News Column

'A wonderful gathering': Music on the menu at school's annual picnic and concert

July 9, 2014

By Kelly Urban, The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

July 09--JOHNSTOWN -- It was another successful year for the Greater Johnstown School of Music.

To celebrate, the school held it's ninth annual picnic and student concert June 28 at the school, located 719 E. Oakmont Blvd. in Geistown Borough.

Over 100 people were entertained by 34 students -- performing solos or in ensembles -- who shared their talents and skills in performance on violins, guitars, oboes, clarinets and banjos.

"It's a wonderful gathering," said Marty Faiers, the music school's director. "Kids and adults get to show off their stuff. They love to play in front of people."

Also during the picnic six Vrabel Award trophies, named after the school's original director, the late Jerry Vrabel, were given for outstanding performance, as well as a Judge's Favorite trophy.

This year's winners were Sarah Huston, violin; Haley Cannada, violin; Jacob Lamm, guitar and vocals; Seth Heider, guitar; Dwayne Yoder, banjo; and Rebecca Williamson, guitar. Christopher Gist, guitar, won the Judge's Favorite.

"Six out of the seven winners are 14 years of age and younger," Faiers said.

The music school, which was founded in 2005, is a nonprofit organization providing space for music instructors to teach lessons.

"By taking private lessons students can set their own goals, go at their own pace and choose the style of music they want to play," Faiers said. "Having kids learn an instrument is an important part of their education and builds confidence. For the older people, playing an instrument is on their bucket list. They do really well."

The school boasts a list of qualified and experienced musicians offering instruction.

Instructors include:

--Dave Dzelsky, a 41-year veteran instructor with a degree in organ performance from IUP. He teaches piano, organ and musical instrument digital interface.

--Brandon Martinazzi, who has performed and taught in the area for 15 years, offers drum instruction.

--Paul Kuzmiak has over 30 years of teaching experience and received his bachelor's from IUP and master's of music in clarinet performance from the Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins Branch. He teaches wind instruments and plays with the Johnstown Reed Band.

--Assistant Director Don Wozniak teaches acoustic and electric guitar. He graduated from the Berklee School of Music and has been teaching and performing in the Johnstown area for upwards of 40 years.

--Faiers taught for 38 years in Tennessee and Virginia and for the past 17 years in Johnstown. She offers violin, viola, cello, fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, dulcimer and ukulele lessons.

For more information, call 266-4440 or visit

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.


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Source: Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, PA)

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