Elk-Chattaroy abounds with musical talent

THURSDAY, DEC. 10, 2009

Artistic talent abounds in the Elk-Chattaroy communities.

There are artists in our midst who produce all mediums of sensuous creations – paintings, photography, sculpture, woodcrafts, glassworks, jewelry, beading, fiber arts, basketry, candles, quilting, knitting, crocheting, leather crafts and, of course, the written word!

But nowhere is the talent more evident in our northern neighborhood than through its music. The musical talent in Elk-Chattaroy continues as a vibrant and important part of the heritage from generation to generation.

For the fifth year, the EMA (Elk Music Association, an affiliate of the Elk Community Park Association) has produced a Christmas CD under the Elk Tracks label. This year’s CD, “Elk Tracks – Gettin’ Back,” Christmas 2009, was released Saturday. Over the years, the Christmas CDs have been recorded with the help of two talented Elk residents: Greg Jordan of Banana Belt Studios in Elk (509-292-8327) and Wade Thames’ of College Road Recording in Spokane (509-465-9146). Christmas CD sales benefit the music and entertainment for Elk’s biggest annual festival in June, Elk Pioneer Days.

“Elk Tracks – Gettin’ Back” is on sale at area businesses including the Backwoods Store, Riverside Family Foods, Jessica’s Barber & Salon and the Elk Sentinel in Elk; Rosha’s Remedies and Computer Repair on Highway 2 in Chattaroy; and the Pend Oreille Playhouse in Newport. So, for a great $10 stocking stuffer or gift, pick up this compilation of 16 wonderful Christmas songs, all performed by local residents (of all ages) and help keep the music going.

All you have to do is listen to the Riverside High School 2008-2009 award-winning jazz band, under the direction of Brian Comstock, to know that musical talent is alive and well in the younger generation. Banana Belt Studios recorded the band’s final spring concert and it, too, is on sale for $10. The money raised will help send the concert band to the spring 2010 competition in San Francisco. For information or to purchase a CD, call Brian Comstock at (509) 464-8591 or Deede Jordan at (509)292-8327.

The band members are also selling white wristbands that say “Support the Arts” for $2 each to help raise needed funds. The RHS jazz band’s annual event, “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” a dinner-dance, will take place Feb. 6 at a cost of $30 per person. They serve prime rib or rosemary chicken and you get to dance to the tunes of the jazz band. To purchase tickets or to volunteer to help the RHS band boosters, call Sondra at (509) 844-4671 or Lora at (509) 475-8393. Many of you may remember the Cascades from the ’60s and ’70s. They have continued to perform and record through the years, and their lead singer-songwriter, Gabe Lapano, is an Elk resident. He’s busy writing songs, performing, recording CDs and touring the world. His latest CD, recorded by Banana Belt Studios, is “In the Key of Christmas.” It is a collection of 11 holiday songs, nine of which were written by Lapano and if you would like a copy, you may contact Lapano at glapano@q.com.

Lapano is playing every Friday and Saturday night in Remington’s Lounge at the Airport Ramada Inn. Lapano has had a consistent, fruitful musical career touring the U.S., Asia, the Philippines and Las Vegas and is now setting up next year’s busy schedule to many of those same locations. Like so many generous folks in the Elk-Chattaroy area, he took time out to join in the community effort to keep the music flowing by recording a song on “Elk Tracks – Gettin’ Back.”

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