What are they doing now?

Matt Urminski teaching druming at the Reaching Heights Summer Music Camp --photo courtesy of Susie Kaeser

Heights High, long known for its visual and performing arts, has produced six graduates who are taking their musical talents to new heights.

Matt Urminski '05 is a member of Ohio University’s African Ensemble and the private African drumming and dance company Azaguno. He is a student of Paschal Yao Younge, a world percussion expert, the hand-drumming accompanist for OU’s School of Dance African Dance classes, and teaches two other accompanists in training. He will graduate this year with a master's in specialized studies and minors in cultural arts and psychology.

In 2007, Matt traveled to Ghana to learn about African culture and take workshops with master drum makers. “If I didn't drum, I'd be frantic or bored," he said. "It puts life into perspective. You get into a trance; you create order out of chaos. It's definitely a good way to get away from stress."

Matt shared his love of drumming as a counselor at the Reaching Heights Summer Music Camp. This past summer he received the Future Educator’s Award.

Matt is a member of the band Majesty. Readers can listen to the band’s latest CD, The Sun and The Sea, at www.myspace.com/hailyourmajesty. Majesty describes itself as a band that “once started out as an acoustic folk-duo, [but] has now evolved into a multi-instrumental gaggle of harmonies and melodies, all of which deem beauty and understanding within its lyrics and music.”

Readers can contact Matt by email at m_urminski@hotmail.com or YourMajestyMusic@gmail.com.

Benjamin Bloom '07, Jacob Bergson '06, James Muschler '07, and Nathan Davis '05 had played together at Heights High since 2005—Jacob on piano, James on drums, Nathan on saxophone, and Ben on bass. After graduation, the four continued getting together to play gigs around town. In the Summer of 2008, the group decided to rerecord a CD of all original music, on which Jacob and Nathan wrote all of the tracks. The CD, Experiment #1,was released at a party at NightTown.

“Our jazz is hard to describe,” Ben said, “because it is built on top of a foundation made of a myriad of so many different influences that it sounds like nothing I've really ever heard.” The group’s main influences include John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, and Vijay Iyer among others. The CD, which was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Audio Recording in Bentleyville, OH, sports a cover design by Cleveland Heights artist Cathie Bleck.

Readers can listen to the CD at www.myspace.com/clevelandjazzproject, or contact Ben at benjamin.bloom@mail.mcgill.ca.

Adam Zucker '06 has been into music for as long as he can remember. He was in a few bands in high school but none of them ever attained the level of success he was aiming for. He decided to branch out and try doing something on his own. “I started writing again, and when I realized I had some good material to work with, I decided to put it to tape,” Adam explained when describing his motivation for producing his CD entitled The Western Glow.

Adam describes his music as a calm guitar and vocal-based variation on the folk-rock genre. “I tend to think of my work as contemplative and textured, and as relying heavily on the delicate interplay between instruments and sonic layers.” He spends a lot of time writing thoughtful lyrics and feels strongly that interesting lyrics are an essential part of a great song.

All the songs were written and performed by Adam. Jacob Bergson plays the organ on three of the tracks.

Adam hopes to put out another CD soon. Hard copies of his album are available from www.cdbaby.com/cd/adamzucker. Digital downloads of the album can be purchased from www.digstation.com/AdamZucker and soon on iTunes.

Keep that information about our Heights graduates coming! Email me at lita@valancy.com.

Lita Gonzalez, a long time community volunteer, lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Mark. Both her daughters are Heights High graduates.
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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 11:02 PM, 10.20.2008