In my role with the Mauch Chunk Opera House I’ve always been fortunate to see remarkable musical talent and then also experience some pleasant surprises. You know you did well in your booking choices when you hear it from the crowd, and especially when that reaction is for the opening performer.
One musician who stands out in this regard is Shannon Marsyada, a singer-songwriter from West Hazleton, PA with a powerful voice and exceptional skills at the piano and keyboards and as a songwriter. Her sound could perhaps be described as a mix of Annie Lennox, Shakira and Amy Lee, but much (maybe most) of her work is original.
Performing at 2009 Fall Foliage Festival in Jim Thorpe
I have frequently booked her for Jim Thorpe’s Fall Foliage Weekends and her performances have always attracted appreciative audiences. At last year’s festival, she quite willingly played outside in the cold weather with fingerless gloves and an uncomplaining attitude. My kind of performer.
The background storyline is that Ms. Marsyada is the hardworking mother of three, and she and her husband Mike scramble to perform at various events while attending to the all-consuming task of raising a family.
Shannon Marsyada at Anita Shapolsky Gallery
The progress in her music and stage presence suggested she might be ready to appear at the Opera House. Her first performance with us was as the opener for a Massachusetts singer-songwriter duo called The Nields. When they appeared, they cheerfully reminded the crowd to remember the night, because “surely Shannon will be famous.”
When she opened for the great singer-songwriter Livingston Taylor this last May, a big crowd was able to see her firsthand and responded to each song with rousing applause. Here is her interpretation of a haunting Enya tune, and here is an original number, both of which she performed on the Opera House’s venerable 1898 Chickering grand piano. Mr. Taylor himself admired her work, with many compliments before he began his set.
Afterwards, an especially pleased crowd left the venue, just about all remarking that the “opening act” was very good, and asking me to give them her name again. I told them her name was Shannon Marsyada and I hoped that we’d be seeing her back in Jim Thorpe at the Opera House soon.
Read Full Post »