Archive for the ‘Gretsch Events’ Category

Fred & Dinah Gretsch Honor John Lennon

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Gretsch Guitar Placed at the Imagine Memorial in Central Park

Gretsch Guitar and Beatles Gear Book Placed at Memorial in Memory of John Lennon

Representing the fourth generation of Gretsch musical-instrument manufacturers, Fred and Dinah Gretsch made a visit to New York City’s Central Park on December 8—the 30th anniversary of the assassination of legendary singer, composer, and musician John Lennon. The couple was there to place a Gretsch Historic Series acoustic guitar near the “Imagine” memorial within the Strawberry Fields area. The guitar was inscribed with the word “Imagine” as well as being signed by Fred and Dinah. It was their way of paying their respects to John Lennon and to all his fans.

Although the Gretsches have lived in Georgia for many years, Fred Gretsch spent his boyhood in the New York City area. “I was here in 1964 when the Beatles came,” says Fred. “Coming back to New York, where my family roots are, always kindles many tender reminiscences. But coming this time to honor John Lennon’s memory makes this visit especially poignant.”

Inside the tribute guitar placed by Fred and Dinah was a copy of a photo that’s near and dear to their hearts. It shows John Lennon playing a Gretsch guitar during the recording session for the Beatles’ classic hit “Paperback Writer” in 1966. The following reference to that guitar appears in the Beatles Gear book by Andy Babiuk:

Dinah and Fred Gretsch at Lennon Memorial

“Keeping in step with their scheduled LP and 45 releases, the group set out to record a new single, ‘Paperback Writer.’ The April 13th session was photographically documented for The Beatles Monthly Book providing detailed information on the instruments used. New to their guitar line-up was a Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 that Lennon used. The early-1960s orange-finished double-cutaway 6120 hollow body guitar had gold-plated hardware apart from its aluminum-colored Bigsby [vibrato tailpiece].”

Fred Gretsch adds, “Aside from the fact that John Lennon played that guitar, it’s special to me for another reason. It would have been made in the 1960s at the Gretsch factory in Brooklyn. My uncle, Fred Gretsch Jr., was running the company at that time. And ironically, Uncle Fred died in 1980—the same year in which John Lennon died.

“John’s music made an impression on millions of people around the world,” Fred concludes. “And it continues to do so, generation after generation. We placed the guitar at John’s memorial as a symbol that we hope will remind people of the power and importance of his music.”

See video clip of an interview with Mr. Gretsch here.

Dinah & Fred Gretsch Being Interviewed at Memorial

Dinah and Fred Gretsch

Stanton Moore Packs PASIC Performance Halls

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Stanton Moore Performs at PASIC

PASIC (Percussion Art Society International Conference) attendees were treated to a double helping of Stanton’s down home “Groove Alchemy.”  On Friday, November 12, Stanton performed an afternoon clinic and then again at an evening concert with his trio (featuring Wil Blades on B3 organ and Scott Metzger on guitar).  The clinic performance hall was packed full with a standing room only crowd and was among the most highly attended PASIC clinics of 2010.  For both the clinic and concert, Stanton used a Gretsch USA Custom kit in Twilight Glass Glitter, a new finish that will be released in 2011.  The kit included a massive 14″x26″ auxiliary bass drum that Stanton incorporated when he wanted access to maximum tonal impact.  He also extensively used his signature 4.5″x14″ solid birds eye maple snare drum for both performances.  When not in use by Stanton, PASIC show goers were able to check out the complete drum set and snare drum at the Gretsch drum booth in the PASIC product hall.

The clinic performance included Stanton’s trio and focused on Stanton’s ability to distill classic funk patterns with sticking pattern breakdowns.  He then demonstrated how those basic sticking patterns are applied to the drum set and morphed to create further beat evolutions.  “Groove Alchemy” printed materials with graphic drum set beat notation were provided to all in attendance.  Stanton’s beats were supported by full band performances, which allowed the audience to experience how the beats are used in a full-band context.

The Friday evening clinic was an all out groove assault that showcased the drummer’s prodigious musical talents.  Stanton’s trio performed a collection of instrumentals that ranged from straight-up funk to a traditional New Orleans dirge to swinging shuffles.  While the emphasis was on the overall musical interplay, each musician applied a liberal amount of solo time.  It was during these moments that Stanton inspired the drum-centric crowd with his press rolls, angular, syncopated rhythmic patterns and bombastic, over-the-bar fills.  After the last note had been played, the audience demonstrated their appreciation for Stanton and his trio by responding with a standing ovation.

Dinah Gretsch Establishes “Mrs. G’s Music Foundation”

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Initiative Supports Music Education In Schools

Visitors to Gretsch.com often read about the activities of Gretsch Company president Fred W. Gretsch. But as Fred would be the first to tell you, his wife Dinah is just as involved in company activities as he is. In fact, as chief financial officer of The Gretsch Company, Dinah Gretsch has been a prominent figure in the musical-instrument industry for more than thirty years.

But Dinah is much more than a key Gretsch Company officer. She is also a parent and grandparent, with an abiding love for children and a keen interest in their development. Given her connection to music, Dinah is particularly concerned with providing children the opportunity to benefit from music education. Accordingly, in June of this year she created the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation. The Foundation’s initial goal is to promote music education in schools located within the greater Savannah area, where The Gretsch Company is based.

“Budget problems have forced many schools across the country to cut out their music programs,” says Dinah. “And that’s sad. But there are many rural schools in our area that have never had music programs, and that’s a tragedy. The Mrs. G’s Music Foundation is tied in with the Savannah Community Foundation as a way to solicit funds for direct aid to those schools.”

The aid in question is being used to fund instructional music programs, as well as seminars, workshops, and concerts by visiting artists. The artist visits serve double-duty as teaching programs and motivational sessions.

Students at THA in Ridgeland, SC take part in a World Drumming Program funded by the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation.

The Foundation’s efforts were inaugurated recently at the Thomas Heyward Academy (THA), which is located near the Gretsch USA factory in Ridgeland, South Carolina. One hundred fifty students are taking part in a World Drumming Program created by noted educator Dr. William Schmidt in conjunction with drumhead and percussion manufacturer Remo, Inc. Funds were provided to supply percussion instruments and workbooks for the students, along with instructional materials for the teacher. In addition, The Gretsch Foundation—the charitable arm of the Gretsch Family—donated guitars to supply guitar students with practice instruments.

“We even refurbished a building on the campus to create a music teaching studio,” says Dinah, enthusiastically. “Now the kids not only have a music program, they also have a dedicated space for that program.”

The Mrs. G’s Music Foundation In-House Visiting Artist program brought top touring drummer Mark Schulman to THA. Schulman played drums, gave an inspirational talk, and spent time with the students.

The Foundation’s In-House Visiting Artist program was also inaugurated at Thomas Heyward Academy with a presentation this past September 10 by top drummer and Gretsch endorser Mark Schulman. Mark has played with such artists as Cher, Foreigner, and Sheryl Crow, and he’s currently touring with pop superstar Pink.

The Thomas Heyward Academy students packed the school’s gym to watch Mark play drums and give an inspirational speech. He spoke to the students about always staying positive, stressing that a good attitude and good behavior will lead to a good life. Mark also believes in the inspiration of music, citing studies that show how students who play music have improved math and English scores. “Music inspires so much joy and such an ability to create,” he said. “Every component of your being wins when you’re playing music.”

Schulman relinquished the drum seat to Heyward Academy sophomore Jacob Rountree for a lively jam session.

But Mark wasn’t the only star of the show. When he asked if any student wanted to sing with him, Jacob Rountree stepped forward. But Jacob didn’t want to sing—he wanted to play the drums. The fifteen-year-old sophomore started playing drums when he was ten, gave it up for awhile, but got back into it about a year ago. When Mark heard that Jacob was a drummer, he stepped aside and let the youngster jam.

"Mrs. G"—Dinah Gretsch—and Joe Robinson

Mark’s dynamic presentation at Thomas Heyward Academy was followed on September 30 with an all-day seminar/workshop and an afternoon concert featuring rising guitar star Joe Robinson. Joe was the winner of the Australia’s Got Talent TV competition in 2008—at the age of sixteen—and he’s already made a name for himself within the Nashville musical community.  His attendance at the school caught the attention of local media.

Six more artist presentations are planned for this year.

Dinah Gretsch (the real-life “Mrs. G”) with Mauldin Sauls, whose logo design will be used for the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation.

Dinah Gretsch also gave students at Thomas Heyward Academy the opportunity to design a logo for her new foundation, to be featured on all written materials and promotional items. The winning design, by eighth-grader Mauldin Sauls, was selected from a large group by Mark Schulman. Mauldin received a $500 prize for her efforts.

The World Drumming Program has also been instituted at Savannah’s Notre Dame Academy. At that location the Mrs. G’s Foundation will also fund the music teacher.

“We want to broaden the scope of the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation as much as possible,” says Dinah Gretsch, “in order to help as many kids as we can. So we’re coordinating with North Carolina’s “Music For Learning” program in a 50/50 funding partnership to put music education into six different Head Start daycare centers in Savannah. We’ll be working with other projects in the future.

Dinah Gretsch and Joe Robinson with Nikki Davis, THA's Music Teacher.

“I believe that music has the power to change children’s lives for the better,” Dinah concludes. “And if we can reach young children with that power, we can set them on a positive path for the rest of their lives. I have the time and the connections with which to implement the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation . . . and the children provide me with the motivation. I think it’s going to be a very productive combination.”

Joe Robinson Scheduled to Perform

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Mrs. G’s Music Foundation proudly presents . . .

JOE ROBINSON
“AUSTRALIA’S GOT TALENT” 2008 WINNER

Performing at the Thomas Heyward Academy
Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 12:15 p.m.
1727 Malphrus Road, Ridgeland, SC 29936

Music lovers who are planning to be in the area are invited to attend.

Standing Room Only!

Mrs. G’s Music Foundation was established by Dinah Gretsch with the goal of enriching children’s lives through music.  Stay tuned for more information about this great new program and about a recent clinic held by Mark Schulman.

ABOUT JOE ROBINSON:
“HAVING QUICKLY ENTRENCHED HIMSELF AS AUSTRALIA’S NEWEST MUSIC PHENOMENON – JOE ROBINSON IS TRULY A VIRTUOSO MUSICIAN.  HIS JAW DROPPING INSTRUMENTAL STYLINGS HAVE GARNERED THE ATTENTION OF MANY GUITAR MASTERS, INCLUDING LES PAUL, STEVE VAI, BRAD PAISLEY, TOMMY EMMANUEL, BRENT MASON, LEE RITENOUR, STEVE CROPPER AND DWEEZIL ZAPPA.  AT A YOUNG AGE JOE HAS PLAYED HEADLINE SHOWS IN MAJOR CENTERS ALL OVER THE GLOBE – INCLUDING LONDON, NEW YORK, HELSINKI, BUDAPEST, SYDNEY, BERLIN, MILAN, VIENNA, BANGKOK, ROME AND AMSTERDAM.  AS AN AWARD WINNING AND PROLIFIC SONGWRITER/COMPOSER, FEARLESS AND ENERGETIC PERFORMER AND HUMBLE, LIKEABLE INDIVIDUAL – ROBINSON SEEMS DESTINED FOR GREATNESS.”

Mark Schulman Visits Musician’s Warehouse in Athens, GA

Monday, September 20th, 2010

By special correspondent and 6th Generation Gretsch Family member, Will Gretsch

On Monday, September 13, Mark Schulman displayed his jaw-dropping drumming to the people of Athens, GA at the Musician’s Warehouse. Jamming on a new Gretsch Renown Maple Series kit, he inspired the audience to play drums with not only passion but with the right “attitude”.

Left to Right: 6th & 5th generation Gretsch family members Will Gretsch and Fred Gretsch Jr. with Mark Schulman and Ed Magruder (owner of Musician's Warehouse) and Don Waylett (KMC Music District Sales Manager).

Mark’s clinic featured a state of the art audio visual presentation with him playing along to a series of tracks accompanied by exciting video montages.  His performances across a wide variety of musical styles demonstrated his comprehensive knowledge of music from many different cultures.

Mark explained how he developed his “attitude” at a young age, playing cello in front of his entire school. One moment in particular made him realize the power of being able to play an instrument. After performing in front of the whole school, he explained how he was dreading going back into the classroom for fear of the ridicule and scorn his classmates would surely bestow upon him. Hands shaking, Mark grasped the knob and opened the door awaiting his embarrassment. Instead, to his surprise, he received a standing ovation from his classmates for his outstanding performance. This experience would shape Mark’s attitude forever.

Mark also explained how his love for drumming came from one of the most famous moments in music history.  Replaying footage of the legendary 1964 appearance by The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, Mark told of how he instantly fell in love with drums and drumming. The fans screaming, Ringo’s head shaking, girls crying; the young Mark Schulman knew that playing the drums was what he wanted to do. It inspired him to pick up a pair of sticks and get his first kit, a cheap Sears Catalogue drum set.

Mark continued to impress upon the audience the importance of having a positive attitude and it was evident whenever Mark was in the room, because he brings it with him in everything he does.  Judging by the expressions on the audiences’ faces, Mark’s clinic was a huge success.

The event was also a special occasion because it gave me and my Father, 5th generation Gretsch family member Fred Gretsch Jr., the opportunity to meet a great friend and ambassador of The Gretsch Company.  It was also wonderful to be able to hear just how great the instruments which have been my family’s legacy for over 125 years sound in the hands of such a wonderful musician.  Finally, Mark signed autographs for everyone who attended and offered one very important final piece of advice saying, “Play what you love; for me, I love Gretsch!”

Gretsch Guitars at Abbey Road on the River

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Beatlemania invaded the nation’s capital once again and Gretsch Guitars was there.  The “Abbey Road on the River”  festival happened in the Washington, D.C. area over the Labor Day weekend and featured a near-constant lineup of bands, guest speakers, films, contests and other special events, all of which were staged to celebrate the still-thriving legacy of the Beatles.

Billed as “the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival,” Abbey Road on the River took place from Thursday, Sept. 2 to Monday, Sept. 6 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center hotel in National Harbor, MD.  Gretsch co-sponsored the event.

Gretsch girl Kim Falcon was on hand for photos and to sign autographs. Gretsch Guitars also presented Hal Bruce and the Hard Dazed Knights in concert, who played 214 Beatles songs as a single continuous medley with no breaks or intermission.

Gretsch enthusiasts enjoyed a personal appearance by Fred Gretsch and Gretsch product specialist Joe Carducci. They presented the Gretsch Guitars Experience, sharing behind-the-scenes stories about Gretsch history—which included the Beatles—and a multimedia presentation of the sights and sounds of Gretsch.

Abbey Road on the River takes place twice a year, once in Louisville, KY over Memorial Day weekend and then again in National Harbor, MD (Washington, D.C.) over Labor Day weekend.  Mark our calendar now for 2011 and we’ll see you there.

Click here to watch videos from the event.

Jazz Brunch at Fort Stewart Museum a “Splendid Event”

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Fred & Dinah with 3rd ID Jazz Combo Drummer SGT Jason McElveen

Fred and Dinah Gretsch recently attended a jazz brunch at the Fort Stewart Museum as the guests of Brigadier General Jeffrey E. Phillips, 3rd Infantry Division Deputy Commanding General-Rear. Hosted by General Phillips and 3rd ID Command Sergeant Major-Rear, Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Ashmen, the event featured music by the 3rd ID Jazz Combo and a presentation and tour by the museum curator Walter “Buck” Meeks III.

The museum includes several thousand artifacts in its archives and the current exhibit includes a walk-through timeline of world events, explaining the 3rd ID’s role beginning in 1917, as well as telling its story through the voices and words of Soldiers who have made up the Division.  The museum is one of the first places Soldiers arriving at Fort Stewart are required to visit.

The 3rd ID Jazz Combo with retired SFC Walt Peters (far right)

Sitting in with the band was a special guest, retired Sergeant First Class Walt Peters, a Vietnam veteran and volunteer of the Savannah Chapter of the American Red Cross.  Well known to all the Soldiers at Fort Stewart, Peters has made it his personal mission to greet every single departing and returning Soldier as they pass through Savannah’s Hunter Army Airfield base.  An accomplished guitarist, Peters spent many years as a professional guitarist in Nashville.

“It was an honor to be invited to such a splendid event”, said Fred Gretsch.  “The museum is a fitting tribute to the legacy of the 3rd Infantry Division and we are truly privileged to have such an important institution right here on our doorstep in Savannah.  The 3rd ID Jazz Combo was terrific, absolutely first class. They kept everyone entertained with really great music throughout.”

SGT McElveen

The Fort Stewart Museum is free and open to the public but requires civilian visitors to obtain a pass to enter the installation.  The museum is located in Building T904, 2022 Frank Cochran Drive, Fort Stewart.  For more information, call 912-767-7885. Hours: 10 am-4 pm, Tuesdays-Saturdays (closed Sundays, Mondays, and federal holidays).

Fred & Dinah Attend Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Concert

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

On August 11, Fred and Dinah Gretsch, along with 18,000 highly-energized and eager fans, had the chance to attend the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert in Atlanta’s Phillips Arena.  With the equally legendary group–Crosby, Stills, & Nash–opening the show, it was guaranteed to be a night not soon forgotten.

Before the show Fred and Dinah had the opportunity to spend some time backstage visiting with members of both bands.  The Atlanta show followed a week-long break and Tom and the rest of the Heartbreakers seemed to be in good spirits as they prepared to kick off the third leg of their Mojo summer tour.

Mike Campbell on Stage

The Gretsches learned that Mike Campbell, the Heartbreakers’ lead guitarist and one of its original founding members, recently purchased a ‘56 Gretsch Nashville of which he’s reportedly very proud.  They were also delighted with the opportunity to visit with the Heartbreakers’ drummer, family friend, and Gretsch drum endorser, Steve Ferrone.

Fred with Steve Ferrone

This show was the first of several that rock legends CSN will be opening on the Mojo tour.  Gracious as always, Stephen, Graham, and David spent time catching up with the Gretsches and chatting about some of their instruments including, of course, their various Gretsch guitars.

After delivering their best wishes to all, it was on to the show.  Following an amazing 90-minute set by CSN, Tom and the Heartbreakers did not disappoint. “Tom Petty has reached the youth market again,” commented Dinah after seeing the large number of young fans in attendance. Thirty-four years and counting and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are still selling out shows.  With their earlier hits becoming popular with today’s youth, it appears their music will be transcending generations of music lovers for a long time to come.

Two legendary groups; one amazing evening of music.  It can’t get much better than that!

In Concert