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Teen musicians ready to rock at inaugural Fern Hollow festival

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:31 p.m.

So many teens have wanted to be part of Fern Hollow Nature Center's new event, Rockin' at the Hollow: One Day of Peace, Music & Nature, that the music will start a little earlier than planned.

Various genres of music from mostly Sewickley-area teen bands, soloists and duets will begin as soon as gates open at 2:30 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at the nature center, 1901 Glen Mitchell Road, Sewickley Heights.

“The idea behind Rockin' at the Hollow was to connect with the pre-teen and teenage kids in our town,” said Sam McClain-Capezzuto, center director.

“We have had so much success at the Fall Music Festival that we decided to do the same type of event but gear it more towards teenagers and instead of having adult bands, give teenagers in the area a place to perform. The response has been overwhelming.”

With the money raised from the event, she said they hope to expand the programming for teenagers with a new summer camp and other activities that will be determined from a survey they will be doing that night.

Barb Pugh of Sewickley, a Fern Hollow board member, helped to organize the event and to recruit and schedule bands.

One of the groups ready to play at the event is The Berastems, including members Liam Donohue of Sewickley, a Sewickley Academy junior; James Cain of Peters Township, academy junior; David Truman of South Fayette, academy junior; and Sharran Chakravorty of Sewickley, academy senior.

Donohue said Cain came up with part of the name of band — stems — but Donohue said he wanted to have a neoterism — a made-up word.

“Bera simply rolls off the tongue smoothly in my opinion,” Donohue said.

Rockin' at the Hollow will be the band's first public performance, though Donohue said members have basement jams for personal entertainment.

Donohue plays the blues, classical, and rock guitar along with piano and bass. Cain plays piano and bass. Chakravorty is a drummer with a little Latin guitar on the side. Truman plays piano, bass and guitar and along with Donohue and Cain, is an accomplished singer.

Donahue said the band's set will be entirely original and most likely will be an even mix between songs Cain, Truman and Donohue have written over the years. Sierra Perlik of Sewickley and Tom Easterly of Sewickley Heights, both Quaker Valley seniors, also will be singing together.

They tentatively will sing “Sir Duke,” by Stevie Wonder, and a song they wrote together and what Perlik calls the typical adolescent love song.

Easterly also might perform a rap song he wrote, “Closer to my Dreams,” with help from Perlik, who said she and Easterly recorded the songs themselves, “just for fun.”

Perlik, who is a point guard on the Quaker Valley girls basketball team, said she has been singing her entire life at church and in chorus at school, but she has had no lessons. Easterly formerly was a member of the local band, Priest, Sage, Roots and Soul, which also will perform at the event.

McClain-Capezzuto said all the bands and singers will be teens, with the exception of Suzanne Watters of Edgeworth, who will be playing guitar for the Anglish Muffins band.

The lead singer for the group is her 8-year-old daughter, Betsy. The keyboard player is her son John, 10.

She said the event will maintain a set schedule, with each act performing for 15 to 30 minutes with short breaks in between to change out equipment.

Those attending are welcome to bring their own picnics, but hot dogs, walking tacos and beverages will be sold at the event. If the weather is cold, a bonfire and s'mores will be available.

Other Sewickley-area bands to perform are: Don and the Photons; The Unfinished Side; Deceptive Cadence; Stop, Drop and Rock; and Razorback Engine.

Solo and duet performances will be by Mike Sirianni, Hayley Fox, Emily Watters, Olivia Billings, Savannah Stickland and John Pugh.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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