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Coralville October 2017 Musician of the Month: Helena Mounce
By West Music Company
11/1/2017 5:08:00 AM  

Helena violin studentHelena is 6th grade student in our West Music Lessons program. She has studied flute with Rose Bishop for 2 years, ukulele with Chris Eck for 2 years, and violin with William and Donald Gentzsch for 4 years. She enjoys band, orchestra and aerial dance. Helena is a dedicated musician and an exemplary student!

Her teachers have this to say about working with her:

“Helena was one of the hardest working, most outgoing students I have ever taught. She is a joy to work with!” - William Gentzsch, Violin Instructor

“It’s a privilege to be Helena’s teacher and to see her expressing herself so well through music. She has a natural aptitude and love for music, and always works hard. I’ve been very proud to play with her at her school talent show and West Music recitals.” -Chris Eck, West Music Director of Lessons & Ukulele Instructor

“Helena is one of the sweetest and most caring flute students I have ever had. She is passionate about learning and works hard every week to perfect her assigned music. Her positive outlook and creativity makes her one of my favorite students to work with each week!” -Rose Bishop, Flute Instructor

One of her main goals on violin is to finish all of the Suzuki books. She likes that music can change your mood and how when you practice “the outcome is really cool!” Helena offers this advice to other musicians: “Keep practicing. I almost gave up on violin, but I kept going, and now I’m pretty good!” Her favorite musician is violinist Lindsey Stirling.

In addition to music and dance Helena likes puzzles, board games, hiking, and Roblox. When asked what someone might be surprised to learn about her, she confesses that “I really like potatoes!”

Congratulations, Helena!




Tags: coralville, flute, violin, ukulele, student, chris eck
Categories: West Music Coralville
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Coralville Teacher Feature: Saul Lubaroff
By West Music Company
10/15/2017 1:53:00 PM  
Saul LubaroffExcelling as a professional saxophonist, clarinetist, and flautist, Saul Lubaroff stands as a central cog in the Eastern Iowa music scene. As a performer of jazz, blues, soul, klezmer, classical, and pop music, Saul is a veteran in some of most successful bands of the area. He performs with The Fez, a 15-piece Steely Dan tribute band, The Johnny Kilowatt Blues Band, and Shade of Blue, a local soul band.

Saul has shared the stage with George Clinton and PFunk, Liquid Soul, Clark Terry, Michael Woolf, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, and Alex Foster of the Saturday Night Live band, and has performed locally with Orchestra Iowa, the Band Salaam (Persian and Mediterranean music), The Blue Band, Brass Transit Authority, local big bands, funk bands, and his own quartet.

Saul is currently accepting new students ages 8 through adult for saxaphone, clarient, and flute lessons at West Music Coralville. He also teaches music composition.

Schedule Your First Lesson with Saul!




Tags: saul lubaroff, The Fez, Johnny Kilowatt Blues Band, Shade of Blue, orchestra iowa,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Alice Golden - A Teacher and a Friend
By West Music Company
8/28/2017 12:39:00 PM  
Alice GoldenChris Eck is the Director of Music Education at West Music. He worked with Alice Golden for many years before her recent passing. He offers these words in memoriam:

"West Music would like to express what a privilege it was to know and work with Alice. She was a true leader in this educational community, sharing her gifts and expertise with hundreds of lucky people. She was a music teacher for over 30 years, half of which were right here in our Lessons studios at our West Music stores. Before her retirement earlier this year, West Music was a second home to Alice.  We’re so grateful for her incredible partnership in our mission. We will be working closely with her family and colleagues to honor her memory and the legacy of her amazing life. 

On a personal note, like many of you reading this my heart is very heavy with the news of her passing. Alice always had a smile and showed her tremendous heart to everyone she met. I’ve never known a teacher who gave so much caring attention and encouragement! She gave the same love freely to those she worked with, met on the street, talked to at the coffee shop, friends…a uniquely bright and naturally giving person who can never be replaced in this world. We miss and love you, Miss Alice."



Alice F. Golden, 71, of Iowa City, passed away Wednesday, August 23, 2017. Alice was born on July 24, 1946 in Iowa City, the daughter of Delmar and Goldie (Miller) Bender. Alice received her B.A. in vocal music from Goshen College. She taught vocal music, worked as a children’s librarian, and then taught piano to many beloved students at West Music for many years. Alice loved nature. She worked at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center in Wolf Lake, Indiana for many years; Alice taught groups of children about insects, birds, maple syrup gathering, swamps, trees, flowers and all nature in general. She treasured those years. She loved the woods and often took long walks in them, surrounded by nature.

She loved music of all kinds, playing piano, playing French horn, and singing. She loved concerts, plays, musicals, dance and all of the arts. 

Alice was a devoted mother and grandmother. She loved her family and friends deeply. She loved reading, especially children's literature. She loved going to The Java House and was great friends with the baristas there, as well as other friends she met there. From the Manifesto she wrote in 2015, "she loved dogs, friendly people, children, babies, smiles, clouds, blue skies, stormy skies, trees, flowers, grass, making bouquets, good authors, good books, seeing beauty in small things and the grandeur of large things like sunsets and sunrises, songs of childhood, cicadas, spring peepers, holidays, and when people say, 'I love you.'"

Alice is survived by her loving children: Susanna Golden, Kirstin Golden and Peter (Christine) Golden; her three grandchildren: Zoe Rogers, Ethan Maltes and Penelope Golden; her siblings: Ginny (Ken) Rew, John (Cathy) Bender, Les (Kathy) Bender and Laurie Bender; her nephew, Brad (Bridgette) Rew and their child, Madeleine Wehmeyer; and her niece, Molly Rew and her children, Rosalía and Jesús Escalera Rew. Alice is also survived by numerous friends and extended family. She was preceded in death by her parents, Delmar and Goldie Bender. Memorials may be directed to the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. 




Tags: alice golden, chris eck
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Extraordinary Associate of the Month July 2017: The Liberty Team
By West Music Company
8/1/2017 1:52:00 PM  

West music Liberty HS TeamWe are happy to announce Rod Pierson, Brad Carter, Dick Dott, Marica Fuller, and Tianna Streeter (the Liberty Team) as our West Music July 2017 Associates of the Month!

No challenge is too big for this team and this one was a doozy! The Iowa City School district will open a new high school this August and West Music was charged with outfitting their entire music program with the necessary tools for success this fall. It amounted to over $700k and around 3000 lines. That’s A LOT of product! This team didn’t miss a step from suggesting product and working with director preferences, to inputting and receiving the lines, as well as, invoicing the product and picking up the check!

Rod, Brad, Dick, Tianna and Marcia did a fantastic job representing West Music during this project. Thanks for all the extra effort put forth the last six months! This is one great team!

As told by Alex Beamer,
Director of Regional School Music



Tags: school music, music education, iowa
Categories: West Music Coralville, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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Extraordinary Associate of the Month June 2017: Eric Whittaker
By West Music Company
7/1/2017 2:17:00 PM  

Erik Whittaker West Music We are pleased to announce the June 2017 Associate of the Month!

Since transitioning from our General Music department last summer, Erik has sold his way into one of the top combo sales spots in the company. He’s sold $100k of gear in 2017 alone! Erik is very customer focused and has developed a tremendous customer base already, utilizing his vast knowledge of used and vintage gear to quickly gain a customer’s confidence in his abilities. He has an incredible attention to detail when it comes to prepping gear for the floor, as well as merchandising all products - so the floor looks great.

Erik loves getting a neglected guitar in on trade and making it look like new again. He also enjoys utilizing his EBAY/REVERB experience to get the most profit out of every used and vintage in store item we have. He now sits on a West Music initiative team that is outlining a process for other stores to be able to do the same. It’s no wonder June’s Associate of the Month has been awarded to Erik Whittaker!

Congratulations Erik and thanks for all you do!

As told by John Feldman,
West Music Coralville Store Manager




Tags: guitars, eric whittaker, sales, store
Categories: West Music Coralville, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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Coralville July 2017 Musician of the Month: Jayce Norpel
By West Music Company
7/1/2017 1:01:00 AM  
jayce norpel piano student
Jayce is going into the 4th grade, and has been studying piano with Sarah Beckelheimer in the West Music Lessons program for 2 years. His teacher has this to say about his lessons:

“Jayce comes with a positive attitude regularly. He consistently practices and challenges himself.  He is a joy to teach!”

He loves having a teacher to work with him on his musical goals! He also hopes to add guitar and ukulele to his instrument list. His favorite music is Kids Bop (Greatest Hits). When asked for advice to other musicians, Jayce wisely suggests that you “practice at least 20 minutes per day.”  

Jayce also enjoys basketball and Legos. He does not like soup.

Congratulations, Jayce! Great job!



Tags: Sarah Beckelheimer, coralville, piano, lessons, student
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Do You and Your Coworkers Rock? West Music Sponsors CBJ’s Battle of the Bands
By West Music Company
6/6/2017 3:56:00 PM  
Corporate Battle of the BandsIs your office mate a rock star in disguise? You might be surprised!

West Music is proud to be sponsoring CBJ’s 2nd Annual Corporate Battle of the Bands. This contest showcases the musical talents of employees in Eastern Iowa. Businesses are encouraged to form their own bands and compete for the tile of Best Corporate Band!

This is West Music’s second year sponsoring CBJ’s event. While West Music employees are not eligible to participate (too many pros at our company), the event fits with our larger mission to encourage people of all ages and occupations to “Play now. Play for life.”

CBJ will be accepting band nominations through Monday, June26, 2017. Then, six bands will be chosen to compete at a live competition from 6-9 p.m. on August 24, 2017 at Big Grove Brewery & Taproom in Iowa City.

$1000 grand prize Similar to American Idol, the bands perform and then receive feedback from a distinguished panel of judges. West Music’s own Alex Beamer will be one of the judges, along with Rob Cline of Hancher and Tim Hankewich of Orchestra Iowa.

The winning band will receive $1,000 credit to spend at West Music, $1,000 to give to their favorite charity, a traveling trophy and bragging rights! They will also be invited to headline CBJ’s Coolest Places to Work event in September.

The CBJ’s competition has a few simple requirements: at least half of the band’s members must work at the company the band represents, and the lead singer must work at the company. All music styles are encouraged. Last year music styles ranged from pop and country to alt rock and reggae!

To nominate your band or buy tickets to the event, go to corridorbusiness.com/events and click on Corporate Battle of the Bands.

Photos and video courtesy of Corridor Business Journal (CJB). Additional sponsors of this event include Shive Hattery Architecture and Engineering and Big Grove Brewing & Taproom.



Tags: contest, iowa, cbj, battle of the bands
Categories: West Music Cedar Rapids/Marion, West Music Cedar Falls, West Music Coralville, Contests
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West Music’s Nancy Cree Keyboard Recitals to Honor Prominent Composer
By Tina Chapman
5/17/2017 12:53:00 PM  
Robert D. Vandall

Coralville, IA – May 17, 2017 – West Music will honor prominent composer Robert D. Vandall at their Two Grand Spring Recitals this weekend at the Coralville Center for Performing Arts. The recitals feature students of West Music based Nancy Cree Keyboard Learning Centers. Students from age 4 to adult will be performing including special recognition for our students graduating from high school.

Prolific composer Robert D. Vandall passed away in February at age 72 following a long and courageous battle with cancer. Vandall published more than 500 works under Alfred Publishing. In addition to operating a private studio in Ohio with his wife Karen, Vandall presented and taught workshops in more than 30 states for many years including many locally at West Music.

Two of this weekend’s series of recitals will feature works by Vandall. Recital times for the Vandall-centered recitals are May 20 at 1:00 p.m. and May 21 at 4:30 p.m. both at the Coralville Center for Performing Arts, 1301 5th Street in Coralville, Iowa. The events are free and open to the public.

“His true passion was composing. He will be missed all over the world for his amazing talent,” said Tina Chapman, Supervisor and Head Teacher of Nancy Cree Keyboard Learning Center at West Music. “We will keep his spirit alive by playing and sharing his music. It is our honor to present several of his pieces in this weekend’s recitals.”


     Nancy Cree Keyboard Logo 


About Nancy Cree Keyboard Learning Centers

The Nancy Cree Keyboard Learning Center Program seeks to open as many musical doors as possible to its students. From traditional acoustic piano to the newest electronic technology, the instruction seeks to introduce and excite the student to a variety of musical possibilities. We take a broad range approach to the varied musical traditions such as classical, jazz, folk and popular music. Music is learned, then performed among family and friends in a variety of social settings. Students develop self-confidence, stage presence and have fun performing together in a cooperative environment. To learn more or sign up for Nancy Cree or any West Music classes visit westmusic.com/lessons.

West Music Logo

About West Music

West Music is a third generation locally owned and family operated business. For over 75 years, West Music has been the area’s leading partner in music education, specializing in pianos, guitars, drums and percussion, band and orchestra instruments, and print music as well as offering music instruction, repair, and music therapy services. With seven retail locations in Iowa and Illinois as well as award-winning ecommerce websites dedicated to servicing music education and percussion communities, West Music strives to encourage people of all ages and abilities to play now and play for life. For more information, visit westmusic.com or call 1-800-373-2000.



Tags: piano recital, lessons, Coralville, Alfred Publishing
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville, Press Releases
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Coralville April 2017 Musician of the Month: Alyssa Wasmund
By West Music Company
5/1/2017 8:00:00 AM  
Alyssa Wasmund is in the 7th grade. She studies voice with Jessica Saunders and piano with Tina Chapman. Her voice instructor nominated her to be a featured student because “Alyssa is an excellent all around student and musician. As a singer she has a lovely voice that is mature for her age, without being forced. Alyssa is always willing to try new styles of music and we have worked on everything from pop to Italian art song! Alyssa is wonderfully musical and expressive during performances.” She also plays the flute.  Alyssa earned a 1 rating at the recent IMTA piano festival and has started to work on her second Italian song in her voice studies!

She has always wanted to sing in musicals, and also likes modern rock music. She loves that music is not just about creativity, but also about learning new things and challenging yourself. Her advice to other musicians is “Never give up. Even if you mess up in the middle of a song, don’t stop!” Other hobbies include reading, writing, drawing, ice skating and GLOW club. 

Congratulations, Alyssa!



Tags: voice, vocal, lesson, teach, piano, Jessica Saunders, Tina Chapman,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Coralville April 2017 Musician of the Month: Lauren Spence
By West Music Company
5/1/2017 8:00:00 AM  
Lauren Spence is a 4th grader studying violin in the West Music Lessons program with Gayla Drake. She has been in lessons for over a year and has made great progress on her musical path!

When not playing violin, Lauren enjoys dance (aero and tap), spending time in her church group, writing, drawing, cooking and singing. Her favorite music is Irish jigs. “Irish jigs make me feel happy! I love getting new songs to play!” Her favorite musicians are Gayla Drake, Lindsey Stirling and Celtic Woman.

Lauren delights me every week with how dedicated she is, and how quickly she learns tunes! She loves the music of Ireland, and has been acquiring tunes since the very beginning. I have loved Irish music since I was a kid, too, and having someone to share and pass tunes on to has been so much fun. She's always happy, positive, and a joy to work with. Lauren makes me look forward to Mondays! - Gayla Drake

Lauren’s advice to other musicians is “Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get it the first time you play. Keep trying! Make sure you play the kind of music you enjoy.”

She is a citizen of the United Kingdom, Ireland and America and travels to visit her family in Northern Ireland every summer. Lauren also enjoys time with her hamster, Bert, and her bunny, Ginger. 

Congratulations, Lauren!



Tags: lessons, violin, gayla drake,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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