Mu­sic

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS -

Au­thor­ity that plays wed­dings and events through­out the area.

“Mu­sic is hard work; you have to put in the hours,” Asti said.

That was part of the truth of the mu­sic busi­ness Rieger im­parted dur­ing “the talk” he had with Asti.

“If any­thing, my par­ents were al­most too sup­port­ive,” Asti said with a laugh. “They said if mu­sic was what I wanted to do I should go for it. Louis was the one who sat me down and gave me ‘the talk.’ He told me what it can take and what to ex­pect. He helped to bring a touch of re­al­ity to the pas­sion and to help me find a bal­ance.”

A mu­si­cian him­self, Rieger has also been a mu­sic scout for Sony and Em­pire records, he’s an ad­vi­sor for the Ro­tary Club’s tal­ent con­test and he is the pro­pri­etor of High Street Mu­sic Co. which of­fers more than just lessons.

With a fully func­tional stu­dio, High Street mu­sic is also a place where stu­dents can learn the tech­ni­cal end of record­ing and pro­duc­ing mu­sic.

That’s where Austin Mora’s in­ter­ests lie.

One of two Pottstown se­niors to win a Wil­son Schol­ar­ship this year, his ed­u­ca­tion at Le­banon Val­ley Col­lege will be paid for by the schol­ar­ship.

A trom­bone player and also a stu­dent of Rieger’s, Mora will study mu­sic pro­duc­tion at the col­lege, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Jeff Von­tour, a Pottstown High School alum who was a Wil­son Schol­ar­ship re­cipi- Left to right Matthew Asti, Louis Rieger, Austin Mora and Mar­ley Bryan are all at var­i­ous stages of a mu­sic ca­reer be­gun or un­der­taken in Pottstown. ent last year and is en­rolled ond Wil­son Schol­ar­ship winThe amount of the scholin the same cur­ricu­lum. ner this year, mu­sic is somear­ship was based on his au

The two also played toth­ing “I’ve been sur­rounded di­tion. “That re­ally sur­prised gether in Pottstown High by since I was lit­tle.” me,” he said. School’s march­ing band, In sixth grade he started Rieger said poise and con­cert band and jazz band. play­ing wind in­stru­ments pre­ci­sion in front of judges,

“I guess I got in­ter­ested in and in sev­enth grade, he was “how you ap­proach peo­ple ninth grade,” said Mora. play­ing the bass clar­inet. and per­for­mance, how you

High School Mu­sic De“The band teacher, Mr. work with groups,” are all part­ment Chair­man Michael (Ben) Hayes, said ‘ you fac­tors that must be taken Vought “had this pro­gram can’t play the bass clari­into ac­count when em­barkon the com­puter called ‘Mix net in march­ing band’ and ing on a ca­reer in mu­sic, Craft.’ Hon­estly it is about he handed me a tenor saxoand things he tries to teach the worst com­po­si­tion tool phone,” said Bryan. his stu­dents be­yond the meI’ve ever found, but I got Al­ready a stu­dent of chan­ics of their in­stru­ment pretty good at it.” Reiger’s, Bryan re­ally took and the fos­ter­ing of raw tal

Mora saident.hebe­gan­tore-to­thetenor­sax­o­phone,as al­ize all of the dif­fer­ent ways his own award at the Ro­tary nd that can some­times his in­ter­est could be uti­lized. Club Tal­ent con­test and nuget lost in a larger class­room, “It’s not just straight up mumer­ous soloist awards at jazz he said. sic, it’s com­mer­cials and band com­pe­ti­tions this year Stu­dents who ex­cel in mu­movie sound­tracks.” can at­test. sic may not al­ways be iden

Thanks to High Street In ad­di­tion to the Wil­son ti­fied early “or they don’t Mu­sic Co., he will en­ter colS­chol­ar­ship, Bryan also reget the sup­port they need to lege know­ing more about ceived a $3,000 schol­ar­ship nur­ture their tal­ent,” Rieger that end of the busi­ness than from West Ch­ester Univer­said. most. sity where he will ma­jor in But their chances of get

For Mar­ley Bryan, the sec- mu­sic. ting the sup­port they need are im­proved in Pottstown by two pro­grams, Rieger said.

The Wil­son Fam­ily Mu­sic Schol­ar­ship, es­tab­lished by Pottstown’s first band di­rec­tor Har­vey Wil­son, pro­vides schol­ar­ships to Pottstown High School se­niors who have been in the mu­sic pro­gram and are pur­su­ing a ca­reer in mu­sic or the arts.

“Har­vey lived very fru­gally and when he died, he left half his es­tate to the Pottstown School Dis­trict to es­tab­lish a schol­ar­ship for stu­dents to fur­ther their mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion,” said High School Mu­sic Depart­ment Chair­man Michael Vought.

Wil­son left the other half of his es­tate to his sis­ter, Phoebe Sime.

When she died, she left a por­tion of her es­tate to the dis­trict in the Phoebe Sime Trust.

In ad­di­tion to pay­ing for 75 per­cent of the cost of mu­sic lessons for Pottstown stu­dents who may not be able to af­ford them oth­er­wise; the trust also helps pay for trans­porta­tion - ev­ery­thing from bus trips to band cav­al­cades to help­ing with the cost of the semi-an­nual trips to Walt Dis­ney World.

The fund also paid to re­fur­bish and re­place the equip­ment in the sound stu­dio at the high school, en­abling a course in sound record­ing and en­gi­neer­ing to be in­sti­tuted at the high school, Vought said.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that is un­usual for a town the size of Pottstown to have such re­sources avail­able for its mu­sic pro­gram, it makes sense when you look at Pottstown’s history, Vought said.

“I mean think about it. For a town the size of Pottstown to have its own sym­phony or­ches­tra for as long as we did, that says some­thing about Pottstown,” he said.

“I give credit to all the great teach­ers we’ve had in this dis­trict, to Mike Sny­der, to Porter Ei­dam, to Chuck Dressler. They all taught me more than I ever learned in school,” said Vought.

But there are some present day teach­ers who may soon fill their shoes, Vought said.

“I’m re­ally proud of this pro­gram and I’m go­ing to miss this se­nior class, they had a lot of tal­ent,” he said. “And not to take any­thing away from the this year’s sopho­more and ju­niors, but Ben Hayes tells me he’s got some sev­enth and eighth grade kids com­ing up who are as good or bet­ter.”

Rieger also praised Hayes, as have oth­ers who have heard his mid­dle school stu­dents in re­cent years, say­ing “he is do­ing a fan­tas­tic job and I think we’re go­ing to be see­ing a lot of mid­dle school stu­dents with a lot of tal­ent com­ing up in the next few years.”

But even with help like this avail­able, a ca­reer in mu­sic can be a chal­lenge, as Asti can at­test.

“I was lucky to find work in mu­sic, lit­er­ally as soon as I got out of school,” he said.

As for Bryan, he plans to fol­low in some of those Pottstown foot­steps and pur­sue a ca­reer in mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion as well as to keep play­ing.

Af­ter all, as the new grad­u­ate noted, “mu­sic has al­ways been a part of my life and its some­thing you carry with you all your life.”

And you can quote him on that.

FULL DIS­CLO­SURE: The au­thor’s son is in the Pottstown mu­sic pro­gram and is a stu­dent of Rieger’s.

JOHN STRICKLER — THE MER­CURY

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