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'Rockin in the Hollow' spotlights younger musicians in Sewickley Valley

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Droogs, featuring bass player Jay Hadfield, drummer A.J. Savocchia, vocalist Ryan Hilberg and guitarist R.J. Rozman, will perform Saturday at Rockin' in the Hollow at Fern Hollow Nature Center. Submitted
Pictured practicing with Take 5 are, from left, Mary Elena Savocchia, Cole Musser, instructor Seth Dubin and Mareena Musser. Not pictured are Theo Hadfield and Karina Lynch. Submitted
The Droogs, featuring band members R.J. Rozman, Ryan Hilberg, A.J. Savocchia and Jay Hadfield, will perform at Rockin' in the Hollow Saturday at Fern Hollow Nature Center in Sewickley Heights. Submitted

It's a day geared toward the younger generation.

That's how Sam Capezutto, Fern Hollow Nature Center director, described Rockin' in the Hollow, an event that gives elementary, middle and high school students the opportunity to perform their music for the community and to enjoy the outdoors.

The event from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the center, 1901 Glen Mitchell Road, Sewickley Heights, will feature groups formed with help from instructor Seth Dubin's First-Band Experience company, the Center for Young Musicians in Sewickley, Rock School Pittsburgh run by Eric Brockschmidt and Rock Academy of Pittsburgh, run by Brent Stater of Sewickley, along with several other area bands.

Last year — the first year for the event — 16 bands performed.

Those attending also can sit outside and have a picnic while listening to music and taking part in activities such as a “minute-to-win-it” game, rainbow loom bracelets station, face painting, bocce, cornhole and flag football. Refreshments will be available.

Dubin of Dormont, who helped to form two of the bands, Take 5 and The Droogs, said he and band members are looking forward to the event.

“This is a place that is a unique and important part of the Sewickley community, and any opportunity to support a venue like this, we'll jump at,” he said.

He said Cole Musser of Sewickley, a Quaker Valley Middle School sixth-grader and his oldest student, lets his “talent shine” as the guitarist in Take 5.

The band features other Sewickley musicians including Cole's sister and drum player, Mareena, an Osborne Elementary School second-grader; Karina Lynch, vocalist, Quaker Valley sixth-grader; pianist Mary Elena Savocchia, Osborne fourth-grader; and bassist Theo Hadfield, sixth-grader.

“As a whole, the group pulls off some nice rock tunes very well,” Dubin said.

The band performed at Light Up Night in Sewickley and on the last day of classes at Osborne Elementary last year, when they played Alice Cooper's “School's Out.”

Cole said the band mostly performs alternative rock/blues music, with songs by Weezer such as “Island in the Sun” and Jason Mraz's “I'm Yours.”

“We just want to keep going as long as we can,” Cole said. “It's all about the music, learning to play and working together.”

Nancy Musser, mother of Cole and Mareena, said being in a group has boosted her children's confidence.

“It's been a great experience for them, and they love to do it,” she said.

Members of The Droogs, who will be Quaker Valley sophomores in the fall, have played at Sewickley Light Up Night and recently at The Andy Warhol Museum's Youth Invasion.

The “tight-knit band with some solid talent” will play instrumentals at Rockin' in the Hollow that band members wrote, Dubin said.

Members of the mostly alternative music group are drummer A.J. Savocchia; vocalist and guitarist Ryan Hilberg, who isn't able to attend the show; guitarist R.J. Rozman and bassist Jay Hadfield.

Other bands and musicians from the Sewickley area include Bush-League and Crazy 8's, bands formed at Rock School of Pittsburgh, All Shook Up and Anguish Muffins, Rock Academy of Pittsburgh bands, Baldric Benedine & the Back Road Burglars, John Pugh, Savannah Strickland and Olivia Billings, and Sierra Perlik and Tom Easterly.

Capezutto said there is no financial goal, although event proceeds will benefit children's programming at the center.

“FHNC's goal for the the day is to provide a fun outdoor venue for middle school and high school bands to play” and to create an event their families and friends will look forward to each year, he said.

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

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