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Celebrated blues musician Bob Margolin visited Uptown Music Collective
By jared mondell
July 27, 2011
Bob Margolin, a former sideman with blues legend Muddy Waters and an experienced leader of his own band, recently visited Williamsport’s Uptown Music Collective to participate in their 3rd annual 24-hour Blues-A-Thon Fundraiser.
During the event, students of the Uptown Music Collective had the opportunity to jam with the bluesman and listen as he told stories about his time playing with Muddy Waters and other musicians as famous as Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. Margolin was invited by the Uptown Music Collective in cooperation with the Billtown Blues Association to be the guest performer at this event. Previous guest performers include blues performer Tas Cru who visited last year.
Vocalist Kelsey Silvangi, 18, of Loyalsock Township, described the experience as unique and said, “Not many young people get the opportunity to play with a professional musician. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m glad I had the chance to do it.”
Margolin, a decades-long veteran in the national blues scene and a long-time sideman with blues legend Muddy Waters, performed several sets over the course of the 24 hours, kicking off the event with a solo set and returning several times to perform with students and area musicians. The event ended with an explosive final set of electric blues performed by students and faculty of the Uptown Music Collective and led by Margolin.
Bassist Collin Dennen, 18, of Sullivan County performed with Margolin several times over the course of the event and described the bluesman as “an inspiring and generous musician”. Said Dennen, “Bob Margolin not only shared his stories of experience with musical legends such as Muddy Waters and The Band, but he also educated all students who played with him.” Dennen credits Margolin with instructing him and other students in the art of “playing simple, gritty, but powerful blues music.”
Gabriel Stillman, 17, of Williamsport, also had the privilege of performing with Margolin, an experience he described as “very exciting” due to his interest in blues music. “Playing with Bob Margolin was a truly unforgettable experience,” said Stillman. “That was the closest I'll ever be to play with Muddy Waters himself.”
Margolin performed with students as young as nine years old during the UMC event, and repeatedly praised students for their musicianship and professionalism, saying several times that UMC students surpassed even some professional musicians in their ability to perform with respect and musicality. Siblings Cade and Kendall Palmatier, 9 and 11, of Jersey Shore, were some of the youngest musicians to perform with the blues institution, earning praise for their skills as musicians and for their enthusiasm for music.
All 24 hours of the event were streamed live online by the Uptown Music Collective, allowing even far-away relatives, friends, and partners of the UMC to watch the event and monitor its 24 hours of continual music. Watching from afar included the grandfather of Cade and Kendall Palmatier, who had the privilege of witnessing his grandchildren perform with Margolin from his home in Washington State. This was the first time he had seen them perform.
Established in April of 2000, the Uptown Music Collective (a 501c 3 non profit school of music) has developed a reputation as the premier source of music education in the area, with an enrollment of over 130 students. Offering private lessons at all levels on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, as well as classes and workshops in music theory, songwriting, and styles such as the Blues, Jazz, Classical and Rock. The primary age range of the Collective is 10 – 18 yrs old, but is open to all ages and levels. Along with private lessons, the UMC offers a myriad of programs including its flagship Performance Program.
This program educates students about the ins and outs of major and minor performances, including direction, production, preparation and technical aspects of the performances. The program brings outstanding student run performances to the area, including most recently The Unforgettable Fire: A Tribute to U2 and Irish Rock, andRhythm Nation: A Live Music and Dance Tribute to 80’s MTV Videos, a collaboration with the Melissa Augustine Dance Academy.
To see videos from this event or for more information about the Uptown Music Collective please visitwww.uptownmusic.org or visit the Collective on YouTube at www.youtube.com/uptownmusiccollectiv.
Collective Students and Teachers with Bob Margolin