The Lakelander - Issue 45 / The Music Issue

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ISSU E 45

COPELAND MICHAEL MCARTHUR MEET HANNAH DOBSON NEW ARTISTS IN STYLE


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Begin a lifetime of treasured moments with us. Lakeland Regional Health Obstetrics and Gynecology Providers:

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myLRH.org/obstetrics-and-gynecology

Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children + 1324 Lakeland Hills Blvd + Lakeland, FL 33805 Grasslands Campus + 3030 Harden Blvd + Lakeland, FL 33803 I SS U E 44

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Visit lakelandmagic.com or Call 863.825.3258 For More Information

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C O N T E N T S ISSUE 45

ON THE COVER In this issue of The Lakelander, we celebrate our local talent and how music binds us as a community. Photo by Dan Austin

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CONTENTS

84 FEATURES

50 • PEOPLE

60 • STYLE

76 • NEW ARTIST

84 • NEW MUSIC

The Mystery of MrENC

Stereophonic Autumn

The Swells and the Swings

Handmade Sound

Lakeland native Eric Collins’ impact on the local music scene

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Fall fashion trends and the Lakeland artists you need to know

How Hannah Dobson found her voice and established herself as a local artist

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An update on Michael McArthur’s most recent projects



CONTENTS

98 • BUSINESS

108

Staying in Tune The story behind one of Lakeland’s most beloved music schools

108 • SHELTER

Living Room Live How to transform your home into the perfect spot for a house concert

122 • NEW MUSIC

What Lies Beneath The past, present, and future of one of Lakeland’s most famous hometown bands

134 • PHILANTHROPY

The Rhythm of Hope

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Play It Forward Polk encourages the youth in the public school system to not let circumstance define their ability to play

134 DEPARTMENTS

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18 • MASTHEAD

22 • CONTRIBUTORS

26 • METRO

20 • EDITOR’S NOTE

24 • LETTERS

146 • HISTORY

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2018 SCHEDULE AUGUST – DECEMBER August 31 – September 7

ICELAND AND IRELAND THROUGH STUDENTS’ EYES Sunday, September 16

SONGS OF MOTHERHOOD: FINALLY PLAYING MY TYPE September 21 – November 2

SAD TROPICS September 27 – 30; October 4 – 7

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF Tuesday, October 9

LOS TRABAS... IN CONCERT! Thursday, October 11

MUSIC UNDER THE STARS October 27 – 28

FSC DANCE: FALL INTO DANCE 2018 Tuesday, October 30

GREAT EXPECTATIONS November 1 – 4

LAUNDRY AND BOURBON / LONE STAR Friday, November 2

BANDTASTIC VII: BAND DAY ENCORE Thursday, November 8

PARADE OF ANIMALS November 15–18; November 29–December 2

KISS ME, KATE November 16 – December 7

THE ANNUAL ALL-STUDENT EXHIBITION Monday, November 19

POSTCARDS FROM RUSSIA Tuesday, November 27

BRASS EXPLORATIONS Saturday, December 8

‘TIS THE SEASON: THE CHRISTMAS GALA December 15 – 16

TCHAIKOVSKY’S THE NUTCRACKER JOIN US FOR THE VERY BEST IN

DANCE | MUSIC | VISUAL ART | THEATRE

FOR FULL SEASON SCHEDULE, VISIT

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Curt Patterson Jason Jacobs • Brandon Patterson PUBLISHER

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHERS

Brandon Patterson EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Annalee Mutz

Daniel Barceló

MANAGING EDITOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Advertising ADVERTISING DIRECTOR ADVERTISING SALES

Curt Patterson | 863.409.2449 Brandon Patterson | 863.409.2447 Jason Jacobs | 863.606.8785

Editorial CONTRIBUTORS

COPY EDITOR

Victoria Bardega, Tara Campbell, Abdiel Gonzalez, Aaron Marsh, Charlotte Roberts, Chase Wagner Laura Burke

Creative DESIGNER PHOTOGRAPHERS

Michelle Simanca Dan Austin, Daniel Barceló. Rob Christian Crosby, David Dickey, Michael Flores, John Kazaklis

Digital DIGITAL MARKETING DIRECTOR

Sally Ibarra Barceló

Circulation CIRCULATION DIRECTOR VP, FINANCE GENERAL COUNSEL

Jason Jacobs Deb Patterson Ted W. Weeks IV

Issue 45 The Lakelander is published bimonthly by Patterson Jacobs Publishing, P.O. Box 41, Lakeland, FL 33802. Reproduction in whole or in part without express written permission of The Lakelander is prohibited. The Lakelander is not responsible for any unsolicited submissions.

Patterson Jacobs

Contact Patterson Jacobs Publishing, P.O. Box 41, Lakeland, FL 33802 863.701.2707 • thelakelander.com

Customer Service: 863.701.2707 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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E DITO R ’ S N OTE THE SHORTHAND OF EMOTION “keeping It cool since 1984”

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Imagine this scenario with me: you’re overwhelmed by a life experience (be it you’re sad, angry, anxious, excited, happy, etc.), yet you’re having difficulties putting it into words. Then you hear that song … you know, that song that perfectly captures what you have difficulty conveying. And you think to yourself, How did a stranger reach into the depths of my situation and communicate what I was unable to put into words? This is the evocative power that exists within all music. At least, this is the effect music has had on me. Different seasons meant needing it for different reasons, but music has always been there. Music has given me a space to feel heard and understood, and feel the emotions that I didn’t even know I needed to feel. Music has been a steady refuge for every major life transition, heartbreak, and needed inspiration. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. As said by Leo Tolstoy: “Music is the shorthand of emotion. Emotions, which let themselves be described in words with such difficulty, are directly conveyed to

Annalee Mutz

MANAGING EDITOR

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man in music, and in that is its power and significance.” Music is an art form that is subjective yet also relative all at once. It has the ability to relate to us even if the song itself is unrelated, and tap directly into our emotions. We can interpret songs in multiple different ways and feel the emotion of the song far past the lyrics alone. Music means something different to all of us, and it exists all around us. What a special gift we have in music.

“MUSIC IS THE SHORTHAND OF EMOTION. EMOTIONS, WHICH LET THEMSELVES BE DESCRIBED IN WORDS WITH SUCH DIFFICULTY, ARE DIRECTLY CONVEYED TO MAN IN MUSIC, AND IN THAT IS ITS POWER AND SIGNIFICANCE.” – Leo Tolstoy


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C O N T R I B U T O R S THE WRITERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS THAT MAKE THE LAKELANDER

AARON MARSH

“The Swells and the Swings” photographed by Rob Christian Crosby, pg. 76

Aaron Marsh is a musician, record producer, and lifetime Lakelander who splits his time between touring with his band (Copeland) and recording both local and national artists at The Vanguard Room, the studio he shares with his partners in Dixieland. Aaron is passionate about supporting the arts at a local level here in Lakeland and developing an arts community where local musicians thrive. @aaronmarshmusic

ROB CHRISTIAN CROSBY Rob Christian Crosby is a photographer based out of Central Florida. He’s worked with companies such as LinkedIn, Dickies Clothing, Republic Records, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. robchristiancrosby.com • @robcros

CHASE WAGNER How did you first get into photography? Initially it started with being a skateboarder at the age of 10. It really gave me a different perspective on the world and exposed me to a lot of different art. Then, when I was about 15, we moved to Florida, and I didn’t have any friends starting out so I just started watching a ton of films, and that heavily influenced me to start pursuing visual art. How do you draw inspiration? I’m constantly looking for new artists that inspire me, whether it be directors, cinematographers, photographers, painters, etc. You’ve contributed to numerous issues of The

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Lakelander. What has been your favorite shoot to date? I really loved working on the shoot with Jasmine Washington from Repurpose Art Studio. It was great connecting with her and getting to hear her story. As a movie enthusiast and former film student, who is your favorite director? There are so many: Paul Thomas Anderson, The Coen Brothers, Lynne Ramsay, and Dennis Villeneuve. Where’s your favorite place to eat in town? Brasa Latina is definitely my favorite spot!

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Chase Wagner currently serves as the creative pastor at Grace City Church. Prior to Grace City, he was the director/ producer of SEU Worship at Southeastern University and taught classes in the church music major. Chase is married to Paige Wagner, and they have a daughter named Nova. @chasewagner See the masthead on p. 18 for a list of all contributing writers and photographers.


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BRANDON LEGAL GROUP

L E T T E R S COMMENTS FROM LAKELANDERS

@LAKELANDERMAG GREAT TOPIC “WEDDINGS” I WILL NEVER FORGET MY WEDDING DATE + MARRYING MY BEST FRIEND. IT WAS AN ABSOLUTE DREAM. I WEAR OUR LAST NAME EVERYDAY BECAUSE IT’S A LOVE THAT NEVER GETS OLD.

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DOING A PROFILE PIECE ON THE OWNER OF BLACK SWAN TATTOO, CORY CRAFT FOR @ LAKELANDERMAG SO OF COURSE I ASKED HIM TO DO A TATTOO FOR IT LOL IS THIS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A WRITER?? @jjoehepler // twitter

Melissa A. Gravitt Lakeland Of�ice

Correction

Available by Appointment

In Issue 44, our Hispana Cultura issue, we referenced Sam Romero’s current documentary project as The Eagle Eye. However, this documentary is actually titled The Black Eagle. Our sincerest apologies to Sam Romero for the oversight.

Brandon Of�ice 24

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POWERING

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M E T R O NEW AND NOTABLE IN LAKELAND

A Digital Revolution A brief history of music in the digital age

L

ocal music scenes have undergone many ebbs and flows. With online streaming platforms taking precedence for consumption, music is an art that is easy to share and readily available — a great asset to both the consumer and the producer. The digital revolution has paved a way for musicians to be heard anywhere in the world regardless of where they are based. We can listen to whatever we want, wherever we want. Although, there was a point in history where people had to leave the house to listen to music. Do you remember it? Albums actually sold out, and people had to stand in line if they wanted to guarantee their copy at release — such a prehistoric thought. However, the sounds of music truly do date back prehistorically. The first human-created instrument is thought by historians to date back to about 35,000 years ago: a flute-like instrument discovered in Europe. From there, the ancient Greeks invented many fundamental elements of composition and the amphitheaters in which they were shared. In the Babylonian era, people started handwriting the earliest forms of sheet music. During the European Middle Ages, churches often served as venues that echoed sacred melodies.

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Edison’s invention of the phonograph took music from live performances to a new format. Vinyls became available and went through a transformation of their own. From phonograph parlors (where you paid to listen on a jukebox) to record stores, the ability to listen to records was a major milestone for music. Although many other formats for music consumption have existed from then until today, the one that may have permanently altered the industry was created by a college student in 1999, called Napster. Due to a lawsuit for the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, this online file-sharing service was gone two years later. But what was spurred on by this service reshaped how we share and listen to music today. So, what have been the implications of this fast progression in music consumption? Well, it’s for sure led to an era where we have multiple online and mobile options for listening to music. Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon Prime Music — all these services give us access to millions of titles. However, have there been negative implications, too? Some would say yes. Even from the initial shift of digital to what it looks like today, some have claimed full reliance on digital has caused music to lose a bit of its human touch. Some even claim that public streaming perma-nently altered local music. Although the local music scene looks a bit different today, the days of local music are not behind us. We can take heart that vinyls are still alive, and the local coffee shops are still hosting the musicians that bind our community together. Music still draws us in and connects us. It’s hard to imagine music without the human elements, and that’s because the world might be a little less interesting without them. So, no, the advancement of digital music has not killed what we once loved about music. Perhaps, what this digital era has shown us is that there are even more possibilities to connect through music than ever before.

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PERHAPS, WHAT THIS DIGITAL ERA HAS SHOWN US IS THAT THERE ARE EVEN MORE POSSIBILITIES TO CONNECT THROUGH MUSIC THAN EVER BEFORE.

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METRO

JON SANTANA Originally from Lakeland, Nashvillebased producer Jon Santana signed to Prescription Songs. With over 20 million streams, Santana’s productions for other artists have been featured in stores such as Forever 21 and H&M. Santana’s work has also landed placement on MTV shows and was recently featured in Netflix’s original movie Set It Up. He has also recently produced/co-wrote on SEU Worship’s Born to Run EP and will be a part of their future releases. Jon Santana’s music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud. Instagram: @jonsantanamusic

Sinfonia: Connecting The Arts & Community On Veterans Day, November 11, Southeastern University’s College of Arts & Media will host Sinfonia: Connecting the Arts & Community, a concert purposed to tell the stories of Central Florida veterans and their families. On Veterans Day, November 11, Southeastern University’s College of Arts & Media will host Sinfonia: Connecting the Arts & Community, a concert purposed to tell the stories of Central Florida veterans and their families. Joseph DeBeasi conducted interviews with families of Central Florida veterans and composed a new piece of music, entitled A Thousand Faces, to tell their stories. This concert will also feature his composition, One More Minute, which he debuted at Sinfonia in March 2018. One More Minute tells the stories of service-members’ struggles to adjust to civilian life after deployment. DeBeasi will be conducting the Southeastern University orchestra and choir in performance of his compositions, in addition to other music. DeBeasi’s impressive credits include the composition of original scores for Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated American Sniper, Eleven, and most recently released, Alpha. He has worked on more than 60 feature films, including The Revenant, Prisoners, The Book of Eli, Because of Winn-Dixie, Dirty Dancing, and Maid in Manhattan. In addition to DeBeasi, local favorites Seretha Tinsley (Tinsley Family Concessions) and Joe Tedder (Polk County Tax Collector) will also conduct on the concert. DeBeasi interviewed both

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VAN PLATING Van Plating is Rachel Plating’s brandnew recording project, currently in the early stages of creation and due for release in 2019. Inspired by the great female singers of the ’90s (Fiona, Alanis, and more) plus indie rockers such as Emily Haines (Metric) and Meg Myers, mixed with a rawness unique to herself, Plating is diving into the deep with this first solo record and holding nothing back. Expect beauty, vulnerability, and boatloads of rock and roll. Find the sounds and vibes on Instagram: @vanplating

Tinsley and Tedder in composing short pieces telling their stories. Both will conduct their own story on stage, as they hear their selection for the first time. As part of Sinfonia, Southeastern University’s Department of Music will host a free workshop on Friday, November 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at Harrison School for the Arts. DeBeasi will model his creative processes for conceptualizing and arranging music. Additionally, the workshop will have time dedicated to questions and answers from the audience. The workshop is open to the public.

WILLIX SINFONIA: CONNECTING THE ARTS & COMMUNITY Sunday, November 11, 2018 2:30 p.m. at the Polk Theatre Tickets can be found at cam.seu.edu/event/ sinfonia. VIP seating is available, in addition to student and veteran/active military admission discounts.

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Willix is a husband-and-wife indie-pop band that started in Lakeland. They are currently located in Nashville, Tennessee, and expected to release a new single at the end of October titled “Loving.” Although their sound is everchanging, Willix always strives to create music that makes people dance and brings levity to hard situations. Willix’s EP Frames is available on Spotify and Apple Music. Instagram: @willixmusic


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METRO

Geneva Classical Academy Finds A New Home New life is being brought to the former Lakeside Baptist Church building on New Jersey Road thanks to a classical way of education.

Geneva Classical Academy genevaclassicalacademy.com 863.644.1408

Geneva Classical Academy, a private K4-12th grade classical education Christian school, recently purchased the 75,000-square-foot campus and 12 acres of land. They plan to renovate and then move from their current Lakeland Highlands Road location to this new campus in the fall of 2019. Lakeside Baptist Church now meets under the name Journey Church at the Clubhouse in Eaglebrooke. “It’s always been our goal to use our facilities to benefit the most people. We’ve rented from churches for over two decades, and we want to be able to lease back to the church,” says Headmaster Rich Cali. Because of this, Geneva will lease the auditorium and connected

workroom space to Grace City Church. Headmaster Cali also emphasizes how thankful they are for the help of Parkway Church (formerly Highlands Baptist Church — where their Lakeland Highlands Road campus is currently located) and Journey Church during this transition. Talitha Bean, the new community development director, says, “We are thrilled for the opportunity to be engaging our community; the Lord has taken 20 years to prepare Geneva for such a time as this!” With 161 students, Geneva currently has their highest enrollment. Their best days are certainly ahead, and they are excited for this pivotal time in their school’s history.

Charleene Closshey Between starring on the big screen and recording in the studio, this Harrison and Florida Southern Grad returned to give back to current film and music students. September 28, Charleene Closshey returned with filmmaker Jeremy Culver to offer current Harrison School for the Arts’ film and music students a series of master classes and seminars. Topics included scene study, narrative form and structure, writing for the screen, and composing for the screen. That week also included three days of screening for No Postage Necessary at the Harrison Arts Center’s Film Theater. Along with starring in the high-profile indie romantic comedy, No Postage Necessary, Closshey is now back in the studio with six-time Grammy winner Brent Maher and Grammy-winning mixer Charles Yingling recording her first full-length Christmas album. Additionally, her new EP from the same producing team releases on October 12, titled Talk About Love. This album includes three songs featured in No Postage Necessary, including its title track, two instrumentals from the score, and a duet between

Charleene and No Postage Necessary star George Blagden. The album also includes the sounds of an orchestra and choir from Sofia, Bulgaria. Closshey has a diverse musical background spanning from singing opera to classical vocal recitals in Rome. She is a classically trained violinist and has played with other artists, including Josh Groban, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Frank Sinatra Jr.; she’s even dueled fiddles with the legendary Charlie Daniels. Closshey also composed the score for Feather: A Musical Portrait that made its U.S. premiere Off-Broadway in 2013. She made her debut on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning musical Once in 2014.

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CHECK OUT OUR FULL RED-CARPET I N T E R V I E W W I T H C LO S S H E Y O N L I N E AT THELAKELANDER.COM.

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METRO

What was once old is new again.

Record stores were once seen as a way of the past. But even in today’s digital era, the nostalgic sounds that reverberate from records continue to capture us. According to a report from Nielsen, in the first half of 2018 alone, vinyl sales had hit record numbers with about 7.6 million in U.S. sales. With this surge of sales, it may be safe to say that vinyls aren’t dying out anytime soon. A few local Lakeland businesses have joined in on this revival and are continuing to promote this once dying but now thriving industry by offering impressive selections of vinyls here in town. So check out some of these local stores and get to perusing through some record bins.

JESSE CARL VINYL

THE WAX & THE NEEDLE

LLOYD’S OF LAKELAND ANTIQUES

Jesse Ellerbe started selling records at the Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market in 2015. She then found a permanent location when NOBAY was completed, and opened her current brick and mortar between Uncle Nick’s and the Purple Onion downtown on Bay Street. Here you can find a wide variety of new and used vinyl, tapes, cds, and accessories for music players of all kinds. If you’re looking for a place that has replacement parts and cleaners for your record players, then this is the best place to go. There’s even an old CD Walkman for sale hanging on the wall.

If you’ve driven down South Florida Avenue, you have probably seen The Wax & the Needle; it’s just south of Walnut Street and across from Grace City Church. The shop is owned by tattoo artist Justin Sims and shares a building with Gaslight Tattoo Company. The Wax & the Needle is filled with an assortment of new and used records spanning across dozens of genres. Between their variety and reasonable prices, The Wax & the Needle is the spot. Tip: Be sure to sift through their $1 bins.

For those longing for the record stores of the past, Lloyd’s of Lakeland Antiques offers a wide range of vintage vinyl finds. They are located just across the street from Jesse Carl Vinyl and have a large offering of records mostly spanning from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Records are bunched together in groups throughout the store, hidden between beautiful remnants of yesteryears. Stepping into this store feels like stepping into a museum. So be transported back in time as you find some of your favorite old-school records.

304 North Kentucky Avenue 863.274.3880 jessecarlvinyl.com

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509 South Florida Avenue 863.940.3436 facebook.com/thewaxandtheneedle

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broken beginnings

nstallment 1 is the name of LEX LEO’s debut album. It’s a cold, seemingly emotionless title that leaves the listener wondering if other installments are on the way. The title itself feels incomplete. That feeling of being incomplete is exactly the territory LEX LEO’s lyrics explore, and the story of the creative journey that led her to making music reveals why that feeling of incompleteness inspired her. “… flashes of a love that’s fleeting, emotions with no real meaning. When it’s too heavy and your lungs can’t breathe, we’ll walk on the wire, a thread of desire.” While LEX LEO’s lyrics yearn with loneliness and a wounded insecurity, her vocal performance musters just enough confidence to give us the impression that healing has begun but, like the album’s title, is not complete. LEX LEO is the pseudonym for Lakeland’s Chantel Munsey. Munsey came to Lakeland to attend Southeastern University from a Northwest Indiana Chicagoland suburb. The daughter of a traveling evangelical family, her creative journey began differently than most.

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The incomplete story of LEX LEO

Written by Aaron Marsh

“When I was younger, my mom and dad had a [evangelical musical theater] production company, and I grew up on stage around music and performing, but I never performed as myself. I was always performing as a character. It’s wild, because when I was young, I had cancer, and I had no hair, and I was fat. I was trying to escape my identity in my personal life, subconsciously I think, through performance. So I threw myself into performing and loved becoming someone else, and I got good at it.” At age nine, Munsey was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (in one lung completely and three-quarters of the other lung). She was given three weeks to live at the time of diagnosis. Even though treatment wasn’t

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recommended, she was given the most intense chemotherapy that could legally be given to a 30-yearold as a child. The treatment worked, and the experience of nearly dying and having her body wrecked by the medicines that saved her life caused her to retreat into various creative disciplines that shaped the artist she has become. “Nine-year-olds don’t know that they’re on the verge of dying, but everyone around you does. You’re this fragile cherub … and everyone wants to spend time with you, to get their selfish moments with you, or love on you. But when you don’t know why that’s happening … you just feel sick, you don’t feel normal. It was a dark time, and [also] the time following that, being healed of cancer, and just being fat, I gained 75 pounds as a nineyear-old, just pumped full of steroids, and I lost all my hair. [By then] I was 11, going right into puberty. That was wild, because being a fat, ugly, bald girl from 11 to 14 would just wreck my confidence, wreck my identity, as if adolescence wasn’t already hard enough … just to add the havoc of a terminal illness and what that can do to you physically, mentally, and emotionally. It was a lot.”


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Installment 1 LEX LEO 2018

It wasn’t the trauma itself that inspired Munsey to create, but the isolation she felt after the trauma. When the dust settled, when the cancer was gone, she found it impossible to go back to life as it was before and struggled to find anyone who understood. “From those times came even darker times because I didn’t really appreciate that I was still alive. That’s when I started to write. There were suicidal times. There were morbid, cutting times. There were lots of times where I just didn’t know how to process anything, or talk to anyone about it, because there was no possible way anyone could feel or know how I was feeling, and again, everyone in my world was just so joyous that I was alive.” Munsey became interested in virtually every creative medium as a way to express these feelings of isolation. She would walk into a room and visualize possible stories that could play out in that room, undoubtedly to escape the story of her own reality. She dreamed of combining her love of poetry, visual art, storytelling, and music by making films, but being from a family

THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO MUSIC CAME OUT OF NOWHERE. IT JUST KIND OF FELL INTO MY LAP THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS. of ministers, instead of attending film school, Munsey ended up at Southeastern University (SEU) — a Christian liberal arts university. At school, she quickly found friendships with other creative students and, on a whim, showed some rough song ideas to a friend. Munsey never had any formal musical training and doesn’t play any instruments. Music for her was one of many creative mediums she was dabbling in. The demo made its way to producer and former SEU student, Evan Eliason, who loved the song. Three weeks later, Munsey was working on her first album. “I would love to create a magazine or write books. There’s no single thing that I want to do; there are lots of things that I want to do. The opportunity to do music came out of nowhere. It just kind of fell into my lap through relationships. Now that I’m pursuing it, I’m surrounded by people who [feel like] this is their dream. They are all living their dream, but I haven’t even had the time or space to dream about how crazy far it could take me, because it just started. But I will follow it wherever it will let me go.”

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SUMNER CURTIS Known for playing a wide variety of music, Sumner Curtis has been performing in Lakeland for a few years and mostly with the band Valise. His wide variety of music and talent makes him a favorite all over Central Florida, and he often plays at Red Door, Patio 850, and Beer Revolution. facebook.com/sumnercurtis sumnercurtis.com

GET TO KNOW

the local talent akeland’s local music scene has always been one of its most under-celebrated areas of art, but it’s not for lack of talent. Every week, singers and songwriters of various kinds perform nightly in places such as Swan Brewing, LKLD Live, Hillcrest, Red Door, The Pink Piano, Frescos, and Beer Revolution. Many of these singer/songwriters, like Joshua Michael Robinson, Brian Sutherland, and Willix have moved on to bigger cities to develop their musical careers but there is plenty of talent still here in our city. Check out our list of a few of Lakeland’s current musical acts and plan some live music for your next night out!

PAT R I C I A K E N O LY

CONNOR LOCKHART

Her warm voice and jazzy, melodic sounds give Patricia Kenoly the unique ability to be a background artist at an event, or an interactive main performance — and within both contexts she creates an intimate environment for all her listeners. She has been seen playing at Hillcrest and LKLD live, among other local favorites.

Most days you can find Connor Lockhart at Hillcrest Coffee on his lunch break writing songs. During the day, he works at Catapult, but at night he performs covers and originals all over Central Florida. facebook.com/con.sings Instagram: @con.sings

facebook.com/ freelanceamericana/

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ABIGAIL ELLIS

R A N E Y W A D E S H O U LT S

Currently getting a degree from Berklee College of Music in songwriting, Abigail Ellis’ acoustic/indie style shines through in the songs she writes. A former SEU student, she recently moved back to the area and can be found performing at Hillcrest Coffee.

Most may know Raney Wade Shoults from her clothing line, Rane Made. However, she is also a local musician with a soulful sound who can often be found playing piano and doing creative covers throughout town. She frequently performs at The Pink Piano, Brew Hub, and Frescos.

Instagram: @abigellis

DAN SIGNOR Don Signor is a multiinstrumentalist who plays his original live music throughout Lakeland. His jazzy/folk sounds accompanied by piano and soulful riffs can frequently be heard at venues throughout Lakeland and Central Florida. soundcloud.com/dan-signor facebook.com/ dansignorproject/

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Instagram: @ranemadepics


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T H E E A R LY Y E A R S Written by Charlotte Roberts Photography by Daniel Barceló

The story behind the Harrison kids who made a name for their high school band

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L E T ’S BE H ON EST: everyone has dreamed of starting a band as a teenager, whether you had the piano skills of Billy Joel or were a master of the cowbell like Will Ferrell. The reality of it actually happening, however, were slim to none. Unlike the rest of us, the alternative band Foxhall turned this dream into reality, playing gigs at Harrison School for the Arts and even inviting total strangers into their backyards for free concerts. Composed of five teens — Tanner Ledford, Cameron Giddens, Diego Salinas, Noah Hickey, and Caleb Pierce — Foxhall has become a fast hit in Lakeland, their personalities

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matching the warm, down-to-earth tones of their music. I recently sat down with the band to talk about Foxhall’s beginning and growth in the future. The guys have had their hearts set on a band for a long time — three years to be exact. For a teenager, that’s an eternity. “I tried to put a band together, and it never worked out,” says Ledford, the innate leader of Foxhall. “We tried getting it going again with some friends from church later, and we just didn’t have time, so it died out. At that point it was only the four of us.” Foxhall made their debut at their school thanks to the Student Faculty Showcase at Harrison School for the Arts, an event which is often described as “a talent


Foxhall made their debut at Harrison thanks to the Student Faculty Showcase.

show on steroids.” The band covered “Art Exhibit” by Young the Giant, quickly throwing together an arrangement in about a week. “It was insane. I don’t know what we were thinking, but it turned out pretty well. We were asked to play at our pre-homecoming event. At that point, it was still the four of us. Our friend Faith sang with us which gave us a bit more traction and a name in the school. People began to get this was a real thing,” Ledford says. With no drummer but growing popularity, Foxhall decided it was time to reach out to someone, and their youngest member, Caleb Pierce, joined. “Tanner [Ledford] just texted me out of the blue one day, and he was like, ‘Hey, I have this project called Foxhall,” and I signed on immediately, because anytime I get to make music is a good time,” Pierce says. What makes Foxhall so interesting to observe is the attitude of the five guys who comprise the band. Sitting in a room with them is like hanging out with people you’ve known all your life; a sense of calmness naturally surrounds them. The whole band has different stories regarding their individual journeys to Foxhall, but in the end they were brought together for the same reason — their love of music.

go to the strings program as an excuse. The only instrument that they had left was a cello, and I’ve been stuck with it ever since,” he says. Ledford’s interest in music began with his dad who has been playing guitar since he was a teen. “Around fourth or fifth grade, [my dad] said, ‘Hey, every Sunday night I’m going to give you a guitar lesson.’ We would sit down for like an hour and he would teach me basic rhythm guitar until I wanted to do more than what he was showing me. Another guy taught me for a while, and then I became involved in worship at my church playing bass guitar.” Ledford later played upright bass in

SITTING IN A ROOM WITH THEM IS LIKE HANGING OUT WITH PEOPLE YOU’VE KNOWN ALL YOUR LIFE; A SENSE OF CALMNESS NATURALLY SURROUNDS THEM.

Salinas was born in the capital of El Salvador attending a British school where he learned English before moving to the U.S. in 2009. “In fifth grade we had the option to join the strings program. One day, I was really bored in class, so I decided to skip and

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orchestra at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy which helped launch him into the jazz band department at Harrison School for the Arts. “I think fifth grade is when I actually got my first guitar,” Giddens recalls. “My Uncle Brian was a worship pastor, and he was the best thing ever. He played guitar which made me want to. I was on the youth worship team in sixth grade; I was still learning and only knew about four chords. That same year, I started band at Lawton Chiles and learned trombone. In

eighth grade, I got my first electric guitar, and it was quite the beauty. It was a black Les Paul with gold hardware,” he laughs, “and it was very bulky.” The brand was ironically named Agile. Judging by his talent, the old guitar must have served him well. Pierce was originally from Hayward, California, and his parents used to teach the arts at a Christian school while living there. “We moved to Florida when my dad received a job offer to teach theatre at Southeastern University.” Pierce was reportedly “always smackin’ on things” (he is Foxhall’s drummer, after all), and his first drum set was found on the side of the road. “I began drum lessons around first or second grade with a great guy named

The five credit their community and the people in it with a lot of the opportunities that have come their way.

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THE WHOLE BAND HAS DIFFERENT STORIES REGARDING THEIR INDIVIDUAL JOURNEYS TO FOXHALL, BUT IN THE END THEY WERE BROUGHT TOGETHER FOR THE SAME REASON — THEIR LOVE OF MUSIC. Derek O’Bannon. I learned everything from him.” For roughly nine years, Pierce has been playing drums, and it sure shows. Like many of the other members, Pierce has played with his church’s worship team, where he met Ledford, who later called him to join Foxhall. A John Mayer enthusiast, Hickey began playing bass in TBA Youth’s worship band, “because the acoustic guitar player was already occupied by Cameron [Giddens]. So a friend of ours helped me to learn how notes work. I had taken about four years of piano lessons prior to this, but all of that

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information is completely gone. I don’t remember a thing from them. Nothing at all.” When the Foxhall offer came along, Hickey was all in. The five credit their community and the people in it with a lot of the opportunities that have come their way. “Lakeland is small enough to feel friendly but large enough to keep you from going insane,” Salinas says. “There are a lot of opportunities, and the city isn’t too large of a scale where there is nothing open to you. You can really make your own path,” Giddens says. Foxhall is composed of five guys who not only make music, but make a difference by being leaders in their schools and the community at large. As for their future plans? More shows. Thank goodness for it. I advise all to attend at least one of their shows. Fingers-crossed Foxhall goes on tour.

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LEAVE A MARK She has also been nominated for numerous other awards, including an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Thelma & Louise and Best Actress in A League of Their Own. However, it’s also important to note that Davis has left a significant mark on the world of media while off-camera too, especially in regards to gender equality. Seeing a severe gender imbalance across Hollywood, Davis became outspoken about women’s representation in media. In response to this disparity, she decided to launch the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Davis and this research-based organization are committed to providing work that ultimately supports a diverse portrayal of society while supporting young girls in today’s culture. Tireless in her efforts, Davis’ advocacy has transformed media. The institute’s extensive research has educated media producers and elicited needed change. Because of the impact of Davis’ advocacy, she is the ideal guest speaker for Lakeland Regional Health’s annual Women in Philanthropy Luncheon. Similar to Davis’ organization, Women in Philanthropy is comprised of women who also desire for women and children to be empowered and leave a mark on our own community. Since 2006, Women in Philanthropy has made generous annual grants to support Lakeland Regional Health’s programs and capital needs to positively impact the health of women and children in our community

Oscar-winning actress and women’s advocate Geena Davis will speak at Lakeland Regional Health Foundation’s annual Women in Philanthropy Luncheon

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ost may be familiar with Geena Davis through her iconic roles as Thelma in Thelma & Louise, Dottie Hinson in A League of Their Own, and Barbara in Beetlejuice. Even playing the president of the United Stated in the TV show Commander in Chief, Oscar-winning actress Davis has spent most of her acting career choosing roles that empower women and has been widely recognized for these roles and so many more throughout her career. In 1989, she received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Accidental Tourist.

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Be sure to check out thelakelander.com for a Lakelander exclusive interview with Geena Davis.

According to Lakeland Regional Health’s official press release on the luncheon, Vice President of Lakeland Regional Health Foundation Timothy J. Boynton says, “We are extremely excited to have someone as admired and acclaimed as Geena Davis appearing in Lakeland. She evokes a sense of passion and strength as she shares her important messages on gender equality around the world.” Proceeds from this luncheon will go toward the stateof-the art, eight-story Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children. The event will be held on Thursday, November 1, at 11:30 a.m. at Haus 820. Tickets are $120 and available to order at foundation. mylrh.org/donate-now/ or by calling 863.413.5843. Deadline for reservations is October 25, 2018. For sponsorship opportunities, please call 863284-1552.

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PEOPLE

The Mystery of MrENC Eric Collins spent a lot of time at Carpenter’s Home Church as a teenager, hanging out with his surfer friends, starting his first band … and having a genuine UFO experience. “I took my 11th-grade girlfriend out there and we were sitting in my Jeep Wrangler. She liked to talk a lot, and she was talking and I look out over the lake that was behind Evangel, and I see a light come down, and then three lights come out of it and start coming across the lake toward us. I’m like, ‘STOP TALKING. DO YOU SEE THIS?’ So, I turned on my Jeep, because we had to get out of there, and as we’re driving away, these lights were above us at the height of a light pole. No sound. Just lights. It was insane.” This story isn’t the point of Eric Collins’ article, but it’s a great example of the time we spent together talking one Friday afternoon. Honest, open, and relaxed, Collins’ home fits the style as well. A big window in the room we’re in bathes us in natural light and is full of musical instruments. We’ve known each other for a while, and interviewing him is far more sitting and talking with a friend than an actual interview.

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Written by Tara Campbell Photography by John Kazaklis

For over 20 years, Lakeland native and musician Eric Collins has greatly contributed toward and impacted our local music scene.

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“We were young and we played everywhere. Church lock-ins, crappy bars, and we gave it 110 percent. We wanted people to leave our shows and go tell their friends that they missed out.”

the past Any longtime Lakelander is familiar with the setting of Collins’ UFO story. Carpenter’s Home Church provided the backdrop for many an older Christian millennial’s or Generation X’s first music experience — an experience that shaped a lot of Collins’ future. But Carpenter’s Home wasn’t the only piece of Lakeland’s music history he frequented. “Lakeland’s had a music scene forever,” Collins reminisces fondly. “If you haven’t been to the Mad Hatter in one of its forms, you can’t talk about Lakeland music.” The Mad Hatter was a Lakeland venue that moved multiple times and was a staple of Lakeland teenage life between 1995 and the mid-2000s. It hosted everything from local musical acts to larger touring bands like the Christian hardcore band, Zao, that played at the Mad Hatter when it occupied space off of Combee Road, just one of its many locations all over Lakeland. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, places like Carpenter’s Home, the Mad Hatter, and the Belfry were all music venues that have come and gone, and fostered the music scene for Collins and other prominent Lakeland musicians like Aaron Marsh. It also saw the rise of bands such as Anberlin and Copeland, as well as Collins’ first and most ambitious band, Denison Marrs. Growing up in Central Florida, Collins’ parents encouraged music as much as possible. His father was a Southern Baptist music minister who bought him guitar chord charts. But his mother took an entirely different approach.

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“I had this little drum set, and before naptime, my mom and I would play music together, her playing guitar and me banging on the drums. When I got interested in guitar, she said, ‘Pick a song and I’ll teach you how to play it.’ So I decided I wanted to learn ‘Cherub Rock’ by the Smashing Pumpkins, and she taught me on that guitar.” As he talks, Collins points to a well-loved guitar hanging on the wall in the room. He now owns his mother’s guitar from his childhood and hopes to teach his kids how to play on the exact same one. “Almost every song I’ve ever written I wrote on that guitar,” he says. Growing up, Collins wasn’t influenced by just his parent’s music. On Friday nights he would go to friends’ houses to play video games. He remembers listening to the radio and being blown away by what he heard. Popular radio stations would live stream DJs, and Collins couldn’t get over the way they would mix popular songs together seamlessly.

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It was around this time that he also started listening to rap and hip hop. He would listen to Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy albums in his backyard and hope his dad wouldn’t find him. “I was the surfer kid in high school who listened to hip hop and played basketball. I just kind of did whatever, but it was high school and it worked,” Collins says. His surfer friends were the ones who eventually invited him to hang out with them at Carpenter’s Home Church, and it was there that they decided to form their own band. Collins was friends with Kyle Griner (who would later go on to manage bands such as Anberlin and Copeland). Griner is the one who suggested Collins connect with Joe and John Bucklew. John played drums and Joe had just started playing bass. Collins himself reached out to another friend to play guitar, and the band Denison Marrs was born. “We were young and we played everywhere. Church lock-ins, crappy bars, and we gave it 110 percent. We wanted people to leave our shows and go tell their friends that they missed out,” Collins says. Much like his time at Carpenter’s Home, being in Denison Marrs brought plenty of its own interesting stories and events. One time, the band drove to West Palm Beach to play a show, in an old U-Haul truck that they had converted part of in order to provide more sitting

area for the band. There was no AC in the back of the truck, so they ran air vents from the front AC to cool the truck down. The long, sweaty ride was topped off by arriving in West Palm to a hurricane, which they weathered out sleeping in the U-Haul. “At the end of the night, the hurricane was gone and the kids from the event were banging on the side of the truck. So we got up, played basketball, played the show, and then went home. It’s amazing we’re still alive after all the things we did. Driving all night playing shows wherever we could.” Their hard work paid off though, and Denison Marrs was signed to a record label and began participating in larger events such as Christian music weeks in Nashville, playing at large Christian festivals, and touring with larger bands. Some days they would play at shoddy bars and some days they would play for 3,000 people in a nice venue. They did whatever they could to make it work. Throughout the years, different record labels came and went, and their time was limited because, according to Collins, Denison Marrs was known for making “all the wrong decisions.” “Kyle [Griner] would suggest one thing and we would do the exact opposite,” Collins says. Denison Marrs eventually broke up and went their separate ways. Drummer John Bucklew would go on to play for Copeland for a little while, and Collins had other plans in mind for music.

Eric Collins has been a part of multiple music projects including Denison Marrs, The Dark Romantics, and MrENC.

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the present

(and some of the past)

Over the years, Denison Marrs made a lot of friends along the way. Members of famous bands from Tooth & Nail Records, Starflyer 59, and Ghoti Hook joined Collins in a band called The Party People for about a year, but Collins’ next big venture would be the band The Dark Romantics. His wife, Carla, and her sister joined the band on bass and keys, and Collins’ brother-in-law, Dean, joined as the drummer. “Everything that we did wrong with Denison Marrs we made a point not to do with The Dark Romantics. We were tired of leaving our families, so we brought them with us. My three-year-old daughter went on tour with us and she loved it. She still asks when we can go on tour again,” Collins says. The Dark Romantics did two albums and an EP for Louisiana-based Lujo Records. “It was so fun. Having Carla with me was so great. She barely played bass, but she would rip on our Dark Romantics’ songs. Guys would come up to her and ask about gear, and she would say, ‘I don’t know. Ask them.’ She wasn’t in it to be cool. She was there to have fun and that’s it.”

MrENC was an opportunity for Eric Collins to get back to all of the things that made him love music in the first place.

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“We were tired of leaving our families, so we brought them with us. My threeyear-old daughter went on tour with us and she loved it. She still asks when we can go on tour again.”

Carla getting pregnant with their son Eli would be the catalyst for the end of The Dark Romantics and the start of Eric’s next musical venture. A year after giving birth to their son, Carla told Eric she thought he needed to make music again. So, he decided to make music that combined all of the things that he loved, and MrENC (Pronounced Mr. E-N-C) got its start in 2009. MrENC was an opportunity for Collins to get back to all of the things that made him love music in the first place. Pulling surf guitar and hip-hop beats, the first music he describes as “Gorillaz-style stuff.” However, it felt strange making it himself and for him to make it standing on stage by himself when he had been part of a band for so long. Furthering his love for the past, bringing his brother-in-law, Dean, from The Dark Romantics

back in, Collins started to add in his love for shoegaze and feedback that he credits directly to his early love for Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys as a young teenager. “I feel like I’ve come full circle again,” Collins says. All of the music he loved as a teenager now directly influences his music in MrENC. He’s also often joined by good friend and local artist Bump Galletta who does live drawing and painting at shows. And Collins’ other side project, The Ghost Beat, can be heard at the beginning of “The Lowdown with Bump,” Galletta’s podcast which highlights local voices. You can hear more about Collins’ musical past and their long standing friendship on the first episode of “The Lowdown with Bump” where Collins gives a more in-depth look into what inspires him.

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His interview with Bump Galletta on the podcast “The Lowdown with Bump” is available to listen to on Spotify or bumpgalletta.com. Eric Collins’ music, Denison Marrs, The Dark Romantics, The Ghost Beat, and MrENC, are all available to listen on Spotify and other streaming websites.

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the future

With his long-standing Lakeland history, Collins’ ultimate hope for the local music scene is that the new entrepreneurial spirit can come along the Lakeland music scene as well. Hopefully this local support will also pull from different artists and different areas of Lakeland. “How do we engage other pockets of Lakeland artistically?” Collins asks. “What’s going on north of Memorial? We need more diversity. People on guitar, but also people rapping over tracks. Part of the scene is authenticity and history. Lakeland has both of those things, but we have to embrace it. I’ve been to so many places that have that, and I want to pull from those experiences and help Lakeland.” Collins is constantly encouraged by the people who

choose to stay in Lakeland to make art and better the community. One of his biggest encouragements comes from his friend Aaron Marsh. “I would get frustrated and just want to leave and go somewhere else where I feel supported. But Aaron is so pro-Lakeland and he wants to stay and support Lakeland, and he encouraged me to stick it out,” Collins says. And he has stuck it out. Over the past 20 years, the Lakeland music scene has had a constant in his creation. While other bands have toured or recorded in other places, Collins has been here providing good music to Central Florida and making our music and art scene richer and broader. And, honestly, we couldn’t ask for a nicer, more talented guy to do it.

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STYLE

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written and styled by Abdiel Gonzalez photography by Dan Austin makeup by Alicia Harris hair by Amanda Fernandez

Fall fashion trends and the Lakeland artists you need to know

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I look back at this cruel, cruel summer, all I can think, besides the Ace of Base holiday anthem, is “We made it!” The above-average temperatures, daily thunderstorms, and the lack of people around town because they were kidnapped by amazing vacations had me so ready for a season change. As I was asked all summer to share the fall trends I was foreseeing this year, it seems many shared similar sentiments. Clearly you are just as eager to crack open the coat closet and dust off the cozy sweaters to start playing with fun layers. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about the prints, colors, and silhouettes we’re seeing on the runway and streets this fall season. Release your inner glam rocker and say hello to exaggerated shoulders and oversized silhouettes; the ’80s are back in a big way. Designer Marc Jacobs led the movement by sending models down the fall runway in ridiculously big coats and colorful power suits straight out of a scene from Heathers. Keep this look current by pairing pieces with a modern skinny jean and opting

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for sleek hair and makeup. Men’s check prints are also dominating this season and taking on many forms. From overcoats to cropped blazers to relaxed trousers, these typically bespoke fabrics are crossing gender lines and are the go-to print for day and night. The shearling coat is being reimagined and having a moment alongside mix-media denim. Before you shrug this look off because, well, Florida, play with the scale of the jacket and mix it with some killer knee-high boots and shorts. The rich, creamy color palette of the shearling coat is the perfect segue for the all-American folklore patterns and tones we’re seeing. Taking the spotlight from the traditional fall “fair isle” prints, these modern, prairiechic patterns and textures strike the perfect balance of classic and current. To demonstrate how to make these trends your own and “Florida fall” appropriate, I’ve enlisted four of the best Lakeland musicians that are repping our city locally and abroad. Covering a range of genres, these artists are creating nationally recognized music on all streaming platforms, touring the states, and staying active in our community. Their future is bright, and, after reading this, so will your fall wardrobe.

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POP / CCM

How would you describe your music? My music is definitely pop. I love everything about newage pop, all the synths and samples. Describe your vibe in three words. Moving, spiritual, engaging

Where you’ve heard him: American Idol Season 11 Listen: Rewind EP

Who is your biggest inspiration? My biggest inspiration in music would have to be Israel Houghton. How many years have you been performing? I’ve been performing since I

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was three! Professionally — six years now. What is your proudest moment as an artist? I think my proudest moment will always be making it on American Idol. Being a little boy, it was all I wanted and told my parents I would do. So that’ll go down in history for me. What is your, “Look, Mom, I made it!” moment? Hugging Jennifer Lopez and getting a kiss from her was probably the “I made it!” moment.

What helps you, or where do you go, to get in the zone when creating your music? Honestly, God. Spending time in His presence helps me get set. If you could have one celebrity’s entire wardrobe, who’s would it be and why? I think Bieber is fly and has the sauce in clothing. What’s a fun fact no one would know just by looking at you? I am a huge aviation geek. I’m an online pilot, and I love it!

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Jeremy’s look sweatshirt Zara trousers Dillard’s shoes Nordstrom hat Urban Outfitters necklace and watch Jeremy’s own


POP

Fun fact: Was a competitive dancer for eight years growing up

How would you describe the sound of your music? I’ve always been inspired by many genres. My music definitely reflects that, or I hope it does. I would say it is a blend of pop with some folk/ R&B influences. I love the pop gals in the industry right now, like Lorde and Maggie Rogers. I definitely pull from them for songwriting and production inspiration. I’m also obsessed with 80s’ music. I hope my sound can be something that can make people dance, cry, and feel deeply all at the same time ... so whatever that sound is! Describe your vibe in three words. Experimental, mold-breaking, emotional

Listen: Free single

Who is your biggest inspiration?

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My little sister, Emily. She is a phenomenal dancer, dancing six hours a day, but still manages being number one in her class all three years of high school so far. She is way more organized than me and works harder at her dreams than anyone I know. She pushes me to dream bigger and reminds me that it’s always about being yourself, not being the best. What is your proudest moment as an artist/band? The best moments are people connecting with songs. Like showing people/friends my music and them sending a text back saying how they felt so happy while listening, or that one lyric brought them back to a specific memory. What helps you, or where do you go, to get in the zone when creating your music?

Different things help at different times, but my favorite place to write is still my bedroom. It’s my safe space where I feel I can be the most honest and vulnerable. But I’ve learned it’s important to experiment with other environments, too — writing with other people has really inspired me lately. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by so many other amazing friends/artists who push me to dig deeper and find the best possible lyric or melody. How would you describe your personal style? 80s’/90s’ inspired, edgy, simplistic If you could have one celebrity’s entire wardrobe, who would it be and why? OK, so she’s not a real person, but Carrie Bradshaw from The Carrie Diaries.

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Bela’s look denim shirt Gap denim cut-offs Bela’s own boots ASOS shearling coat and earrings What’s New Consignment bangles and necklace Bela’s own

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INDIE / ROCK

Fun fact: They never play the same set twice. Their shows are different every time. Listen: Dreams EP

How would you describe the sound of your music? [Kerri Ann:] Dream pop and space rock seem to fit. When listening to our new EP, it’s very relaxed, even a bit plodding at first, albeit intentional. It’s with the hopes to take a normally rushed, stressed, and busy human into a space where none of those derivatives or causations exist. Like a dream. Describe your vibe in three words.

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Lush, nostalgic, dreamy Who is your biggest inspiration? Each of our members is from a different upbringing and background. So there’s an eclectic range of answers you’d get depending on who you ask. Looking to each other has become an important role in the sound of our music and is what keeps us inspired each time we play together.

How did you guys all get together? Danny, Josh, and Dewey have been close friends and jamming since pre-teen angst. Matt and Dallas came into the picture a little later in the game, and our sound began to take a new direction. It just felt good and unlike anything we’ve been a part of before. It’s strange how even the smallest decisions, like randomly connecting and playing music with new people, can


result in the sound and songs we currently play and write together. What’s the story behind your band name? Josh had a dream; it’s all about the dreams. But really the idea was to have a title that was unique, but also comforting and relatable. “Spirit” comes off as a heavy and serious word in most contexts, while “Cosmic Heart” evokes the idea of this

swirling, integral part of life that is so important. We have no idea what it means, really. We’re OK with that. What is your, “Look, Mom, I made it!” moment? A really rad photoshoot and interview in The Vanguard Room for The Lakelander magazine hits home. Lakeland and surrounding cities are where we call home, and nothing beats hometown appreciation.

What helps you, or where do you go, to get in the zone when creating your music? We all meet out at our dingy warehouse, usually once or twice a week, way too late and at the end of a long workday. This might not sound like the most creative or convenient window of time to meet, write, and rehearse (and usually it’s not). But looking forward to band practice and seeing one another is like therapy, the best kind of therapy.

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blazer What’s New Consignment tee Urban Outfitters

sweatshirt and trousers ASOS

denim cut-offs 5th & Hall heels Free People

shoes Nordstrom

sweater vintage jeans 5th & Hall boots Urban Outfitters

denim shirt 5th & Hall work shirt and tee 5th & Hall

trousers Zara jacket vintage boots Saks 5th Avenue

shirt Zara tee Josh’s own chinos AllSaints boots Barneys New York

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trousers Zara shoes Gucci


DISCOVE R SEU

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How would you describe the sound of your music? I produce freeform, experimental bass music. It’s always sub heavy but ranges from slow and emotional to powerful and fast paced from track to track. Describe your vibe in three words Dark, thought-provoking, experimental Who is your biggest inspiration? My biggest inspiration is Dave Tipper, a producer and turntablist who hasn’t stopped pushing the boundaries of electronic music since the mid-’90s. What is your proudest moment as an artist? When I am playing out-of-state

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shows and people come up to me after the show and tell me how much they connect with the music I create. Sometimes it’s new producers telling me that my music inspired them to start making music. Other times it’s couples that met at my shows. What is your, “Look, Mom, I made it!” moment? It’s definitely when I was offered to be represented by an extremely well-connected agency in the industry and having the opportunity to tour all over the United States this past summer. What helps you, or where do you go, to get in the zone when creating your music? My studio is in my bedroom at the moment, so I always create at home. I have a bit of

a ritual that I do involving my salt lamp for lighting and an essential-oil diffuser to relieve any tension, but I haven’t really noticed any creative coincidences that really affect my work. I pull inspiration from all genres of music, ranging from jazz to hip hop, and I incorporate them how I see fit. If you could have one celebrity’s entire wardrobe, who would it be and why? If I could have one celebrity’s wardrobe, it would be Bones. Bones is an underground rapper from Michigan and also the owner of the TeamSESH record label. He runs his own SESH clothing line for his label as well. I want to start a label and clothing line, and that is mainly due to seeing the success of TeamSESH.

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DJ / ELECTRONIC

Fun fact: Saw snow for the first time at his first out-of-state show in North Dakota Listen: Special Request EP


Dinner Is Served! Ribs Served nightly! I SS U E 4 5

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Logan’s look coat What’s New Consignment hoodie Saks Fifth Avenue chinos 5th & Hall shoes Vans necklace Logan’s own

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Steve Norton Principal

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NEW ARTIST

Written by Aaron Marsh Photography by Rob Christian Crosby

Exploring music at an early age, Hannah Dobson has continued to develop her original style and create a unique sound that is captivating local audiences.

If

you’ve ever been in a venue and witnessed a noisy room hush as soon as a singer begins to perform, then you’ve witnessed an unusual superpower — the ability to quiet a room with a song. It’s a rare talent that’s equally intoxicating for the performer as it is for the listeners who were just pulled from their conversation. Hannah Dobson has this superpower. Imagine, you’re sitting in Lakeland’s Hillcrest Coffee, a 1920s’ bungalow preserved and repurposed as a stylish coffee shop in Dixieland. Small talk, the hiss of steaming milk, the shuffling of feet, and laughter, all instantly give way to the music. It’s the kind of quiet that even the tiny rustling of a sugar packet could disturb. Through the silence, over the drone of the softest finger-picked guitar, her melody swells and swings. Her voice is low and delicate with an airy rasp that lays over every tone. Her melodies are sorrowful and slightly hypnotic, using short phrases that repeat and tumble over each other. The repetition provides a kind of tension, just enough to draw you in, but always delivers some sort of lyrical or melodic payoff.

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The Dobson family moved to Lakeland from Northwest Indiana when Hannah was 12. They are a creative family, with her mother, Amy, encouraging Hannah and her siblings to explore music from an early age. “My mom played piano, so all of us were encouraged to learn piano first. We were allowed to explore any other instruments we wanted, but we learned piano first. Once you know piano, everything else falls into place a little easier,” Dobson says. She took up the violin for a few years during her early teens. But when a passion for the instrument never really formed, she put the violin down. She became interested in guitar, and with that came a passion for songwriting. Dobson now writes music for two different musical projects: her solo music under the pseudonym Ayerlyn, and a collaborative project with her fiancé, Rachel Pollock called Dog Heaven. She released her first recording as Ayerlyn at the age of 17. It was a five-song album with layers of vocals, soft acoustic strums, piano, and ghostly electric guitar swells. Even as a young

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artist, Dobson’s lyrics were abstract and incredibly visual. As she developed, the songs became even moodier and her unique writing style solidified. “I care so much about my songs. They all have a very special place in my heart, so sharing them is scary. It’s like my songs and I have a secret, and once they’re out, anyone can partake in that. It feels risky. It’s also liberating, but it’s like sharing a huge part of yourself with anyone who’s willing to tune in,” Dobson says. Her hesitation to let her original songs be heard is apparent in her output. In four years of writing and performing as Ayerlyn, she’s only released a handful of her original songs. “My favorite part of music is writing. My second favorite part of music is playing for people. So naturally, recording has taken a backseat,” Dobson says. As a result, searching for Ayerlyn music on Spotify or any of the popular music streaming platforms is a relatively fruitless activity, with the exception of YouTube. The Ayerlyn YouTube channel is full of videos of teenage Dobson performing covers and original songs from her bedroom. This seems to be the one medium she felt comfortable recording and releasing material during the early years of her music making. “YouTube was definitely very empowering. As someone who was young and just getting their bearings, it was a good place to start. I think some people get stuck there playing other people’s music. People [viewers] want to hear songs that they know. Naturally, I fell out of doing covers because I wanted to pursue original music,” Dobson says. That renewed vigor to work on her original music is exciting. Dobson is working on a new solo album and her new project, Dog Heaven. Dog Heaven is different because she approaches this project with a spirit of collaboration instead of pure selfexpression. It’s the feeding off of the creativity of her collaborators that makes it exciting for her. After years of working on music by herself, she’s finding it refreshing to create something with others and let go of control a little bit. She shares writing and singing duties with Rachel Pollock, whose voice is much higher than Dobson’s. It’s wafer thin, hazy, and delicate, like a frosted glass pane. Their voices together are the perfect contrasting tones, with the same nuanced finesse. So far, the duo has enlisted

After years of working on music by herself, she’s finding it refreshing to create something with others and let go of control a little bit.

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“I care so much about my songs. They all have a very special place in my heart, so sharing them is scary. It’s like my songs and I have a secret, and once they’re out, anyone can partake in that. It feels risky. It’s also liberating, but it’s like sharing a huge part of yourself with anyone who’s willing to tune in.”

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“I feel lucky to be a part of a welcoming music community here in Lakeland. That does not exist everywhere.” help from fellow songwriter Emily Jones (guitar and bass) and multi-instrumentalist Brendan McGowan and look forward to an open-door policy with regards to collaborations in the future. “When I lifted Ayerlyn off the ground as a solo project, the idea was that it could evolve into something more. I soon realized that there was a very tender part of my heart that I could tap into just being on my own with my guitar. Thankfully, because I do have another project, Dog Heaven, there’s something I can’t achieve when I’m on my own. There’s an energy having other musicians with me who are passionate about the music we’re doing.”

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In 2015, Dobson moved to Nashville for almost a year. “The music community in Lakeland is very tight-knit, at least the people I was surrounded by were. I thought that moving to Nashville, I would fall into another group like that. That didn’t happen,” Dobson says. She didn’t go there specifically with the hope of pursuing music, but her observations of the Nashville music community versus the Lakeland creative community were interesting. “You move away and it’s sink or swim. I think it’s really good for people to have that experience. But for me as an 18 year old, it was very scary. It was easy to compare myself to other musicians and to just feel so defeated.” Through her brief stint in Nashville, Dobson garnered great insight into how Lakeland played a fundamental role in her life and how the unique community that exists here is difficult to find elsewhere. “In hindsight, I believe I could have gone to Nashville and succeeded had I chosen to immerse myself in it, but I didn’t. I feel lucky to be a part of a welcoming music community here in Lakeland. That does not exist everywhere.”

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Sunday, November 11 | 2:30 P.M. Polk Theatre, Lakeland

GUEST CONDUCTORS Joseph S. DeBeasi Composer and Music Editor American Sniper, Eleven Eleven, and Alpha

Seretha Tinsley Tinsley Family Concessions

Joe Tedder Polk County Tax Collector

In serving our country, the lives of our service members and their families are forever changed. Sinfonia: Connecting the Arts & Community is a memorable concert designed to tell the stories of Central Florida veterans and their families in the pursuit of service to our nation — from the decision to serve, to deployment, and beyond — through the original compositions of Joseph DeBeasi, performed by the Southeastern University Orchestra. DeBeasi is the composer for Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated American Sniper, Eleven Eleven, and most recently released Alpha. In addition to these compositions, DeBeasi has worked on more than 60 feature films, including The Revenant, Prisoners, The Book of Eli, Because of Winn-Dixie, Dirty Dancing, and Maid in Manhattan. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

cam.SEU.edu/event.

SPONSORED BY

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NEW MUSIC


L K L D / / L A / / A T L Written by Annalee Mutz Photography by Michael Flores

The soulful and profound music of Michael McArthur is a familiar sound to the Lakeland community. When we last sat down with this local singer/ songwriter, McArthur had just released his self-produced EP, Magnolia, and performed with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra at the Polk Theatre. It’s safe to say he has stayed busy since and we’re thrilled to be one of the first to let you in on what he’s been working on.


After releasing his last EP, Magnolia, Michael McArthur embarked on a season of touring. This primarily took the form of house concerts — playing solo-acoustic shows in fans’ homes. He reflects on this as a special time in his musical career, one that greatly impacted him and left a significant mark on his music. “It’s kind of like performance boot camp, though,” McArthur says. Even with recently playing to a full room of endearing fans at the Polk Theatre, he notes that nothing is as intimidating as playing for a small room of 20 or so. “It’s so intimate, and there’s nothing to hide behind. There’s not a loud sound system; there’s no spectacle,” he says. After returning home in 2017, McArthur spent a lot of time writing. He would eventually fill a binder’sworth of songs over the course of that year. Each song was birthed out of a deeply vulnerable place in McArthur’s life that preceded his year of travel. “The past 12 months of my life have probably been the hardest 12 months of my life,” McArthur says. This challenging time caused him to turn inward and write. And it was from this place of deep honesty and reflection that the main inspiration for his newest album came to be. “When you first start doing something as vulnerable as writing music, you’re really just cutting your chest open and saying, ‘Go ahead! Have a look inside,’” McArthur says. He has always written from a similar place as this, oftentimes inspired by his own circumstances or by

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someone he knows personally. However, he claims this album to be one of his most honest creations yet. / /

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Recording and producing music isn’t a new feat for McArthur. He has toured and released self-produced EPs throughout his 20s. He released his debut EP, The Year of You and Me back in 2012 and shortly after released his sophomore EP, The Home Recordings. He has worked with Grammy-awardwinning producer David Bianco, and has traveled and performed throughout the West Coast even prior to his 2016 release of Magnolia. So McArthur had an idea of what he was getting himself into when he decided to reach out to L.A. producer Ryan Freeland. Freeland is a multiGrammy-award-winning producer best known for his work with Ray LaMontagne, Bonnie Raitt, The Barr Brothers, and Aimee Mann (to name a few). McArthur simply wrote him, and Freeland responded. “Basically, I have this really modest studio at home where I record my demos. And I just sent him a bunch of my stuff,” McArthur says. Freeland was intrigued and eager to take on this project with McArthur. They then talked on the phone a few times and began to plan the future of this album. Freeland worked on assembling what would be a solid band to accompany

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Michael McArthur started his record company, Dark River Records, last February. His newest album, Ever Green, Ever Rain, will be the first release under this company, and McArthur hopes to release a new album under Dark River Records every two years.

McArthur’s music. “He put together this great group of musicians who have played with everyone you can think of,” McArthur says. The group included Paul Bryan, bass player and Grammy-awardwinning producer to artists like Norah Jones, Allen Toussaint, and Aimee Mann; Steven Nistor, drummer who has played with the Avett Brothers, Gnarls Barkley, Brandi Carlile, and Emmylou Harris; Lee Pardini, keys player from the band Dawes; Jebin Bruni, keys player who’s played with Bob Dylan, Fiona Apple, and Snow Patrol; Josh Davis, electric guitarist and Lakeland native; and Dan Kalisher, electric guitarist and pedal steel. With an incredible group of musicians lined up for recording, McArthur packed his equipment and headed west. He booked a rental home in the hills of L.A. and spent the next two weeks recording at the famous United Recording Studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. “You walk in and there are black-and-white photos of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, and all these people have recorded there. I was losing it a little bit,” McArthur says. Within four days, he and the band recorded 13 songs. “It was unbelievable; it was like a rollercoaster.” The whole album was recorded live as a band, “which is sort of becoming a lost art,” in McArthur’s opinion. He emphasizes how the sound feels real, being able to hear audible breaths and minor imprecisions throughout. “It sounded incredible. And when it works, it works,” McArthur says. With all members of the band coming from varying backgrounds and degrees of experience, McArthur was impressed with the ease in which everyone worked together. “Everyone was super cool, and we all got along and made some great music, and I think you can feel that when you listen to [the music].” Recording the album live as a band was important to McArthur. “There’s a culture of pop music being so perfect

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After connecting with multi-Grammy-award-winning producer Ryan Freeland, McArthur spent two weeks recording 13 songs in L.A. at the famous United Recording Studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

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that it doesn’t feel real,” says McArthur. He wanted to capture a sound that coupled with the level of authenticity found in his lyrics. The sound of the album is like “soulful rock music played by an orchestra, but the orchestra is a band,” as described by one of McArthur’s bandmates. McArthur took this as the greatest compliment. “Because that’s what it feels like — the music breathes, and it gets louder and softer. It’s like a symphony,” he says. D A R K

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/ /

This album will be the first release of McArthur’s record company, Dark River Records. McArthur started the record company last February with the initial purpose of releasing his own records, which is not uncommon in the music industry. “I had to get to the point where I figured out how to create a business that was sustainable and perpetual, so that

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every time I went to make a new record, I had the money and the resources to do it,” McArthur says. He recounts the temptations he had when he first started pursuing music to chase after opportunities. However, there came a point when he realized that he had to take matters into his own hands and could no longer wait for everything to come to him. “I was waiting for that golden opportunity, that one open door that’s going to change everything for me,” he says. “The more you get into it, the more you realize that the only door worth walking through is in the house you build yourself.” So that’s why he started Dark River Records. The plan for now is to release this newest album and then another one in about two years. Eventually, McArthur hopes to sign on other singer/songwriters. “I’m most affected by and drawn to music that is made by a person, music that feels handmade,” he says. He is interested in bringing on artists who aspire for a handmade sound, regardless of genre.



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“I’M MOST AFFECTED BY

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G R E E N ,

E V E R

R A I N

/ /

After two weeks of recording in Hollywood, McArthur is back home and gearing up for the release of his newest album titled Ever Green, Ever Rain. As he reflects back on his time during his house concert tour, McArthur desires to have a release show that is reflective of this same intimacy. “I’ll probably play some solo-acoustic songs, and that’s because that time playing house shows was so special.” The album is scheduled to release Friday, January 25, 2019, with a release show also scheduled at the Polk Theatre the following night. Along with promoting the release of Ever Green, Ever Rain, McArthur hopes to make space for multiple local musicians to perform at the show, too. He is envisioning this album-release show as a celebration of the Lakeland music scene. Preorders of the album will begin on October 5, 2018, accompanied with the release of a single, too. Between October and January, McArthur plans to also release plenty of content to build anticipation for Ever Green, Ever Rain. So be on the lookout for more singles and music videos to be revealed leading up to the album’s official release. McArthur has come a long way since his debut release in 2012. He has grown and learned from multiple professional and personal experiences over the past six-plus years, and he is thankful that Lakeland has been home through each season. As intimidating as it may be to share a vulnerable piece of work, McArthur is overall excited for fans to experience the authentic, handmade sounds of Ever Green, Ever Rain.

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Our location may have changed. But our promise never will. Nemours made a commitment to give kids the best chance of growing up healthy. Which is why Nemours Children’s Specialty Care has moved to Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children on the campus of Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center to continue providing expert pediatric specialty care. Because kids do better when we work together. Specialty care services include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

audiology cardiology endocrinology ENT gastroenterology general surgery maternal-fetal medicine nephrology neurosurgery ophthalmology orthopedics rheumatology ultrasound urology X-ray

© 2018. The Nemours Foundation. ® Nemours is a registered trademark of The Nemours Foundation.

Nemours.org/lakeland


BUSINESS

staying in tune Lemon Street Music may have undergone a “makeover” with their recent transition into a new building while picking up the name Lakeland School of Music. But the same heart that started one of Lakeland’s premier music schools continues to transcend into this business’ exciting new season of growth. Written by Annalee Mutz

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ANNOUNCING LAKELAND SCHOOL OF MUSIC

Shane and Chalis Butler are the owners of Lakeland School of Music (formerly Lemon Street Music), one of Lakeland’s premier music schools which has been evolving over the past 10 years. Shane recounts his early years as a young, developing musician. He relates how he felt limited in his art, and that going back to school to better understand music was vital to his growth as a musician. “I got serious about studying music and recognized how important formal study really was,” he says. That’s when he enrolled in music classes at Polk Community College in Winter Haven, and then continued his studies at Southeastern University where he graduated in 2008. He also notes the importance of coupling the study of music with practical, hands-on experience. “Growing up as a kid, I played in bands, and that was a big thing. That’s an aspect that I think is important — to just play,” Shane says. “I didn’t have a formal education in the beginning, but I had a passion for music and creativity, so I just did it.”

Shane and Chalis met in 2005 when they were both teaching for BlueNoche Music Academy. Shortly after they met, Chalis traveled abroad to study worship leadership at Hillsong College in Sydney, Australia. Returning in 2008, she re-settled in Lakeland and in 2011, she opened her own teaching studio in downtown Lakeland, called Play Me A Song. Shane and Chalis reconnected around this time, and although they were now competitors, they were able to work together and maintain a good friendship. In 2014, they were married and so were able to join forces. They combined their studios to form Lemon Street Music (now Lakeland School of Music). Since then, Lakeland School of Music has grown to include 250 students and 15 instructors. The studio offers weekly lessons including guitar, piano, voice, bass, drums, violin, flute, ukulele, jam bands, and more. They teach in a variety of genres as well, including rock, pop, worship, jazz, country, blues, and classical. These classes are taught by qualified instructors, all of whom are required to have college

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“We want to help instill a passion for music. We want them to get excited about it.”

training or professional performance experience. In a continued effort to grow and refine the studio, the school recently received a huge overhaul with a new name and location. Lemon Street Music officially moved to 115 West Oak Drive, across from Southgate Publix, and took on the name Lakeland School of Music. “We’ve outgrown the current facility,” Shane says. The new facility has almost twice the square footage of the space they previously occupied. This new space provides a more central location for clients and additional lesson rooms for students. The new name also pays more homage to the city Shane says greatly influenced him. So, what sets Lakeland School of Music apart from other music schools? “It’s not about being in a classroom; it’s so much more than that,” Shane says. The Lakeland School of Music emphasizes the importance of gaining a thorough knowledge of the language of music. “From a practical standpoint, we want them to come away with a real understanding of music, knowing the vocabulary and the lingo. We

want them to know how to read music and to be prepared to pursue a college music degree if they want to.” However, Shane also believes that the students’ success depends not only on their academic understanding of music, but on their engagement with it. “Let’s not just learn in a classroom all the time. Let’s try to get out there; share your gift with the world,” Shane says. Lakeland School of Music desires to raise up and equip their students to be successful artists, and one of the main ways they accomplish this is by giving them plenty of opportunities to perform. “It gives them motivation. It gives them something to always look forward to,” Shane says. “We see the dynamic in the performances. They are watching their peers play. They’re seeing people who have been in the program for years, and it gives them the perspective to see what they’re capable of doing, too.” In addition to giving students a tangible goal to obtain, performances instill in them the confidence to thrive in what would oftentimes


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Lemon Street Music has officially moved to 115 West Oak Drive, across from Southgate Publix, and took on the name Lakeland School of Music.

Studies have shown that learning music enables kids to cultivate social skills, refines their discipline and patience, and boosts their self-esteem.

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be an intimidating environment. “When you perform in front of an audience, there’s a whole other set of skills you need to have,” Shane says. Studies have shown that learning music enables kids to cultivate social skills, refines their discipline and patience, and boosts their self-esteem. “I think consistency, building trust, honoring the kids, and trying to be positive role models are all big elements along with the music,” Shane adds. Lakeland School of Music students will often play in various events in the community, like Explorations V’s annual Children’s Day event and the Downtown Farmers Curb Market. Some of the students have also performed the national anthem at Florida Tropics’ games. Students also perform at Open Mic events that are regularly hosted by Lakeland School of Music. In addition to their emphasis on performance, Lakeland School of Music also continues to thrive in our community because of their intentionality with each student. “We want to help instill in every student a passion for music. We want them to get excited about it,” Shane says. One way they do this is to meet the students where they are. “A lot of times we find out what type of music they’re into and then we custom-tailor the lessons based on what they like.” This allows students to learn music they

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“The biggest thing is that they know they are valuable and that they have had someone constantly pouring into their lives week after week, and pouring into who they are, whether they become a great musician or not.” actually like and gives them motivation to keep growing. The instructors try to find ways to make a connection with their students, striving to always start each class on a personal level. “We try to let them know they are valuable, loved, and accepted no matter what,” Shane says. When it comes to music, some people have a natural ability and natural gift. And these people will often take this gift and create a career out of it.” However, no matter what students decide to do with their music skills, Lakeland School of Music aims for every one of them to walk away with an understanding of their value and worth. “The biggest thing is that they know they are valuable and that they have had someone constantly pouring into their lives week after week, and pouring into who they are, whether they become a great musician or not,” Shane says. Lakeland School of Music teaches over 12,000 lessons annually and has a 100-percent success rate for students auditioning into the Harrison School for the Arts’ music program for jazz piano, jazz guitar, upright bass, and voice. “Any time we’ve had a student let us know they got into Harrison Arts, that’s a pretty big deal,” Shane says. Many students also go on to being admitted into collegiate programs, and they credit the skills they were equipped with to their classes at Lakeland School of Music. “What they got from us was able to carry them to that next level,” Shane says. Despite the changes, the values and mission of Lakeland School of Music remain the same — to serve the Lakeland Community through mentorship, quality music instruction, and performance opportunities to students of all ages, making the world more beautiful through the gift of music.

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LAKELAND SCHOOL OF MUSIC 115 West Oak Drive Lakeland, FL 33803 863.640.2810 lakelandmusiclessons.com

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SHELTER

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When planning your next home soirÊe, ditch the classic dinner party. Join us as we think outside the box and transform the Czerneks’ mid-century remodel into a house concert. Written by Annalee Mutz Photography by Dan Austin

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THE

ART OF

HOSTING

With a recent remodel, the floor-toceiling windows, and ideal location off Lake Hollingsworth, it’s not hard to imagine why Tim and Julie Czerneks’ first home caught their attention. The simple and modern exterior of their home matched both of their personal styles. But what really sold the home for these two was the layout. “We bought our home because of the open space,” Julie says. The Czerneks love to host, and this open floor plan gave them the vision to curate a space for hosting large parties and small, intimate gatherings alike. Most would claim that proper hosting is an art. Reimagining your space for an inventive gathering can be one of the greatest joys of being a homeowner. However, thinking outside the typical forms of entertaining may oftentimes feel limiting — especially if your home has capacity restraints. Have you ever considered what your home might look like outside of the standard cocktail hours and dinner parties?

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For The Lakelander’s first-ever SOUNDCHECK music experience, we sure did. In order to properly demonstrate how to creatively reinvent your space for a not-so-typical home gathering, we decided to give you an example of how to turn your living room into the perfect venue for a house concert. House concerts aren’t atypical in-and-of themselves. In fact, many artists prefer house concerts due to the natural intimacy it creates from being in such a small space. These types of events allow artists to make authentic connections with their fans and create a dynamic energy difficult to replicate in larger venues. When done right, a house concert is a creative way to host a party and an enjoyable experience for all involved. However, we know this may be intimidating. A common misconception when planning an elaborate gathering like a house concert may be the size of the space. But we’re here to say: the details may matter more than size. It all comes down to the host’s flexibility and ability to create a multifunctional space out of their home. There is a plethora of elements to consider when setting the right mood for a home event. One must consider finding the right balance of direct and indirect lighting, where to place the furniture, and what type of serveware to use. Occupying Tim and Julie’s home for this event was a seamless experience because they had already created a space that gave them the confidence to host. They also had vision, got creative, moved things around, and made the most of their space to create an event worth remembering — all elements that can be replicated almost anywhere with the right attention to detail.


the home Reimagining your space for an inventive gathering can be one of the greatest joys of being a homeowner.

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“It’s the little touches that make the biggest difference.”

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Tim and Julie both admire minimalistic style and model this in the interior design of their home. They also add color and depth throughout their home with statement pieces like large plants. In addition, the two added specific touches that have helped transform this house to their own space. For Tim, it was all about the bar cart. For Julie, it was about personalized pieces like the “Czernek� neon sign that hangs near the same cart. The corner of their home where both pieces are located is very telling of their joint love for hosting.

With a simple and modern mid-century appearance on the outside, the home’s inside replicates a similar feel. Tim and Julie wanted to accentuate the ways the architecture complemented the interior of the home by not overwhelming the inside with too much decor and allowing the natural light to shine through in every room. They also did not allow the 1,500 square feet of space to limit their capacity to host in their home. They created a multifunctional dining room and double living room where they could move major pieces of furniture around

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in order to accommodate a wide range of events. They are able to add chairs for dinners or move pieces out to make the home feel more spacious for larger types of parties. “We just want our home to feel welcoming,� Julie says. The SOUNDCHECK house concert was a different event for the Czerneks to assemble. But they loved the challenge, and seeing their home with the furniture moved around and the house packed out gave them a new perspective on how to accommodate for future parties.


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INTRODUCING

SOUNDCHECK The Lakelander’s inaugural SOUNDCHECK event SOUNDCHECK is a newly branded music section of The Lakelander that will focus on highlighting the local sounds of our community. In print, this may look like featuring past events like this issue’s event or profiles on up-and-coming artists. In digital, this may look like music TH E L A K E L A N D E R

reviews, behind-the-scenes videos and photos from inside the studio, or exclusive interviews with local artists. Be sure to check out the “SOUNDCHECK” section on thelakelander.com to stay up to date on our local music scene.


the talent M E E T B E L A + D AY B I T

Their music is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud. Also, be sure to check out footage from their performance at this SOUNDCHECK house concert on thelakelander.com. Obviously, the talent is essential when planning a house concert. And for SOUNDCHECK’s house concert, we were able to bring in some of Lakeland’s best, rising artists. Bela Pierce and David DePerez (Day Bit) are both Southeastern students who are also pursuing

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careers in music. They both have a passion for songwriting and have released songs that capture this gift. Day Bit has several singles out, but one of his most endearing pieces is his latest song “Gone,” which was performed at this SOUNDCHECK concert. Pierce has one song released titled “Free,” which she also performed this night. Each with their own individual sounds, when this duo comes together they bring a dynamic and pop-infused sound to any song they perform. Both of their styles are emotive and filled with lyrical depth, but they also have the unique ability to get listeners experiencing all the good vibes even in the midst of that.

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the details

As the Czerneks say: “Details are key.” Tim and Julie note the importance of considering the guests’ first steps into the home. “What do they smell, hear, and see?” asks Julie. Consider everything, like “all the dishware to the seating arrangements. Add sliced fruit to the water, or, if making drinks, add garnishes on top,” she says. For this house concert, the Czerneks carefully considered the seating arrangement. “We moved all of our furniture to make it fit the room,” Julie says. Even bringing in furniture from other rooms created optimal seating for the night. It’s important to think through details such as these because, “It’s the little touches that make the biggest difference,” Julie says.

Special thanks to Patio 850 for catering this SOUNDCHECK event.

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H T A E N E B S E I L W

H

A

T

The sounds of Copeland are no stranger to the Lakeland music scene. With the anticipated release of their sixth album, we sat down with lead singer Aaron Marsh to hear about the past, present, and future of one of Lakeland’s most famous hometown bands.

Written by Chase Wagner



was 2003, and I was 14 years IT old living in the Seattle area. I wore bootcut jeans, a black belt with silver studs, tight-fitted shirts from Goodwill, and owned multiple pairs of Pumas. This look can only be credited to the great influence of the early-2000s’ indie-rock persona. During the same time, on the other side of the country, there was an amazing music scene coming out of Central Florida. Some of those bands included (but were definitely not limited to) Anberlin, Underoath, and Copeland. One summer morning, my parents let me take a 7 a.m. commuter train into downtown Seattle unsupervised with my best friends. We had our backpacks packed for a full day of running around the city. That night we had a show to catch at a 1,000-person-capacity venue called Graceland. Copeland was opening for

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a Tacoma-based band called Emery. I had never seen a Copeland show, and they had just released a record called Beneath Medicine Tree. In this hot, packed-to-capacity, cigarette-smoke-filled room, this show was captivating. Their sound was something I hadn’t heard before and stood out from some of the heavier bands that played earlier in the night. Don’t get me wrong; Copeland was rock-and-roll, with guitars turned up so loud one could feel them reverberating in their chest. But lead singer, Aaron Marsh, also had this soft yet soaring voice coupled with these rich piano harmonics. Something about them sounded massive, cinematic, and deeply emotional. Fast forward eight years — I’m 22 years old and recently moved to Lakeland to start a new job in the area. Now one of my favorite bands, Copeland had recently called it quits and toured the country with a farewell tour. I had heard rumors that Aaron Marsh lived in the

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city I now called home and had just finished building a recording studio where he was producing music. As a local worship pastor, I was looking for a place to record my praise and worship records. A mutual friend named Stephen Howell introduced us. I met Aaron in his studio, The Vanguard Room. The studio space is decked out in dark woods, mid-century furniture, vintage rugs, and lighting fixtures; also, filled with all the Gibson guitars and electric pianos I had watched him tour with over the years. Aaron was quiet, kind, and graciously helped me make music over the next few years in his studio. Through it all, we developed a great friendship. Fast forward again six years later, to present day, when I got the chance to sit down with Aaron for The Lakelander in order to talk all things Copeland: where the band has been and where the recently reunited band is going.


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emotional.

deeply

Something about them sounded massive,

cinematic, and


asked him to join the band. For all intents and purposes, I would consider Bryan and myself to be the founding members of what Copeland is today.

The Lakelander: For those who don’t know, tell us a little about the beginnings of Copeland and how the band came to be. Aaron Marsh: Copeland grew out of the various bands I had in high school; it was sort of a rotating cast of various players. I eventually met Bryan Laurenson [lead guitarist for Copeland] on a message board about music. He was doing his solo music at the time and was planning on moving from Maryland to Orlando to attend Full Sail University. He ended up not going to school but still moved to the area. He would record some pretty awesome demos at his place in Orlando, so I asked him to record a few of my songs. They turned out, and I eventually

TL: Where did the band initially draw its inspiration from? I’ve heard you mention before a local Lakeland band called Nora’s Breakfast club. Were they big inspirations for you guys? AM: Yeah! The Lakeland music scene, in those days when we were first coming up, was pretty good. There were a few great, all-ages venues in the city. Local bands like Divine Child (AKA Denison Marrs), Pilots V Aeroplanes, and, yes, Nora’s Breakfast Club were the bands we all wanted to be like. I remember when Nora’s first got their CD in a little local record store. We were like, “They made it!”

BAND MEMBERS: AARON MARSH BRYAN LAURENSON STEPHEN LAURENSON

It’s been about four years since Copeland’s last album, Ixora. Their newest album is scheduled to release by the end of 2018.

TL: You had them open for you recently at an Orlando show while touring Ixora, correct? AM: Yes, but I opened for them in Lakeland in 1995! TL: What were some of Copeland’s biggest successes? When did you realize you weren’t making music with your high school friends in a garage? AM: We signed to The Militia Group, a Southern Californiabased indie label. Honestly, the first record we ever put out, Beneath Medicine Tree, really

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caught fire quick in indie-rock circles. We played over 600 shows in two years with a day off here and there. We had an agent who booked anything that came our way. We would hear about tours while we were finishing a tour. Like once we’re done with this tour, we’re not going home. We’d drive straight to New Jersey to start another one. TL: Did you like that time of life? Was that fun for you? AM: It was really exciting, yeah. I was 22, you know? No bills. I don’t know if I had a cell phone yet. We just left. No one had laptops. We would check our email at an internet café. [laughs] TL: Do you feel like touring that hard and playing that many shows was part of building your success? Is it still important for a band who wants to be successful to tour that hard today? AM: I don’t know if to be

successful you have to tour that hard, but it definitely makes you a better musician. It develops you as a performer. Today, in our internet streaming era, a band or a song could be successful and that person could have never played a show. In the days we were getting started, however, there was no substitute for hitting the road. TL: Fast-forward to 2010; the band breaks up. How many records had Copeland recorded before that? AM: We had recorded four LPs. John Bucklew joined our band for the second album. He was with us for eight years after that. John really helped shape our sound with his playing style. He was in Denison Marrs, a Lakeland band I had always liked. TL: Could you tell us what led to you guys breaking up as a band in 2010? AM: We had kind of plateaued. We had accomplished a lot, and the goals that we had left kind of felt unattainable. We got to tour

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internationally, play in Indonesia for 5,000 people, play in Japan a few times. We got to do a lot of things, but we eventually started playing the same venues over and over. We started to feel discouraged, so it was time to do something else. TL: Were you losing interest personally? AM: Sure. The guys were thinking about getting married and buying houses. We decided to do a farewell tour and end on a high note. We didn’t want to just fizzle out. TL: After a six-year hiatus, Copeland returned in 2014 with the record Ixora. Why did you decide to come back then? AM: I think our personal dynamics in the band — we were back in a place where we were talking more. Bryan [Laurenson] and Stephen [Laurenson] had a band called States after Copeland; they were reaching a pausing point for that band. I had built the recording studio.


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October 12 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Youkey Theatre

SYMPHONIC COPELAND

With the nearing release of their sixth album, this is the perfect timing for a collaboration with Copeland and the Imperial Symphony Orchestra. While many ISO musicians have performed with Copeland in concert and album recordings, this will be the first time a full symphony has accompanied the band on stage.

The timing just made sense, and I think we all wanted to do it. I had a folder on my computer called “LP5” with song ideas we never got to make, along with some new ideas. We’re really happy with how Ixora turned out. TL: Were you happy with how the tour went for Ixora? AM: We really loved touring it. It was a great season, especially because we were just planning on doing a CD release show. Then we got offered to play with Anberlin at one of their last shows. So we thought we would only do those two shows. Then we got offered five shows playing with Motion City Soundtrack. So we thought we’d have seven shows. Then we got offered to do a national tour with Paramore. So I guess before we knew it, we were fully back touring — back as a band.

TL: Between all of this, you’re running and producing at your studio when in Lakeland. How has producing others’ music helped you as an artist? AM: As a producer I’ve gotten great perspective on developing projects as a whole. Usually with bands, the guitar wants his part louder in the mix, the drummer wants to be turned up, the vocalist wants to shine, etc. I think it’s helped to think about the project as a whole instead of the individual parts. Also, producing has taught me about songwriting in general. A great song is a great song. A recording doesn’t need to be super Hi-Fi and polished if the song is great. A bad performance of a good song is still a good song. I always think of Bob Dylan in that way. His voice wasn’t amazing, but his songwriting impacted the world.


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as a band.

touring — back

back before we knew it, we were fully

TL: Back as a band again, what are your goals? AM: That fire I was talking about earlier, I think we finally have that back again. Like those “We could play on TV” type dreams. I don’t know, I‘ve always wanted to play on The Late Show [laughs] … it’s always been one of my goals. We want to do another tour in Southeast Asia. We always love our time there. Indonesia, in particular. TL: In this season of your life, why base your music out of Lakeland? AM: In this season, the answer is family. My two boys. My parents, my brother and sister and their kids are all here. I’m happiest here. I love the town. I’ve always thought that it’s better to create opportunities than to go where someone else has created the opportunities.

TL: So, a new Copeland record is in the mix? AM: We started working on a new record about two years ago. Nothing I’m ready to share publicly about it yet. Actually, I’m not sure if I like it yet [laughs]. I’ve lost perspective. I know I liked it six months ago. Want to see the album art? Let me show you a couple songs.

Aaron and I ended our interview time listening to a couple songs from his new record expected to release before the end of 2018. I wish I could tell you more. But I can tell you this: their album title, art, and songs are seriously all so beautiful and hard hitting. As a fan, I really believe Copeland’s best days are ahead of them. So, can we start this now?: #PutCopelandOnLateShow

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PHILANTHROPY

Music has always been a beautiful way of bringing healing to the world, but Play It Forward Polk has taken that mission a step further with their philanthropic movement to aid kids in the community who can’t afford instruments. Learn about where their story as a nonprofit organization all began and how they are encouraging the youth in the public school system to not let circumstance define their ability to play.


the rhythm of hope Written by Victoria Bardega

Photography by David Dickey

what do we attribute our appreciation of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro or Aerosmith’s “Dream On”? They are both timeless anthems of their day whose legacy and rhythms have impacted what we know to be good music. The beat count of a meaningful lyric or the chord progression found during the bridge of a soulful ballad — all elements affecting our day-to-day beautifully as they inspire us through their detail in emotion. Every minute that passes within an orchestration of our favorite song represents countless hours of rigorous practice and passionate dedication from a determined musician — someone who never gave up on the story they had to share with us through melody. I’ll never forget the excitement of strumming my first guitar during my

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middle school recital and singing for the first time on stage at the historic auditorium at Evangel Christian School in the ’90s. There is an invigorating feeling that happens when a human creates music from a vulnerable place and from a practiced knowledge imparted from surrounding mentors. It illuminates our world with a message to be heard and allows for our hearts to connect with the emotions that are being conveyed by a musician. But what would have happened if the musical icons of our day never had the opportunity to play an instrument because of a financial lack? As former musical artists or avid supporters of the craft, Play It Forward Polk created a beautiful solution in our community so that no one would have to face the disappointment of wanting to play without an ability to afford an instrument.

Ohio native Tommy Butch moved to Lakeland with the dream of curating community amongst fellow, talented musicians. Carrying professional experience in saxophone, trumpet, and vocal performance, he started playing at local bars and restaurants to meet other like-minded artists who would join him for “one giant jam session,” as he calls it. Tommy wanted it to mean something more for the greater Polk community. During his time back home in Columbus, Ohio, he recalled attending a school that had run-down instruments that students could play. No one had cared enough to replace the instruments with new ones, and this stood out to Butch. “There were so many kids who wanted to play, but they lacked the instruments or materials and couldn’t afford them,” he recalls. This memory would only become the catalyst for Play It Forward Polk and


the sole mission of these community benefit concerts. He immediately began to partner with former local musician Brian Everhart to recruit bands and vocalists to join the cause and to help aid funding for children in the Polk County School System. As the organization began to grow its team of board members, former Lakeland Electric worker and music lover Ron Tomlin was voted in to serve as president and has since continued pioneering the philanthropic cause with nine others: Tim Calhoon, Marty Jones, Steve McCarter, Connie McCarter, Roi Cornish, Robin Fleming, Amanda Frankle-Brice, Pat Oldencamp, and Natalie Oldencamp. As a team, they’ve worked together in every capacity, from marketing to strategic partnerships, to bring awareness to the community for the children in our school systems who come from low-income households.

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Play It Forward Polk began as the vision of two men that evolved into a movement built on the strength and dedication of their board members, as they relentlessly work to advocate and to inspire children to dream big. The Lakelander: What role do you play on the team, and what brought your team to start a nonprofit organization like Play It Forward? Ron Tomlin: I currently serve as the president of the board for Play It Forward Polk. It was started around four-and-a-half years ago in the spring of 2014. Friends and former members of our board, Brian Everhart and Tommy Butch, were two local musicians who had the desire to recruit other local musicians for one big jam session in hopes of raising money for new instruments to be distributed to students in the Polk County School System. The


But what would have happened if the musical icons of our day never had the opportunity to play an instrument because of a financial lack?

Play It Forward’s annual benefit concert is held at The Polk Theatre and raises money for students in Polk County public schools.

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“We never want a child to feel incapable of getting an instrument in their hands due to financial struggles.” initial target has always been children in the community who come from lowincome households or who have a severe financial struggle but have a passion for learning an instrument. [Everhart and Butch] then decided it was time to do more than just a jam session. Eventually, when the board was created, we started hosting several benefit concerts and events in the community of Lakeland and other surrounding cities to raise more funding for instruments donations to the Polk Education Foundation. A COMMUNITY RESPONSE TL: Our community is familiar with your Polk Theatre event held annually, but what are more events that you host in addition to this where the community has shown authentic support? RT: It’s amazing to me how the community has stepped in to help. Our signature event is the Play It Forward Polk celebration that is held every year at The Polk Theatre. This night is very special and meaningful for students who have always wanted an opportunity to perform with their donated instrument but have never had the platform. It’s important for youngsters to have a platform to play. My heart is simply in promoting it. Other events we’ve hosted have included a benefit concert at Fresco’s Speakeasy lounge. Our board members help work these events, and for example, they were the bartenders of the night for tips, which brought in around $3,600 we were able to use for instrument

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Other events Play It Forward hosted have included a benefit concert at Fresco’s Speakeasy lounge.


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Since they first began four years ago, Play It Forward Polk has been able to donate over $100,000 for musical instruments.

Play It Forward Polk began as the vision of two men that evolved into a movement built on the strength and dedication of their board members, as they relentlessly work to advocate and to inspire children to dream big.

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The Mayhall Auditorium was built ata cost of $300,000 in 1927. It stood on Massachusetts Avenue adjacent to City Hall. Originally called The City Auditorium, it was renamed in the early 1940’s after long time Lakeland High School music director and composer, Harry Mayhall. The building was torn down in 1969 when city officials determined that the cost of renovating it would be prohibitive.

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Photo Courtesy of Special Collections, Lakeland Public Library

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The majority of Play It Forward Polk’s charity donations have been from Publix Charities, GiveWell, and other local philanthropists.

purchasing. We’ve partnered with several other local businesses and music groups to raise funding through event production. As well, we have received direct instrument donations that range anywhere from an acoustic guitar to a viola. The majority of charity donations we’ve been blessed to receive have been from Publix Charities, GiveWell, and other local philanthropists. As a nonprofit organization, we’ve been able to donate over $100,000 since we began four years ago. TL: Music is a powerful tool that can bring so much healing to both the player and the listener. What is an example of how you’ve watched Play It Forward impact the greater Polk community?

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RT: The program that we put on at the Polk Theatre has involved more student musicians than local musicians, and that in itself has impacted us the most. It’s always such a blessing to watch kids pour out their hearts through songs they’ve learned using our donated instruments. I once went to a Christmas concert at Bartow Middle School, and at one moment, the band instructor had students stand who had received donations from our organization, Play It Forward Polk. It really helped us to view the difference we’re making with our own eyes. Music to me is such a critical part of a child’s development. In the life of a kid, it teaches them practical things like arithmetic, reading, and writing. In addition, it’s teaching them how to


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engage with what they’re feeling, and it creates in them a well-rounded person.” THE PASSION TO LEAVE A MUSICAL LEGACY TL: How would you describe the heart behind the mission, and how does this mission collaborate with our Polk School Board? RT: We are dedicated to celebrating live music in this community, and we’re all about celebrating the kids who have dreams to be a music artist. We never want a child to feel incapable of getting an instrument in their hands due to financial struggles. Years ago, we sat down with Beth Cummings, the director of fine arts for Polk School Board, and expressed our desire to help the kids who can’t afford to buy an instrument to learn the art of music. We began donating resources to the Polk Education Foundation while Cummings utilizes the aid to help students that are nominated by local band directors from all Polk County Schools. To honor confidentiality and privacy, no names are involved. It’s a simple project request that reflects the classrooms’ need according to what students are enrolled in the band directors’ classes. The investment is made on the students who have displayed an interest in picking up an instrument to learn. While the instruments stay with the designated school, children are still being given the opportunity to sharpen their skills during their class time. Kids are typically given this chance as early as the fifth grade. TL: What would you say to someone who has never played an instrument or perhaps has given up on music somewhere along the way and would like to get back into it? RT: Go for it! Music is a critical part of anyone’s life. There will always be people available to help you along the way. It’s such a neat way to express yourself and a great outlet to release stress and relax. Some of our bands in the surrounding community will even take you under their wing to teach you what you need to know. If it’s in your heart, go for it.

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HISTORY

The Lakeland High School municipal orchestra gets ready to perform a concert under the direction of Music and Drama Department Director Harry S. Mayhall. Mayhall is in a jacket and tie to the right of the sousaphone players. Orchestra members, consisting of high school students and local amateur musicians, wore capes and hats in lieu of band uniforms. The orchestra performed regular Sunday afternoon concerts in the City (later Mayhall) Auditorium adjacent to the Lakeland City Hall. Date: circa 1933 Photo courtesy of the Lakeland Public Library.

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