April 13, 2008
Center for the Arts
Jay Smar captures the imagination and inspires the musical ability of children. His little-known facts about Pennsylvania and American history and resonating renditions of classical folk songs enlighten and delight students everywhere. Jay Smar brings enthusiasm and experience to his work. A professional entertainer for more than 20 years, Jay plays guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and banjo. He explains the history of each instrument as well as the similarities and differences. Jay demonstrates each one, then invites volunteers to try their hand on the mandolin or fiddle. Children love the opportunity to hold a fine instrument, and their peers enjoy the fun as Jay and the kids work together.
Younger audiences especially enjoy sing-alongs. The songs are usually linked to an instrument. Stephen Foster's "Oh Susannah" is a popular favorite. Jay tells the story of the song's origin, followed by its early construction. Then everyone joins in with new knowledge of the banjo and one of America's great songwriters. The audience may be encouraged to write songs, singing original lyrics to a traditional folk song tune such as "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain". There is a special emphasis on local Pennsylvania history in Jay's programs. A native of the Jim Thorpe area, his stories and songs explore the impact of coal mining on the Keystone State, the world's first "gravity" railroad, the invention of the roller coaster and folklore related to other areas.
In the last 5 years, Jay Smar has toured Scotland twice, performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival twice, recorded music for the Welsh BBC movie, "The Welsh in America," and has been selected by the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour to be on their professional touring roster.
Armed with 2 guitars, baritone vocals, claw-hammer banjo, and fiddling, singing, and flat-footin - (a form of clog-dancing), he serves his audience an "acoustic buffet" of traditional American and original folk, ol' time mountain music, bluegrass and gospel tunes, as well as coal mining songs of Northeast Pennsylvania.
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Show Starts at 2:00pm.