Group gets Carroll hooked on music CARROLL COUNTY DIVERSIONS

December 04, 1992|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

The last notes of a radio song fade, but the melody goes on in your brain, over and over. It hangs in your head, reluctant to let go until you buy the song in the record store.

That ear-catching quality in such a song is called a "hook," said John Christenbury, board chairman of the Western Maryland Songwriters Guild.

"A hook is when a song has that part you walk away humming after you hear it," he said.

Mr. Christenbury helps guild members develop hooks in their songs during the group's monthly workshops. Thirty to 35 people belong to the 6-month-old organization, which has just applied for non-profit status.

"At the workshop we swap songs and critique each other's work," Mr. Christenbury said. "I teach song construction and melody, the things you need to know to write a song correctly. A lot of people have the words, but don't know what kind of music they want to put to them. I try to help them."

Though still young, the guild is making its presence known in the county. Every other Tuesday, from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., members perform free at Champs Restaurant in Westminster. During January, concerts will be given every Tuesday.

Guild members have played in the past at the Carroll County Arts Council's coffeehouses, though the council and the group are not affiliated, Mr. Christenbury said.

Some 16 guild acts will take the stage at 7 p.m. tonight at Frock's on Bond Street in Westminster for a concert to raise money for community projects. Tickets are $5 and available at the door.

"We're trying to raise money to do a recording of local acts," he said. "We're also trying to do free concerts around the community at places like hospitals, nursing homes and the detention center for people who don't get to hear a lot of music."

The group also wants to buy stuffed animals for Carroll County General Hospital for Christmas.

Guild members include soloists, duos and bands, including a group from South Carroll High School, offering assorted musical styles ranging from traditional folk songs to country, bluegrass, rock 'n' roll, rhythm and blues, and avant-garde.

"We don't limit our group to any certain style of music," Mr. Christenbury said. "There's really a lot of good songwriters and performers in the area."

He cites Richard Taylor of Sykesville, who has won awards for his rock albums; Chuck Mooshian and Sandy Leishear, who perform at the Havilah Inn in Taneytown; Roger Himmler, who plays six- and 12-string guitar; and Quentin King, a band composed of students from South Carroll High School.

The Western Maryland Songwriters Guild welcomes new members. Dues are $50 annually, mostly to cover the cost of paperwork. Meeting days and places vary to meet members' needs.

"Our main purpose is to further the state of acoustic music as an art in Carroll County," Mr. Christenbury said.

For information on joining the guild or scheduling a performance, free for non-profit groups, call Mr. Christenbury at 848-8272 or 876-7980.

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