Fest to offer diverse music

First Posted: 2/5/2015

CLARKS SUMMIT — From historic Dixieland era music, to classic rock, to piano recitals by area students, this year’s Festival of Ice musical lineup is filled with diversity.

Singer and songwriter Tera Sheerin, 19, of Taylor, will bring her own musical twist to the festival for the first time from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15 at Everything Natural.

Sheerin is the daughter of Brenda Lamonica and stepdaughter of Ken Moden, both of Clarks Summit, and daughter of Jim Sheerin, of Taylor. A musician, composer, music teacher and recording artist, Moden described his stepdaughter as “an extremely talented young lady” who is “on fire with talent, and so level-headed and wise for her age.”

“In many ways,” he said, “she is not your typical teenage adolescent girl. She learned to play guitar from the Internet, starting about age 13. Immediately, she began writing songs and by age 14 you would think she was receiving instruction through private lessons for five years or more. …but to this date, she is self-taught. At age 15, she recorded her first solo CD at Windmill Agency with all original songs.”

Her favorite aspect of performing, Tara Sheerin said, is “interacting with an audience without even having a conversation. It’s almost like I’m being graded on an assignment, if that makes sense. Their reactions are the tools that help me to improve my work.”

Unlike many songwriters who create their pieces from personal experience, Sheerin uses the opportunity to make up stories — a concept which fits in well with this year’s festival theme of “Frozen Fairy Tales.”

“It just happens,” she said. “I’ll be fooling around on my guitar when I find a song I like. I close my eyes and create a story to match. Ironically, any of the personas I pull off in my songs are not even close to my actual self.”

Another first-time performer at the festival this year is Jim Carro, of Scranton, who will sing and play guitar from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15 at Sole to Soul.

Carro covers classic songs in a range of genres, such as rock, easy listening and folk. He is happy to be a part of the festival and looks forward to sharing his favorites with attendees.

When asked what he enjoys most about performing, he said connecting with the audience is the best part.

“I would have to say,” he said, “seeing people who know the songs sing along and enjoy them. Sometimes there’s classics that only some people know, so it’s kind of cool when people recognize some of the more odd stuff that I pull out.”

He added all of the songs he plays are covers, but some are more popular and well known than others.

Returning to the festival this year for the sixth or seventh time is the Doug Smith Dixieland All-Stars, a historic Dixieland era band led by local musician Doug Smith. In addition to the band’s regular line-up, joining in will be Dr. Ed Kosmahl on banjo and Frank Casty on clarinet.

The group is scheduled to perform from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14 at Gerrity’s supermarket, a venue which Smith said gives them a chance to “present [their] music to a lot of people who would normally never hear live Dixieland music.”

“We play right as people are checking out,” he said, laughing, “so they can’t escape it.”

Of the Festival of Ice in general, Smith said, “I think it’s a great break and respite from all the cold weather and the snow. I applaud the people who present it, because it’s not an easy task, presenting something like that even in good weather, so to present it in bad weather is even more difficult. But I think it means a lot to people — it really brightens up their day and the dreary storms of winter.”

Other musicians and bands scheduled during the festival include:

The Von Storch Trio, 1 to 3 p.m. Friday at The Pines and 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Everything Natural; Erin Malloy Vocal Studio, 6 to 7:15 p.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church; John Andrews Duo, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Citizens Bank; Revolution Trio, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at People’s Security Bank and Trust; Abington Piano Academy students, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church; Mike Waskovich, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Clel’s Place; Robbie Walsh, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Sole to Soul; Tom Rogo, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Stately Pet Supply; East Coast Quartet, 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Frontier and Jessica Illuzzi, 2 to 4 p.m. 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Lutheran.

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