SingBig! 2018 Gets Underway

SingBig! Camp at the Ice House in Berkeley Springs is in full swing offering young talent from 10 to 16 the opportunity to receive voice performance tutelage from professional musician and instructor, Joel Newman.

The two week camp provides a group class that encourages all participants to sing with and in front of each other, learning how to sing big with your best voice. Group sings and performance techniques will all be part of this fun-filled camp.

Instructor Joel Newman originally hails from New York City and was born into a musical family. He is widely known in the Hagerstown/Frederick area as a musician and individual teacher. SingBig! continues through August 3rd. Follow here for continual updates.

Morgan County Has Talent Recap

Hi everyone, it’s been a while since you’ve heard from us – we’ve been pretty busy behind the scenes. Here’s what’s been going on!

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In September 2017, we began our journey of creating our biggest fundraiser in collaboration with Morgan County Partnership. This community event/fundraiser hybrid was going to be called “Morgan County Has Talent”, a vision inspired by the ideas of Pat and Larry Springer. Since September, we have been slowly planning and shaping the talent show into what many of you saw on April 14th. Now that we have finally caught up and can breathe, we’d like to share updates on how things went and what we did leading up to the big day. We are including some photos of the night. To see more photos you can visit the Morgan County Has Talent FB page here.

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After the meticulous planning and community fundraising we did over the course of several months, we set up the perfect program booklet for the event. We would like to thank our sponsors and ad holders for making this possible. We would also like to thank Julie Stotler and the Morgan Messenger, who put the book together and printed them out, respectively.

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On April 13th, we had a run through of the show for all of the contestants selected to perform. This is when we worked out all of the directions the stagehands would use, and advised the performers how to get on and off the stage for things to run as smoothly as they did on Saturday night. We are very grateful to our stagehands who volunteered to help us, as well as the volunteers who helped get the performers to and from the stage.

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Finally, the night of the show had arrived. Our silent auction had been set up wonderfully, ticket sales were running smoothly, the Community Cougars and some Positive Action Kids from Morgan County Partnership’s Positive Actions were there to support the event, and the Settlers 4-H Club were providing light refreshments to raise money for their upcoming trip. The event that we put months of preparation into was going smoothly. Thank you, Cougars and Settlers 4-H!

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We had over 30 volunteers help us make the show as great as it was. From our stagehands and behind the scenes crew to our sound, lighting, and recording crews. We may not have had the opportunity to really thank each of you for your help leading up to the big show, but we really appreciate all of work you did to help us make this show so successful! Thank you so much!

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But most importantly, we could not have had a show without the community’s support. By the start of the show, tickets had been completely sold out and it was standing room only in the house. The amount of support we received was amazing for a first year event. Everyone in Morgan County supports each other, and you don’t see that often in other places.

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Thank you once again to everyone who made this event possible. We could not have done it without Morgan County Partnership, Berkeley Springs High School for the use of their auditorium, cafeteria, and a couple of classrooms, our volunteers, and our wonderful community and those who live in and support it. We hope to see you next year!

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Boys and Girls Club Guitar Club

November 1st was the start of our guitar club at the Boys and Girls Club in Berkeley Springs. A lot of preparation went into making sure this program would be a success from the get-go. Before we could get this club off the ground, we needed to approach the Boys and Girls Club about starting the program, find funding for the project, and search for a talented instructor.

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We approached Chris Risinger, director of the B & G Club – Berkeley Springs branch – with our vision for the program. After some planning and logistics, we were ready to find funding and an instructor. A local guitar player and youth group leader in Berkeley Springs, Jason Hiles, expressed interest in teaching the lessons. With Jason on board, finding money was the next step. We applied for and received a grant from a generous donor through the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation. This grant completely covered the costs to run the program for its first year, including the guitars and all the accessories: gig bags, tuners, straps and books. Our thanks go out to the family foundation who so generously funded this program.

Pictured above are the absolutely beautiful Cort brand guitars we purchased for the kids. They sound as good as they look! If the kids who signed up for the program stick with it, these guitars are theirs to keep after the school year is over. We are very excited to see how these kids improve over the course of the year, not only with their guitar playing skills, but also with their overall self-esteem and school performance. Stay tuned!

Fun Festivities at BCMC This Past Week

It’s been a really busy week for us here at BlackCat Music Cooperative. This past weekend was the always popular Apple Butter Festival here in Berkeley Springs, WV. While the festival started Saturday right after the conclusion of the parade, Apple Butter had basically began for us at the beginning of the week. We at BCMC had been working on an activity for National Kids Music Day on October 6th. We partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle here in Berkeley Springs to have a fun time making some shakers and playing along with the Tri-State Ukeclectics Orchestra. The kids had a lot of fun, and so did the uke club. Below is a video of songs that the uke club played with the kids.  Credits to Martha Rhodes of Travel Morgan County for the footage.

We did another fun activity a couple of days ago at Warm Springs Intermediate School. About a month ago, BCMC bought 25 colorful Mahalo ukuleles with the help of Morgan County Partnership. There was no school on Monday for the students, so what better day to bring them in to the teachers and have a master class teaching them a few basics? With the help of the Tri-State Ukeclectics Orchestra, the teachers were taught basic chords and strumming techniques. In about an hour, the teachers were eager to accompany the Uke Club on Country Roads, a well-known and almost guaranteed favorite of every West Virginian. Here’s a lovely recap from Angie Hott from Positive Action. Thanks, Angie!

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more updates!

20 Important Benefits of Music in Our Schools

Nearly everyone enjoys music, whether by listening to it, singing, or playing an instrument. But despite this almost universal interest, many schools are having to do away with their music education programs. This is a mistake, with schools losing not only an enjoyable subject, but a subject that can enrich student’s lives and education. Read on to learn why music education is so important, and how it offers benefits even beyond itself. Continue reading “20 Important Benefits of Music in Our Schools”