Monday, November 25, 2013

Of Guitars, Flutes and Mexican Food

Russell Ferrara
Blogger's Note: The following is a press release from guitarist Russell Ferrara who, apparently, is rocketing straight from the stage at the Juan Carlos restaurant in Pottstown, to national stardom. He plays a nice guitar too.

Pottstown musician, classical guitarist Russell Ferrara, has been chosen to perform at the convention of the World Flute Society in Eau Claire, WI in July of 2014.

He will back Indian Summer and Native American Music Award nominee, flutist David Rose, a resident of Elizabethtown, PA. The duo joins a highly select group of international artists taking the festival stage at the convention.

A veteran accompanist of concert flutes, Ferrara was introduced to world flutes at Juan Carlos in Pottstown

On an evening he hosted local flutist Sarah Becker-Fralich, a dinner guest approached him. That guest, a nationally recognized Native American flute player, introduced him to the instruments right there in the restaurant. 

Recognizing that his classical training, jazz/rock experience and prior work with wind instruments could make him a desirable accompanist of world flutes, Ferrara sought out local players. When the opportunity arose to perform on the road, he arranged to present with world flute players at his destinations. David Rose found him through publicity for concerts in Georgia.

Ferrara arrived in Pottstown in 2008 to teach guitar at Steel River Playhouse, where he continues as a Master Teacher. In short order he established collaborations with local musicians. 

Noticing that a Mexican restaurant was opening at the corner of High and Penn, he interrupted renovations by walking in and beginning to play. Chef/owner Ron Garza hired him on the spot and, with one brief interruption he has been a regular every Thursday since Juan Carlos opened. 

Three of a Kind: Ferrara, Lewis Benn and Rebecca Shoemaker
By Garza's reckoning, that makes Thursday night at his restaurant the longest running weekly performance event in town.

Beginning this month “Three of a Kind,” Ferrara's rock/jazz/country collaboration with Pottstown native Rebecca Shoemaker and Phoenixville resident Lewis “Benny” Benn, will hold forth on the third Thursday of each month at Juan Carlos. 

Over the next few months they plan to develop a series of after dinner special events in an attempt to create a dynamic musical attraction on High Street.

Away from Pottstown, Ferrara has managed a burgeoning national career, touring recently in Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina with Candace Keach, Principal Flute of the Macon [GA] Symphony. 

Their program, Americana, featured American classical compositions and their own pieces for world flutes and classical/synthesizer enhanced guitar. Here is a recording of them playing together:

Ferrara heads south in June 2014 with an indie rock unit featuring his original songs, after which he will be joined by Rose. The duo is negotiating with presenters in Georgia, Alabama and Colorado. Their plan is to connect the dots between those points in a month long tour, climaxing with their performance for the World Flute Society before returning home in late July.

Rose and Ferrara
Ferrara is featured on two albums, the self-titled “Philadelphia Guitar Ensemble” [1985-out of print, awaiting re-release] and “Hole In Their Heads” [1995 – available on CD Baby and iTunes.] 

He is at work on two recording projects, a new age album with David Rose and a solo recording of his own classical guitar arrangements of rock instrumentals which he has introduced and refined at Juan Carlos.

Close to his home in Lansdowne, PA, Ferrara holds forth weekly at Ariano [Monday] and Fellini's [Tuesday,] both in Media. He also teaches at his home studio and via the Internet.

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