Rhythm & Verse: A Literary and Music Salon

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November 19, 2015

Ellen Tepper
Ellen Tepper, harpist and historian, brings life to 500 years of harp music. Ellen was born in New York but spent most of her childhood in Vienna, Austria, where she began studying classical harp at the age of eight. Her abiding interest in early music was inspired by a childhood spent exploring ruins in Europe and by her exposure to the multi-faceted cultural life of Vienna. After returning to the United States, she continued her studies to earn a degree in Harp Performance from the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts (now The University of the Arts).

A versatile performer, Ellen has performed the traditional pedal harp repertoire but now focuses primarily on music composed before 1800, playing it on a variety of harps, including the medieval harp, the Irish wire strung harp, the Italian triple harp, the Renaissance bray harp, and the modern "Celtic" or lever harp. Ellen has performed with the Historical Harp Society, the American Harp Society, Early Music at the University of Pennsylvania, and with the iconic Philadelphia early music ensemble Piffarro. She also performs for "Music for All Seasons" (please visit their site at http://www.musicforallseasons.org/), and frequently appears as a soloist in the historic homes of the Delaware Valley. .

Marilyn Yoblick
Marilyn Yoblick's directing credits at the Stagecrafters Theater in Chestnut Hill include: Mauritius, Don't Dress for Dinner, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, A Raisin in the Sun, A A Soldier's Play, Jitney, Bus Stop, A Shayna Maidel, Born Yesterday, Sherlock's Last Case. Her acting credits at this theater include roles in: The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Superior Donuts, Quartet, A View From The Bridge, The Cemetery Club, Rumors, The Odd Couple, Crossing Delancey. Marilyn was President of Stagecrafters from 2005 through 2010. Marilyn has performed at other theaters in the area. Her film credits include: Shadowboxer, Rocket Science, Happy Tears, The Greek American, The Tolltaker, Fallen, Unbreakable.

Dave Ebersole
Dave is a playwright, comic book writer, director, amateur mixologist, and sometimes-actor in the Philadelphia area. Dave has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater from Temple University. He also attended the 2012 Summer Seminar for Writers at Sarah Lawrence College, focusing on graphic novel writing, taught by Scott Snyder. His plays include: Task, Living Space, The Church Bells All Were Broken, Subdivision, and Redemption: a romantic comedy. Dave was the resident director for Theatre For Transformation from 2009-2011, the artistic director for Diversion Productions, and artistic associate director for HATG Theater Company, which ran The Starving Artist Monologue Slam at Fergie’s Pub from 2006-2008. He is the co-creator and writer of DASH, an ongoing comic book series published by Northwest Press. He lives right outside Philadelphia with his husband Mike and his puppy Ernie.

Daniel Kaye
Daniel Sean Kaye is the writer/illustrator of “Never Underestimate a Hermit Crab,” a children’s book about individuality and creativity. Kaye has been a writer and cartoonist for 20 years. His comic strip, “MILO K., hermit crab,” ran weekly in 12 weekly community newspapers for a decade (and can currently be seen monthly in “GRID” magazine). He is the former editor of Parents Express magazine (where he wrote a monthly parenting column, “Dadography,” for more than 10 years); and House & Home and The Art of Living Well magazines (where he continues to write monthly articles). He is a monthly writer for Philadelphia Life and Suburban Life magazines as well as Suburban Family magazine, an Abington School District school board director, is on the board of the Abington Educational Foundation, and works with the Abington Community Taskforce (ACT) and Citizens and Police Together (CAPT). He is also Director of Life Enrichment at Rydal Park Continuing Care Retirement Community. He and his wife, Wendy, have one son, Aidan, 11.

October 15, 2015

Eric Birkelbach
Eric Birkelbach is an occasional guitarist, songwriter, singer and lifelong Philadelphian based in Media, PA. His band, The Underwater Robots, has been spotted playing living rooms throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area. His style focuses primarily in the Indie Rock/ Alt Country genres.

Ashley Wildes
Ashley Wildes has been singing and dabbling in music education most of her life beginning with flute and settling on guitar, eventually minoring in classical guitar at Rowan University. Since 2008 she has fronted the Philadelphia girl punk band, Dear Althea, providing lead vocals and rhythm guitar. She enjoys all genres but tends to find herself somewhere in between Blondie style punk rock and confessional singer/songwriter.

Paul Siegell
Paul Siegell is the author of wild life rifle fire (Otoliths Books), jambandbootleg (A-Head Publishing) and Poemergency Room (Otoliths Books). He is a senior editor at Painted Bride Quarterly, and has contributed to American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Coconut, Redivider, and many other fine journals. In 2015, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book is featuring Paul in the Public Poetry Project. Kindly find more of his work - and concrete poetry t-shirts - at "ReVeLeR @ eYeLeVeL" (http://paulsiegell.blogspot.com) and @paulsiegell.

September 17, 2015

Yolanda Wisher
Poet, bandleader, and educator Yolanda Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song. Yolanda is a multidisciplinary poet and educator whose work merges the personal and political through genealogical excavation, performance, and community arts facilitation. Wisher is a Pew Fellow (2015), Leeway Art & Change Grantee (2008), Cave Canem Fellow (1999-2000), and the first Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate (1999). Wisher performs widely with her band, Yolanda Wisher & The Quick Fixx.

More at www.yolandawisher.com

Mark Palacio
Mark Palacio, sideman extraordinaire, is a self-taught double bassist hailing from Central America via Brooklyn, New York. He has studied with some of Philadelphia's most elite bassists and continues the tradition through playing and teaching.

Karen L. Smith
Karen L Smith is a playwright, director, and percussionist who is based in Philadelphia but hails from New York. She currently leads two musical groups, Weez the Peeples and Sistahs Laying Down Hands.

August 20, 2015

Brian Medlin
Brian Medlin is a singer/songwriter living in Ardmore, PA. Over the past decade, he has played drums in several national touring acts but has always written and released solo material on the side. He is currently playing drums in a punk band called Legendary Divorce and working on the follow-up to his full-length "Brian Medlin & the Elk Band". His solo material has been compared to Wilco, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and My Morning Jacket, among others.

Listen/download for free at www.brianmedlinmusic.com.

Sandra Becker
Sandra Becker is the 2015 Bucks County, Pennsylvania Poet Laureate selected by Kim Addonizio. She has three published books: Imperfect Matter, WordTech 2013, At the Well of Flowers, Virtual Artists’ Collective 2011, Foreign Bodies, Carolina Wren Press 2004. Her new book Dread Islands will be published soon. It reflects her care for members of that community. She hopes these new poems will serve as a window into the daily lives and challenges that these individuals and their families face. Her poem, .A City Girl Feeds Country Cows was read by Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac on September 28, 2014. In 2000, she received a first place award from the National League of American Pen Women, Simi Valley Branch for her poem, “Honor the Stones.” She feels immensely blessed to be part of the community of amazing and gifted poets of Bucks and Montgomery Counties. She grew up in-New York, lived in each of the boroughs at one time or another except the Bronx and now lives in Doylestown, PA.. She’s amazed by the serendipity that led her to Bucks County without knowing of the richness of its poetry community.

July 16, 2015

Emmanuel Angel
Dr. Emmanuel Angel is a musician and a researcher who has studied the personality characteristics of musicians, particularly as personality correlates with measures of occupational stress, wellness, and coping.

For the past few summers, Angel has traveled in Europe with his guitar, couch-surfing and living as a street musician. From U-Bahn tunnels of Berlin to pedestrian streets of Copenhagen and Malmö, he has performed and supported his travels using a battery-powered amplifier and a compact looping device that stores musical accompaniments. By taking his music to the streets, he has been able to find places to stay and has experienced freedom and autonomy in music making. His travels have inspired music and poetry.

Angel’s first “electrified” guitar was his nylon-string Martin, to which he secured a microphone from a reel-to-reel tape recorder using rubber bands. He achieved a primitive amplification system by jamming the tape recorder into standby mode, and performed with this setup in grade school.

Angel’s interest in musicians’ personalities stems from his early observation of the disparate expression and comportment exhibited by musicians of various genres, or as he thinks of them, musical “tribes”. Coming from a family of musicians, he studied classical piano early, gravitating soon toward contemporary styles of American music. Although his main instrument is the electric guitar, he has also studied bassoon, performing in college and community orchestras. Angel has studied counterpoint and analysis with the late composer, Nicolas Roussakis, former president of The American Composer’s Orchestra.

Other interests include psychometric methods, cognitive aspects of question design, self-generated validity, statistical methods in social science research, computer algorithms, the design of programming languages, and the philosophy of science. Angel holds a Ph.D. in Policy Research, Evaluation, and Measurement from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, where he has taught graduate courses in statistics. Angel also holds a M.S. in computer science from Rutgers University, and has created analytic and statistical software for nuclear medicine and the pharmaceutical industry.


Musician Study:

Carla Spataro
Carla Spataro is MFA program director at Rosemont College and is the editorial director of Philadelphia Stories and PS Books. She has won a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant for fiction (back when they still gave those out) and has been a finalist in the Mason's Road Fiction Contest and the Philadelphia City Paper Fiction Contest. Her work was featured three times in the InterAct Theatre Company's Writing Aloud Series and her short stories have appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, The Baltimore Review, Mason's Road, and others.

June 18, 2015

Rondelay is an early music group founded by two menestrelles (or minstrels, if you prefer English!) hailing from eastern Pennsylvania, sometimes joined by like-minded friends. Our aim is to present a historically informed, yet lively and personable performance of the music of the Middle Ages. We play a variety of instruments that were heard during those times, echoing from the feast halls of kings to the taverns and village squares of the common folk. Our repertory spans from the goliards of the 12th century to the country dances of the Renaissance.

Margarita Rankin is a native of Greece currently living in Eastern Pennsylvania and has studied music since the age of 4. She has a Performance Diploma in Piano, and Conservatory degrees in classical harmony and 16th century counterpoint. She has been a member of rock bands, madrigal choirs and early music consorts during the last couple decades. Her favorite musical instrument is "yes"; she sings and plays the citole, rebec, hurdy-gurdy, recorders, rauschpfeife and percussion.

Wendy Gale began playing flute as a young and recalcitrant child, and is very grateful for having been forced to stick with it. Her instrument repertoire now includes recorder, crumhorn, and rauschpfeife, and the occasional tambourine. Wendy has performed with Burlap Lute (folk and Renaissance music), Terra Serpentis (neo-medieval/tribal), and the Rock Lane Consort (a recorder group formed through the Philadelphia Recorder Society). She currently organizes the Bhakaili Branslers, a group dedicated to providing live dance music for revels and reenactment events, which she has been part of for 20 years.

Paul Butler is a singer and multi-instrumentalist who researches, plays, and builds medieval and Renaissance instruments. Originally trained in classical violin and choral music, he discovered folk and early music in college and it rather stuck; since then he has offered performances and presentations on historical music at a wide variety of venues, including Renaissance faires, museums, schools, and civic associations. Paul plays with several groups, including the folk ensemble Rabbit Stampede and the Bhakaili Branslers.

Kat Richter
Kat Richter is an award-winning columnist, freelance writer and professor of anthropology. She holds an MA in Dance Anthropology from London's Roehampton University and BA in History and Dance from Goucher College. As a writer, she specializes in dance criticism, travel writing, personal essays and humor.

Her blog, Fieldwork in Stilettos, chronicles her misadventures in online dating and home renovations and her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Baltimore Sun, Dance Magazine, Museum and Skirt. She has also been featured on Good Morning America, HuffPost Live and in Marie Claire Magazine. In addition to her work as a writer and teaching artist, Kat is Artistic Director of The Lady Hoofers Tap Ensemble, a professional all-female tap company based in Philadelphia.

May 21, 2015

Eve Thomas Duo
Since the mid 70's, Craig Thomas has been one of the most in demand bassists and bass educator in Philadelphia. He is a graduate of the Philadelphia Music Academy (now The University of the Arts) with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Rutgers University. Craig also received his Master of Arts Music from Rowan University in May 2002.

Craig has played with a vast array of jazz luminaries, including Buddy Rich, Philly Joe Jones, Mel Lewis, Pat Martino and Jimmy Bruno, just to name a few. He has also accompanied such pop icons as Vic Damone and Frank Sinatra. He occasionally plays with various local orchestras in a more classical venue.

Craig has also recorded with a number of different musicians, his most recent efforts being on the 2011 CD release "Contagious Words" with John Vanore and Abstract Truth, and "Playtime" with Eve Thomas, the CD of which he also produced and arranged. He has also recorded four CDs on the Concord Jazz label with Jimmy Bruno, two live cds entitled "Live at Birdland" with Bobby Watson and "Live at Birdland Two" with Scott Hamilton. His performances and compositions have been reviewed in Downbeat, Just Jazz Guitar, International Society of Bassists Journal and Jazztimes magazines.

Craig is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Delaware. Craig teaches private lessons in acoustic/electric bass, improvisation, theory and jazz history.

Eve Thomas has been singing professionally for over 25 years. She is a graduate of the Esther Boyer College of Music at Temple University with a degree in Jazz vocal performance. She has performed at a variety of venues from Atlantic City to Penn State. In 2011 she recorded her CD “Playtime” with her husband Craig and a who’s who of jazz players in the area supporting her.

This is the first time that Craig and Eve will be performing live as a duo and they are very excited about the opportunity to do so.

Barbara Russell
Barbara Russell opened her needlepoint design business in 1971. Now forty four years into this career, her designs are sold nationally and she was an innovator of needlepoint as sculpture. Currently she is transitioning from designing needlepoint to writing poetry, and working on a memoir, which makes prose poetry appealing.

She is on the Board of Musehouse and received the 2014 Ronald Johnson Poetry Award. Experimenting with blending needlepoint and poetry, some of her poems explain what she is aiming for in her visual art or try to compliment it.

April 16, 2015

David Escobar-Martin

David Escobar-Martín is the product of spoken word and written poetry. A Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement Alumni, David has performed at poetry slams since the age of fifteen. David's current goal is to earn a spot on his college's CUPSI team for 2016. He now studies at Temple University and majors in Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature.

He enjoys reading and writing poetry in English, Spanish, and French and often considers foreign languages to be the reason why he began writing poetry for audiences beyond the stage. His blog is a testament to his efforts to grow outside the realm of spoken word and his chapbook, Eden, defines his love of both styles.

Sandy Bender
Sandy Bender's passionate but playful music springs forth from his deep and sensitive listening to the pulse of life expressed through human joys and sorrows. His artful playing of guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica, clarinet, and violin reveals mines of dazzling beauty culled from folk ballads, blue grass, blues, gypsy, jazz and classical music.

Sandy achieved a Master of Arts in Music and Painting at New York University during which he studied classical guitar with Juan de La Mata, a concert classical and flamenco guitarist as well as professor of music from the Royal Conservatory of Madrid in Spain. This foundation enabled him to integrate melody, harmony and diverse timbre into his musical palette.

Sandy has played banjo with the Americana band Wild Mustard and has composed and performed instrumental music with the River Poets. He is currently completing a new compact disk of his solo instrumental compositions.

Sandy Bender is also an artist and architect who has been writing about the floodplain ecosystem. He presently lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania not far from the scenic Delaware River.

March 19, 2015

Denise Moser

Denise Moser is a singer/songwriter and writer of flash fiction. She has the unique gift of being both achingly insightful and poignantly clever. Her songs have been compared with the early work of Joni Mitchell, Kate Wolf and Dar Williams.

Here Right Now, Denise's second CD, was released with positive reviews, and songs from it have been played on various traditional and internet radio stations, including WXPN in Philadelphia. In response to Here Right Now, No Depression's website called her "the Norman Rockwell songwriter."

"Denise's songs shine a mindful light on the everyday things of our lives, reflecting on their deeper meanings. Her voice is direct, honest, lovely and she leaves you feeling like you've found a new friend." (Anne Hills, singer/songwriter). http://denisemosermusic.com

Roy Smith
Roy word Smith is an avid fisherman with a creative writing habit: He has been published in Apiary number six, The River anthology, The River poets journal, Live at Karla's, an anthology of thirteen New Hope poets. Phantom Billstickers Cafe Reader, FZQ quarterly online journal. The Bucks county Herald. and some others that he has forgotten! His poetry and short stories and not so short stories are eclectic in nature yet always seem to bloom from the earth. He resides in New Hope Pa and you can often find him by his computer with his orange tabby cat, Buddy by his side.

February 19, 2015

Claire C. Meashey
Claire C. Meashey is the president and owner of the PERFORMING ARTISTS TAX SERVICE, INC. located in Conshohocken, PA. For over 30 years she has prepared tax returns for area Producers, Performing Artists and Craftsmen.

A graduate of Fordham University in NYC, Claire is very active in the theatre community and started her tax company to serve the needs of her fellow performers. Through referrals and word of mouth, her business continues to grow and flourish.

Claire works as a consultant for various groups and organizations. She specializes in the unique tax needs of the self-employed and has conducted seminars for Screen Actors’ Guild members, alumni and students of the Arts Institute as well as smaller groups for casting directors and agents.

When not calculating tax returns, Claire is an historic storyteller and actress for Historic Philadelphia, Inc. This will be her 5th season with HPI and she is looking forward to telling their wonderful stories in Philadelphia and Valley Forge this year.

Neil Goldstein

Neil Goldstein enjoys a love affair with music and believes it a bridge from the heart to the soul. Neil has performed on numerous stages as well as in religious settings as an actor and a vocalist. Utilizing poetic song to inspire and rejoice, he has performed in many company productions from Gilbert & Sullivan to Shakespeare, from Broadway to Folk music. In addition, Neil is a professional sports announcer. A renaissance man, he brings a repertoire of international melodies for your enjoyment.

Grayson Zuber

Grayson Zuber is a classical guitarist and both composes and accompanies various artists. He is well known around the Bryn Athyn area for his innovation and stylistic musical patterns. He is also a master craftsmen and specializes in period middle ages stone masonry.

January 15, 2015

Phyllis Chapell
Phyllis Chapell (vocalist/guitarist) performs a unique mix of originals, folk, jazz and international music, including songs in up to 13 languages from the U.S., Brazil, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Her American repertoire covers a wide range of music from jazz and folk, to pop standards, as well as originals. Phyllis Chapell has performed in concert throughout the U.S., in Brazil, Latin America, and Europe. She has released 2 solo CDs, and 4 CDs with her internationally known world jazz ensemble Phyllis Chapell & SIORA.

Phyllis Chapell has been named as one of the top 500 jazz vocalists of all time by Scott Yanow (writer for Down Beat, Jazz Times and AllMusicGuide). She has also won song competitions for her original music; and was chosen to be one of Indie- Music’s Top 25.

You can check out her website: www.siorajazz.com.

Therése Halscheid
Writer ~ Photographer ~ House-Sitter ~ Teacher

Therése Halscheid's previous poetry collections include Powertalk, Without Home, Uncommon Geography, which won a finalist award for the Paterson Poetry Book Prize; and Greatest Hits, a chapbook award from Pudding House Publications. Her poetry, essays and short stories have appeared in magazines such as The Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, Sou'wester, Tiferet, among others. She has received Fellowships from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and NJ State Council on the Arts.

In her new collection Frozen Latitudes, the barren and timeless landscape of Alaska becomes a metaphor for places frozen in time when her father Charles, suffered brain damage. Woven among these pages are journey poems of other locales, which share the interchangeability of nature and human nature.
For the past two decades, she has been an itinerant writer by way of house-sitting, caring for others' homes and animals. This mobility, along with simple living, has helped her to sustain her writing life. Her photography chronicles her journey, and has been in several juried shows.

Through cultural exchange programs Therese has traveled widely, and taught in England and Russia. She frequently visits schools to engage students in the creative writing process, and offers professional development workshops to teachers, grades K-12