Harrisburg Mandolin Ensemble to play at SFMS Cabaret, Sunday evening, June 16

Harrisburg Mandolin EnsembleThe members of the Susquehanna Folk Music Society (SFMS) Board warmly invite South Central Pennsylvania music and party lovers to the 2nd Annual Susquehanna Folk Music Society Cabaret, on Sunday, June 16 from 7-10 pm at the Appalachian Brewing Company located at 50 N. Cameron Street in Harrisburg. The “fun, festive and funky” fundraising event features live music and dancing, costumes, prizes, and an entertaining emcee duo!

Band featured will be the Harrisburg Mandolin Ensemble and The Chestnuts.

“Two terrific local bands, along with great desserts, our fabulous silent auction and cabaret-themed décor create the intimate, electrifying atmosphere of the stylish old-world cabaret,” says SFMS Executive Director Jess Hayden. The Appalachian Brewing Company, chosen for its vibrant party vibe, will be offering its regular full cash bar and dinner menu for our guests to enjoy if they like. Tickets for the festivities are $25 if ordered before June 5th or $30 after that date. Tickets must be purchased by June 10th at http://www.sfmsfolk.org

The Harrisburg Mandolin Ensemble will bring to life the sounds of the historic mandolin ensemble, which at one time could be found in many communities across the United States. To learn more, check out the interview below with band member Henry Koretzky.

 

Interview with Henry Koretzky of the Harrisburg Mandolin Ensemble

By Chris Moulton

I recently interviewed Henry Koretzky, who plays the mandolin, mandocello and does vocals for the group. The Harrisburg Mandolin Ensemble was founded about a year and a half ago, when 5 local musicians came together to form the band.

“A bunch of us who play mandolin found each other and started the band.” Henry said.

Tom Cook, a lawyer and mandolin player got together with Wade Yankey and started brainstorming a mandolin group. The ensemble resulted. They recruited Henry Koretzky, Greg Rohrer and Pete Netznik to round out the band. They have done about a dozen shows together since.

“A lot of people associate the mandolin with bluegrass.  I want to make sure that people understand that bluegrass is only a small part of what we play.” Henry said when asked about the style of music that the band plays.

Indeed, the band plays a mix of swing, jazz, bluegrass, folk and world music. Wade, the youngest member of the group, who also plays with Colebrook Road, even brings some classical pieces into the group. For example, he does a Bach cello piece as well as a piece by Bartok.

“Even though the group is blue grass based individually, the band has branched out in different directions,” Henry said.  “We now play a handful of bluegrass songs and a lot of other styles like swing.”

So just what is a mandolin and what is its origin?

“If you get into the traditions of a mandolin, it really is a pretty versatile instrument,” Henry said. Guitar, mandolin and lute are pretty much related. Every culture has a variation on the mandolin. There is the bouzouki which is Greek and the balalaika which is Russian, for example.”

According to Wikipedia, there was an instrument called the mandore which was prevalent in the 14th century and evolved from the lute. During the 17th and 18th century it later developed into the mandolin.

During the early 1900’s and late 1800s mandolin orchestras became very popular. Traveling mandolinists and teachers from Europe emigrated to other parts of the world such as the USA, Japan and Australia leading to orchestras in those countries. The orchestra would consist of 30-40 musicians playing different instruments from the mandolin family.

“You have mandolas instead of violas and mandolin base instead of base,” Henry said.

There are about 30 mandolin orchestras around the country today, including orchestras in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. In addition to the mandolin orchestra, there is the mandolin quartet which is modeled after a string quartet. Of course, Henry’s group is an ensemble.

“We were modeled after the mandolin orchestras. We decided earlier on to keep it a manageable size. We decided between each other to play different types of music. We wanted to find and arrange tunes for our various strengths”, Henry said.

For further information on the Harrisburg Mandolin Ensemble, visit their website at http://www.harrisburgmandolinensemble.com.

 

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