Support the local music scene

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:39

    I was one of the fortunate few residents of Sparta and the surround (perhaps 15 people total) to see and hear the free Unit 1 band showcase at Sparta library on Sunday, Dec. 4. Unit 1 consists of three world-renowned musicians including, Sparta's own Karl Latham on drums, Mark Egan on bass and John Hart on guitar. For those who don't know, Karl is an internationally recognized powerhouse percussionist and music educator who has played with a host of stars in rock and jazz including the Shirelles, Bernie Worrel, Nick Rolfe, and Edgar Winter to name just a few. Mark Egan is a jazz legend, having played in the Pat Metheny Group, and with others such as the mythic jazz piano great Gil Evans and even lead singer Roger Daltry of the Who. Mark has three platinum and three gold records to his credit. John Hart, meanwhile, is a visionary guitarist and music educator who has played with the likes of Lou Donaldson, James Moody and Steve Allen. Now imagine seeing this all-star band right in our local library playing a free two-hour set in an informal setting behind the stacks. Well, it's too bad you have to have to imagine it. Talking about flying under the radar, what gives? I was somewhat taken aback at the show by the absence any appreciable number of kids from Sparta, especially kids who play instruments at our schools or in private study. The same could be said about other residents of the town. Again, what gives? Baffling really, but I give high marks to the Sparta library staff for supporting this event. I'd like to make it clear that this letter is not written to complain, but rather to excite all these missing persons about future possibilities. Most importantly, Karl Latham is currently trying to develop a "Master Musicians Workshop Series" to bring other renowned musicians to our schools and local venues with a goal of enriching the community (Karl sits on our Entertainment Committee in Sparta). We have a totally unique opportunity here, as Karl has the musical connections and ability to make this happen. However, it can't be done if nobody supports the effort. I am urging all our music educators, school and town officials and town residents to get behind Karl and to support his unique vision of making Sparta a hub of music education and world class music events in our state. As a long time musician, psychologist and college educator, I can see no reason why Karl should receive less than 110 percent backing. Dr. Joe Pedoto Sparta