences as Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell, Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. 

“Plus, we love VOMA. VOMA is so great because it truly embodies the intersection of art and community working together to create a better culture. We love how it has been a critical part of bringing some great regional bands to Johnstown, and the venue really acts as a great cultural hub for the city.”

Krishna said that even though the band has played in Johnstown only once before, he was impressed by audience members’ enthusiasm.

“Audiences in the city truly have an open mind when it comes to live entertainment,” he said. “As a band, Eastend Mile is dedicated to bringing a unique live experience to audiences through our music . . . we think that Johnstown is the perfect spot for it.”

Adam Mundok, property manager at VOMA, said that he’s thrilled to welcome Eastend Mile back to Johnstown.

“I love what Eastend Mile are doing musically and want to give Johnstowners an opportunity to hear great regional bands from Pittsburgh and elsewhere whenever possible,” Mundok said. “Also, to hear a unique band like this can be a very memorable experience for a local person because the event is rare, so it becomes, ‘Hey, remember when we saw Eastend Mile at VOMA in fall of 2016?’”

Eastend Mile has released two full-length albums: “City Limits” and “I Had a Wonderful Time.” The latter was released Sept. 10.

“As a band, I think we are most proud of how the new record is really a representation, and a blend of all our unique musical influences to create an innovative new sound,” Krishna said. “Our goal is to use the innovation and self-expression intrinsic to jazz, and fuse it with a plethora of different musical genres. 

“For example, one of our singles, ‘Twisted,’ is a slow jazz/ R&B ballad, compared to our other single, ‘Blood Moon,’ which is one of our heaviest and most fusion-influenced tracks. We believe that, on the album, we blended all these influences together, while still maintaining our own cohesive and unified sound.”

Band members are planning to play a diverse setlist in Johnstown.

“Our setlist will primarily feature songs from our newest album, songs from our first album, and a few covers to showcase our diverse interests in music,” Krishna said. “We love to explore our sonic range live, especially since each of our members come from such distinct musical backgrounds. 

“For anyone who doesn’t know, this is actually the first album featuring myself, Dhruva, and our bassist, Tiggy, as the rhythm section. We love bringing our own flair to the band and revitalizing some of the older material in a new way.”

After the show, band members plan to sell and sign copies of their new album. Stickers and T-shirts will also be available for purchase.

Doors for the BYOB (with valid ID) will open at 7:30 p.m. A nominal admission fee is charged at the door, and VOMA members will receive a discount.

Mundok said that he hopes people in the community will take advantage of this opportunity.

“We are fortunate to have a lot of really cool events where the cost of admission is low for the quality of the experience,” he said.

VOMA’s kitchen will be open throughout the event for those interested in purchasing food or beverages.

Eastend Mile is scheduled to take the stage at 8 p.m. that evening.

“We hope all of Johnstown is at our show,” Krishna said. “As much as we love the studio, performing live is our passion and where we excel. We love interacting with the audience, which is just as important to our shows as the music. 

“Be there! We promise to deliver something new for all your ears.”

For more information about Eastend Mile, and to sample to their music, visit http://eastendmile.com. For more information about VOMA, visit www.thevoma.com.

Cambria City organizations partnering for Ethnic Fest

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Over the past few years at Ethnic Fest, many organizers, staff members and volunteers noticed that Venue of Merging Arts (VOMA) and its neighboring nonprofit arts organization, Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue, were sometimes competing for eyes and ears.

So, for the first time, VOMA and Bottle Works will be working together this year to improve the Third Avenue section of the festival.

“We are excited to partner with VOMA this year,” Bottle Works Executive Director Angela Rizzo said. “For some years, our music was literally competing against each other. Combining our resources, in terms of volunteers, staff and facilities, allows us to make this a better experience for everyone.”

Ethnic Fest weekend, which is to take place in Cambria City from Sept. 2-4 this year, spans seven blocks and features seven different stages, plus vendors and tents under which to dance and socialize. Other nonprofits, as well as local business and churches, are involved every year, too.

Bottle Works’ and VOMA’s Third Avenue Arts Stage is to offer a diverse array of talent and musical genres.

Bands on the line up include: Crew of the Half Moon (original rock/folk); Memphis Hill (blues rock); Habatat (blues/rock/funk/jam); Trailheads (funk/jam); Endless Mike and the Beagle Club (indie rock); Adam Ernst (country); Chrome Moses (blues rock); Beauty Slap (future brass thunder funk); Jazz Trip (jazz); Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers (bluegrass); Swampcandy (fusiongrass); and Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing (indie rock). Local acts Dave DiStefano, Black Cat Moan and even the Kulani West African Drum and Dance Troupe round out the Third Avenue Arts Stage lineup.

“There is truly something for everyone at this event,” said Adam Mundok, an event coordinator for the 3rd Avenue Arts Stage. “In the past, we have estimated the overall festival attendance in the thousands, and I think we are on par to see those numbers again this year.”

For more information about this year’s 27th annual Cambria City Ethnic Festival, visit cambriacityethnicfestival.webs.com.

VOMA to host Nate Currin and ‘Endless Mike’ Miller

Photo credit:  www.facebook.com/natecurrin
Photo credit: www.facebook.com/natecurrin

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Georgia-based singer/songwriter Nate Currin is scheduled to perform at the Venue of Merging Arts, aka VOMA, on May 5 with special guest Mike Miller.

The performance, which is part of the venue’s ongoing VOMA Folk Series, brings to town an accomplished musician who is touring throughout the nation this spring and summer in support of his new 12-track album, “The Madman and The Poet.”

“This was a nice confluence of events,” said event organizer and local musician Micah Mood. “Nate had asked his fans for suggestions of places to play on his upcoming tour, and a fan suggested VOMA. Nate reached out, and like I do for bands that I’m thinking of bringing in, I checked out some live videos and felt like I’d like to have him in for a show on the tour.

“The Folk Series has found a pretty happy space lately in terms of string bands and bluegrass, and this should be a nice changeup for the series. I’m looking forward to hearing Nate and his band, and seeing how they’re arranging his new and old material.”

Mood said he hopes that there will be a nice turnout that evening, and that Currin will be well-received by Johnstown audiences.

“Over the years, bands have really enjoyed playing VOMA,” Mood said. “We have good sound, friendly people, and the audiences are always attentive and appreciative. We’ve had some good Thursday evening shows in recent years, which is great. A lot of the time, a band on tour will try to find weekend shows in larger towns, but nights like Thursday are great opportunities for us to bring those bands in to VOMA.

“I think for our size, Johnstown has a great live music scene. It’s exciting to bring touring bands through town as part of that, to hear something brand new, and be a part of those bands’ lives for an evening.”

Currin is no stranger to life on the road; over the past 10 years, he has logged more than 400,000 miles in order to perform more than 600 shows. His tours have even taken him to 20 countries, and he has shared the stage with popular bands and artists such as Blues Traveler, Butch Walker, Jars of Clay and Neon Trees.

Currin’s musical accolades include both International and Independent Music Awards in recognition of his 2014 album, “You and I are Ghosts.” That album climbed the iTunes charts and even landed Currin an award for “Songwriter of the Year.” Recently, he was nominated for a Georgia Music Award for “Americana Artist of the Year.”

Opening the show is Mike Miller, perhaps best known locally as “Endless Mike,” the frontman of Johnstown’s popular band Endless Mike and the Beagle Club.

“I’m really glad to have Mike on this Folk Series show,” Mood said. “He’s an incisive, gifted songwriter, and I’m looking forward to his set, and hoping to hear some new songs.”

Miller will be performing a solo set.

“I hope audiences always appreciate the artists from the area that play on shows at VOMA, and the talented, inspired songwriters and performers that are part of our town,” Mood said of Miller. “I think it should be a great evening of music.”

Doors for the all-ages, BYOB (with ID) show open at 6:30 p.m. with the music scheduled to start a half hour later. Tickets are available in advance online at www.thevoma.com and can also be purchased at the door that evening.

VOMA is located at 305 Chestnut St. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. For more information, visit the venue’s aforementioned website or “Like” VOMA on Facebook.

Those who would like to get to know Currin and Miller a bit more can visit their websites at www.natecurrin.com and www.facebook.com/endlessmikeandthebeagleclub.

VOMA to host bluegrass headliner

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Bluegrass band Colebrook Road is returning to Venue of Merging Arts, also known as VOMA, April 16 as part of the VOMA Folk Series.

The Harrisburg-based band played at VOMA last summer, on July 18, and event organizer Micah Mood said that both the band and the audience enjoyed that evening of music.

“Colebrook Road gave an incredible performance last year, and everyone there, band included, had a great time that night,” said Mood, who is also a member of Johnstown-based band Striped Maple Hollow. “It’s great when a band connects with the audience at any given show, and gets the opportunity to grow their network of fans and supporters. And it’s a great feeling to bring a great band in to VOMA, and end the night with the audience and the band excited to keep seeing and playing live music.

“They are a dynamic band, full of excellent musicians and singers. Last July was the first time I saw them with their new banjo player, Mark Rast, and he is a great addition to the band. I didn’t realize until afterwards that he is a former winner of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival banjo contest, but after seeing him play, it didn’t surprise me.”

The five-piece band features Jesse Eisenbise on lead vocals and guitar, Wade Yankey on mandolin, Joe McAnulty on fiddle and baritone vocals, Mark Rast on banjo, dobro and bass vocals, and Jeff Campbell on upright bass and tenor vocals.

Since their last performance in Johnstown, Colebrook Road won the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Bluegrass Band Contest. The contest was hosted by the DC Bluegrass Union in Bethesda, Maryland, on March 20.

“It’s been great to see them land great concert and festival spots, and winning contests like that,” Mood said. “Colebrook Road isn’t one of my favorite PA bluegrass bands, or favorite regional bluegrass bands — they’re my favorite bluegrass band, period, and it’s great to see good things come their way.”

Since the band’s inception in 2009, they have performed across the Mid-Atlantic region and released a self-titled album. Their follow-up to that album is titled “Halfway Between,” and is to be available May 7.

For more information about Colebrook Road, and to sample some of their music or pre-order their new album, visit www.colebrookroad.com.

Striped Maple Hollow will open for Colebrook Road that evening. In addition to Mood, that band includes Jayna Mood on vocals and guitar, Sonya Guiffrey on vocals, and Adam Milkovich on mandolin, guitar and blues harp.

“One of the perks of being a show promoter is that you get the chance to open for some of the great bands that come through,” Mood said. “I try to bring in new bands and put together great pairings with each bill, and sometimes it works out that my own band gets to warm up the room before a stellar band like Colebrook Road.”

The all-ages, BYOB show begins at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available in advance online at www.thevoma.com and can also be purchased at the door that evening.
VOMA is located at 305 Chestnut St. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

“I don’t take anything for granted, so I’d say don’t miss Colebrook Road,” Mood said. “They are a band that we may be unable to bring back in the future, as their tour schedule and profile grow.”

Plate Scrapers bring bluegrass sound to Johnstown

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Maryland-based string band The Plate Scrapers are scheduled to perform at the Venue of Merging Arts on March 5. Supper Break String Band, of Greensburg, will open the show.

The Plate Scrapers perform a mix of originals as well covers, including bluegrass favorites. The band consists of Evan Bell (upright bass), Brett Kretzer (mandolin and vocals) Derek Kretzer (banjo and vocals) and Andrew Jordan (guitar and vocals).

“I know there are a lot of folks in town who appreciate bluegrass, and newgrass, and string bands, and I hope they make it out to check out The Plate Scrapers,” said event organizer Micah Mood. “They’re a really energetic band, great singers and instrumentalists.”

The Plate Scrapers released their debut studio album, “Contact,” last February.

“I like their album, and I really like the two live albums that they have on Bandcamp,” said Mood, a member of local Americana band Striped Maple Hollow. “The live sets are full of energy, and all their recordings are a great blending of their bluegrass, blues, folk, old-time, jam and jazz influences.”

Mood said he’s happy that Supper Break String Band will open the show.

“I was really glad they’re able to come out,” he said. “I think they’ll both make for a great evening of music, rooted in bluegrass, but with a great appreciation for all sorts of styles of music.”

Supper Break String Band from Greensburg is known for playing a combination of blues, bluegrass, folk and rock ‘n’ roll music.

Doors for the all-ages, BYOB show open at 6:30 p.m. with the music to start at 7 p.m.

“As always, I love the intimate setting at VOMA,” Mood said. “It always makes for a great night of music. We’ve been doing a lot of the bluegrass shows with the bands playing around a single mic, and personally I think that makes for a really fun, entertaining time for both the band and the audience.”

VOMA is located at 305 Chestnut St. in Cambria City. For more information about this show or to purchase tickets in advance, visit www.thevoma.com/tickets/ online. 

The Clock Reads to give Cambria City a funky vibe

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Johnstown’s Hullaballoo Productions, a concert management and production team, has arranged for Pittsburgh-based band The Clock Reads to play at Venue of Merging Arts (VOMA) in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood on March 4.

The five-piece band doesn’t necessarily play one genre; rather, they blend a variety of genres in order to create their signature sound. Listening to The Clock Reads involves listening to a mixture of jazz, funk, rock, soul and “new-age jamtronica.”

The band is comprised of recent University of Pittsburgh graduates Aidan Epstein (keys/vocals), Jason Greenlaw (guitar/vocals), John O’Brien (guitar/vocals), Michael Berger (bass/vocals) and Steve Ippolito (drums/vocals).

Since forming two years ago, the band has played throughout Pittsburgh and has also been invited to perform at local and regional festivals.

“I think our live show is definitely full of improvisation,” Berger said.

The Clock Reads performed in the Johnstown area for the first time last year as part of Hullaballoo Productions’s inaugural “Hullabaloo Boogaloo,” which was held at Windber Recreation Park in May.

“That was awesome,” Berger said of the three-day festival. “It was our first festival-playing experience, so it was totally new for us and we were really excited about it. We were set to play two nights, but on Friday, one of the bands had to bail, so we got to play three sets. I think we got a good response. The people who saw us Friday came to see us on Saturday, and the people who saw us on Saturday came back to see us on Sunday.”

Berger said that he has driven from Pittsburgh to Johnstown in order to attend concerts at VOMA, and is excited to bring his band’s music to the church-turned-arts-venue.

“We’ll be playing two sets, which is basically a staple in the jam band scene that started with The Grateful Dead,” Berger said. “VOMA is a pretty chill environment, and I like that it is really intimate, so it’s going to be a good time, for sure.”

Berger said that he’s excited to reconnect with people in Johnstown, too.

“We got a really good response from people in Johnstown and we’ve actually become friends with a few people from there,” he said. “We’re really excited to get back to Johnstown. We’ve been playing a lot recently, and we’re looking forward to continuing what we have going on.”

Doors for this all-ages, BYOB show are scheduled to open at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door.

VOMA is located at 305 Chestnut St. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

For more information about this show, visit www.thevoma.org or Hullaballoo Productions’ Facebook page. To sample music from The Clock Reads, or to learn more about the band, visit their official website at www.theclockreads.band/music-1/. 

Comedy performance depicts a sinister Santa

Photo credit:  www.jeffgoode.com
Photo credit: www.jeffgoode.com

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

A dark Christmas comedy that portrays Santa Claus as more naughty than nice is coming to the Venue of Merging Arts, also known as VOMA, Dec. 16 and 17.

“The Eight: Reindeer Monologues,” written by Jeff Goode, involves each of Santa’s reindeer accusing him of heinous crimes.

“This show makes you uncomfortable in a good way,” director Randy Jeffreys said. “It will make you laugh and think at the same time.”

“The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” is being presented by TheatreMatters, a regional group known for their performances of cutting-edge works.

“TheatreMatters has established a reputation for doing things a little bit more on the edge, a little bit more provocative,” Jeffreys said.

The cast includes Don Evanisko as Dasher, Ethan Leydig as Cupid, Jeffreys as Hollywood, Kate Davis as Blitzen, Tony Malvoisin as Comet, Lindsay St. Clair as Dancer, Wes Layton as Donner and Brianne France Layton as Vixen.

“I’ve worked with all these people before in different shows,” Jeffreys said. “These are people I could count on to bring what we need to these monologues.”

Jeffreys said that even though the show consists of monologues that are dark in nature, Goode wrote the play to make a point.

“On the surface, the play is about reindeer and Santa Claus, but like a lot of plays, there’s more to it,” he said. “I think Goode is trying to say that people in positions of power sometimes abuse that power. Santa Claus is a beloved character, so Goode wrote this play to shock people.”

Performances of “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. both evenings, and tickets can be purchased at the door. 

In addition, those who would like to attend dinner can do so by arriving at VOMA at 6 p.m. Dinner tickets will be sold at the door. 

Dinner will be served both evenings.

VOMA is located at 307 Chestnut St. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

For more information about “The Reindeer Monologues,” visit Theatre Matters’ Facebook page or www.thevoma.com. Because of adult themes and language, the performance is not suitable for children.

Grand Ole’ Ditch returns to Johnstown

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Bluegrass band Grand Ole’ Ditch will perform at the Venue of Merging Arts on Oct. 17.

The Cumberland, Maryland-based band uses a variety of instruments to create their sound. Some of these instruments include pigeon-holed boxes composed of wires and wood, a banjo, a dobro, a mandolin, a bass, a fiddle and a freight train guitar.

“It’s not every bluegrass band that features top-notch players on both dobro and fiddle, in addition to guitar, banjo, bass, and mandolin,” said event organizer and local musician Micah Mood. “And they also have a percussionist, which can sometimes scare a bluegrass audience . . . but Ditch is truly a bluegrass band, with the percussion adding to their live energy but never detracting from them as a string band. And I haven’t even mentioned their great songwriting and how several of the members sing lead throughout their shows.”

Named after the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal — nicknamed Grand Old Ditch — in western Maryland, the band has performed at a number of festivals and special events. Locally they have performed at Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival in Somerset and Windber’s Bluegrass in the Park.

Their most recent performance at VOMA took place in April, and the show was sold out.

“As a fan, I can’t wait to see them again, and as a promoter, it’s encouraging when an audience appreciates a group as much as they did at the Grand Ole’ Ditch show back in April,” Mood said.

Ligonier’s StringTyme will open for Grand Ole’ Ditch that evening. StringTyme consists of two local musicians, Amy Clarke and Jeff Bell. 

In addition to their singing voices, Clarke’s and Bell’s instrumentation includes autoharp, acoustic guitar, banjo and ukulele. They started playing music together a few years ago.

“StringTyme is a great folk duo from Ligonier, and I think this will be their first appearance in Johnstown,” Mood said. “I think they’ll be a great complement to Grand Ole’ Ditch.”

Doors for this all-ages, BYOB show will open at 6:30 p.m. and the music will begin at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are highly recommended, and are available online. Reserved seating tickets are also available for purchase. VOMA is located at 305 Chestnut Street in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

“(This is) a great opportunity to see live, original bands in an intimate, appreciative venue,” Mood said. “You’ll be able to hear every note, and meet the performers after the show.”

Bingman scheduled to play at VOMA

voma

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Folk, blues and roots singer-songwriter Hannah Bingman is scheduled to perform at Venue of Merging Arts on Aug. 22 as part of VOMA’s 2015 Folk Series. She has been performing for years along the East Coast and opening for musicians such as Kaki King, Michael Glabicki and Jeffrey Gaines. 

In 2006, Bingman won the Susquehanna Folk Music Society Songwriting Contest, and in 2011 she was selected as a Regional Round Finalist in the Mountain Stage New Song Contest.

Hailing from Lancaster, she has released three studio albums. “Loam,” her most recent release, focuses on small-town roots and rural themes.

Event organizer Micah Mood said that he’s looking forward to Bingman coming to Johnstown and performing a selection of songs from her new album.

“Hannah is a very talented songwriter and singer, and I’m glad for this opportunity for folks to see her and hear some new songs from her just-released album,” Mood said. “I am not fully certain that this is Hannah’s first appearance in Johnstown, but if she has played here before, it hasn’t been for quite a while, and I know this will be her first performance at VOMA. For the past several years I have been seeing Hannah on the schedule at several great folk venues in (Pennsylvania), and I’m glad to finally have her on the VOMA schedule for a Folk Series show.”

Opening for Bingham that evening will be Laurel Harrison of Johnstown.

“Laurel Harrison is a great young singer from Johnstown,” Mood said. “She’s been performing a lot lately and honing her sound. I thought she was great the first time I saw her, and she keeps getting better.”

This will be Harrison’s first time performing as part of a Folk Series show.

Mood encouraged community members to mark their calendars for Aug. 22.

“I think this will be a great opportunity to hear great songs from two talented performers,” he said. “I know that I call VOMA’s atmosphere ‘intimate’ a lot, but it really is; the Folk Series audiences are attentive and appreciative. Bands have remarked that it’s great to play a slow song, a song that would get drowned out by the background noise if they played it at a club or bar. At VOMA, every song has the audience’s attention and appreciation.”

The all-ages BYOB show is to begin at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. A limited number of reserved seating tickets are available for purchase. 

VOMA is located at 305 Chestnut Street in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. The 2015 VOMA Folk Series is supported in part by a grant from the Robert Waters Charitable Trust of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.
“I’d like to thank the Robert Waters Charitable Trust of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies for their support of the 2015 Folk Series, which has helped enable us to bring in more new artists to perform in Johnstown,” Mood said.

Colebrook Road to perform at VOMA

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Bluegrass band Colebrook Road is scheduled to perform at Venue of Merging Arts on July 18 as part of VOMA’s 2015 Folk Series.

“This show will be Colebrook Road’s first show in Johnstown,” event organizer and local musician Micah Mood said. “They have played for several years running at the fantastic Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival in Somerset. I saw them there several years ago, and I’ve been trying to get the calendar to line up to get them into town for a show ever since.

“I really enjoyed everything about the band, from the songwriting to the singing, to the arrangements and the great playing across the line. I like their blend of traditional and progressive bluegrass, and I think it’s great that such a great band calls (Pennsylvania) their home.”

The Harrisburg-based band creates their original music using instruments such as banjo, mandolin, upright bass, guitar, dobro and fiddle. Band members are dedicated to bringing audiences original music that is inspired by years spent studying music theory and bluegrass. They also try to make their music compelling by putting a “modern spin” on old sounds through their three- and four-part vocal harmonies.

“We’ve had great turnouts and responses for string bands and bluegrass bands in the past 18 months, and I think this show will be another good evening to see a fantastic band in an intimate venue,” said Mood, who plays guitar and banjo in Johnstown-based band Striped Maple Hollow. “The band has great original songs, and they’re stellar musicians. Their fiddle player Joe just took first place at the Deer Creek Fiddler’s Competition, and their mandolin player, Wade, won the mandolin contest at the 2014 Watermelon Park festival. And one thing I distinctly remember was that their lead singer Jesse, who has a great voice, was equally comfortable playing lead guitar — in fact, he recently came in second in the 2014 Watermelon Park guitar contest.”

The band, named after the many Colebrook Roads appearing in the state of Pennsylvania, formed in 2009 and has been performing throughout the Mid-Atlantic region ever since.

Striped Maple Hollow will open for Colebrook Road that evening. In addition to Mood, the band includes Jayna Mood on vocals and guitar, Sonya Guiffrey on vocals, and Adam Milkovich on mandolin, guitar and blues harp.

“As a fan of Colebrook Road, it’s great to have the chance to play a show with them,” Mood said. “We’ll have a few new songs to play, and we’ve been having fun playing to one mic when we open shows for other bands at VOMA.”

The all-ages BYOB show is to begin at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. VOMA VIP members and students will receive a discount. A limited number of reserved seating tickets are available for purchase.

“Anyone who encourages musicianship and any form of bluegrass or string music should come out to see Colebrook Road,” Mood said. “There are some great opportunities to catch bluegrass live and in person in the area, including the Laurel Hill and Windber bluegrass festivals, and I hope July 18 is also a date that people remember to circle on the calendar.”

The 2015 VOMA Folk Series is supported in part by a grant from the Robert Waters Charitable Trust of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.