Sean Seman | Chip Curry | Fred McCarty | James "Fingers" Shupe | Karin Phoenix | Peter Cor | Shanna Carlson | Frank Lima, a.k.a. Julio Morgani | Ginny Mitchell | Penny Hanna | Steve Kritzer | Pete Contino
Founder and Artistic Director of Young at Heart Project, Loyola University graduate and Chicago born Sean Seman is a vocalist and guitarist with 23 years professional experience specializing in guitar flat-picking and traditional Irish and American bluegrass music. He has toured extensively throughout the western U.S. and Canada, performed on Canadian television, and recorded albums with Fred Koller and Shel Siverstein. His concert credits include openings for Leo Kotke, Steven Stills, Dave Mason, Jesse Colin Young, Doc Watson, Marshall Tucker, Maria Muldaur, and Ry Cooder. Founder and Artistic Director of the Young at Heart Project, he created a one-of-a-kind program whereby professional musicians enrich the lives of seniors in residential and nursing care facilities by bringing them “music of their times” (i.e., of the 20’s, 30’, 40’s, etc.) restoring memories of their past to enhance their present. Under Sean's leadership Young at Heart has grown from 80 performances in 1985 to over 1,000 shows yearly in Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Monterey counties.
"His performances reflect the intuitive awareness of an entertainer capable of playing a concert crowd with the same finesse he has repeatedly displayed in smaller clubs." - Good Times Magazine
Chip Curry’s musical career started in Tucson, Arizona in the 1970s when, with his five-string banjo, he led the Summerdog Bluegrass, Mariachi, and Swing Ensemble to a ten-year stint as the Southwest’s premiere string band. They recorded three albums, starred in five musical comedies, won many contests, and kept folks dancin’ and toe tappin’ to many a fine performance. Chip then took up his grandfather’s bow and learned to play the fiddle. He has played international dance music for the Westwind International Folk Ensemble and Jubilee American Dance Theater, accompanying them on multiple tours in Europe and Mexico. Currently, Chip recaptures the spirit of his parents, playing guitar and singing popular music from the early twentieth century. He plays several hundred shows a year, both solo, and with bands. His sponsors have included the Western States Arts Foundation, Young Audiences, and the Arizona Commission for the Arts. As an actor, he been a member of the Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association.
A musician and singer of both country and pop music, Fred has composed over 300 songs and is the winner of many prestigious awards. Fred believes that Country Music should reflect the concerns and events of society and provide fun and enjoyment for everyone. Fred was raised in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. With a background in composition and performance experience in many musical genres, he has composed over 300 songs showcasing his deep roots in bluegrass and country music. Fred has appeared with Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Trisha Yearwood, Mark Chestnut, Charlie Daniels, Lee Greenwood, and many other notable Country and Western artists. The recipient of many awards, he has been twice named the California Country Music Association's "Male Vocalist of the Year," twice named the CCMA's "Entertainer of the Year," and twice winner of the Golden Music Awards. Fred has also won the GMA Humanitarian Award for his work with "Guitars Not Guns" and his dedication to making a difference in the lives of youths at risk.
"McCarty and Company's dynamic, high energy show gets the crowd going right at the start! Hot arrangements on cover tunes combined with great originals makes them one of the most sought after bands in today's country music circles!" - Ray Nelson, Calif. Country Music News
"Fred McCarty and Company's combination of vocals and excellent musicianship easily qualifies them as Band of the Year. In my opinion this group has everything it takes to reach the highest level in the music industry." - Patricia Dennis, Coordinator, Starfest, Inc.
James "Fingers" Shupe
Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist: raised in a family of 8 fiddlers and trained as a classical violinist at age 5, "Fingers" began his career very young. Studying under Oscar Chuasow, concert Master of the Utah Symphony, Fingers played in both school and community symphonies while also playing popular and trick fiddle music. By age 17 he was touring and recording as a musician throughout the U.S. with nationally known artists, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Ace Cannon, John Mayall, Roy Clark, Dixie Dregs, and Dan Hicks and his Acoustic Warriors. Recording credits include two movies and many recordings. As an instrumentalist, his awards include "Utah State Open Fiddle Contest" three years in a row and the "1990 National Trick & Fancy Fiddle Contest.
Karin Phoenix is a versatile guitarist and singer with years of experience in many styles of music. Karin's infectious enthusiasm and knock-out vocals continue to bring rave reviews from her audiences throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She brings considerable skills from her theatrical and USO touring careers to every show, large or small. Karin's producing and performing credits include diverse theatrical reviews, including tributes to Broadway and film composer Cole Porter and country and western singer Patsy Cline.
Wearing many hats, Karin wrote, directed, acted, and sang in these musicals. “Karin sold out every show with standing room only and was presented with standing ovations from very pleased audiences calling for more. Karin and the band showed outstanding professionalism and poise in what is the most stressful situation entertainers face--theater and all its strict demands.” - Rick Stroup, Technical Director, Bay Shore Lyric Opera
“One of my favorite memories is her participation in the Patsy Cline Concert at Palookaville. Even Clint Eastwood and his future wife Dina Ruiz were present, wearing beaming smiles the whole evening.” - Merry Lou White, Chaminade
Grammy nominated multiplatinum composer Peter Cor brings to his music a multifaceted range of styles, which he has honed over the years through his musical and traveling experiences. Born in Manhattan, a melting pot of cultures which has always been a great influence, living many years in Europe, and traveling to Central America and the Carribean, gives him a worldly vision that can be heard in whatever musical genre he undertakes. Classically trained on the piano, having also studied jazz theory and arrangement for both piano and guitar, and having played with musicians from around the world, gives him the ability to shape his own personal musical idenity, no matter what the style. Credits include composing for "Earth Wind & Fire"s" multiplatinum song "Getaway" as well as for other artists such as guitar great Lee Ritenour, Tuck & Patti, Lenny White, Lakeside, and rapper Cassidy. Movie credits include : "Muppets from Space", "The Sixth Man", "Step Up". TV credits include : "Bernie Mac Show", "Quantum Leap", "Pimp my Ride", and other MTV shows, as well as TV ads for Comcast and other clients. In addotion, PC had written dance performances, theater, documentaries, corporate videos, and multi media presentations. His musical diversity has also come on to play in working with many different artists such as : R&B and Funk legend Rufus Thomas/World renowned saxman Ronnie Laws/ Grammy award winning Tibetan vocalist Yungchen Lhamo / Jazz bass player Charnnett Moffett, who's played with such notables as Wynton Marsalis, McCoyTyner, Mike Stern / drimmer Will Calhoun from the group " Living Colour" and Jazz artists like Pharaoh Sanders, Stanley Jordan / award winning studio sax legend Ernie Watts/ and many other European and African musicians of notoriety.
Shanna Carlson, piano and voice, one of the San Francisco Bay Area's finest song stylists performs at many of the top spots in the Bay Area, including Jazz at Pearl's, Yoshi's, The Plush Room, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, San Francisco, as well as jazz festivals and other concert venues. By the age of thirteen she was already playing piano and organ in church and later sought out pianist and composer-educator Bill Bell, who became her musical mentor. She developed into an accomplished and versatile singer as well as pianist and co-produced her first album "Swing High, Swing Low" with Bell.Â Reviewer Phillip Elwood of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote of her song "Silences," co-written with lyricist Ken McKenzie: "This is a gem, certain to become a standard". Shanna can be found working in diverse contexts from solo pianist to big band vocalist, recording or touring throughout the U.S., England, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Recording credits include several movies and network televisions shows, and she is currently recording and touring with her Jazz Musical "Almost Famous" co-written with vocalist Cathi Walkup. Press credits include ecstatic reviews from JazzTimes, Jazz Link, Down Beat, Los Angeles Weekly, and Jazz Now.
"Shanna Carlson sings songs the way they're supposed to be sung." - Tony Bennett
Frank Lima, a.k.a. Julio Morgani
Ginny Mitchell started her music career in Canada. Ginny took Canada by storm, placing five hits into Canada's top 40 shortly after starting her recording career, which brought her talent to the attention of an entire nation. She recorded in Nashville with her friend and producer, Mark Schatz. The "Wild Rose" cd is a a reflection of Ginny's influences- Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard and Claire Lynch.Mark Schatz called some of his friends in on the sessions : Bela Fleck, Wyatt Rice, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, John Jorgenson and Mark O'Connor. Her style and reputation grew as she traveled between her two homes in the wilds of Western Canada and Northern California. Ginny delivers a charisma emanating straight from the heart. Embraced by her fellow Canadians, the *CCMA dubbed her Best New Artist. In Santa Cruz Ginny met and formed a friendship with Lacy J. Dalton. When Lacy and her husband moved the Virginia City, Nevada they became involved in helping to save a piece of vanishing west...the Comstock wild horses. Lacy formed the Let 'em Run foundation. Since that time Ginny has been helping to promote their cause by raising public awareness of the plight of the women struggling to save the Wild Horses of Storey County, Nevada. Ginny and her husband, Marty Collins are producing broadcast programming for PBS Television, and other broadcast, cable, DVD, CD and worldwide Web markets. This gives the PBS audience and others an opportunity to share in the vision of building a permanent wildlife Sanctuary for the Comstock Wild Horses. You can hear Ginny's efforts on "Girls from Santa Cruz", a cd from the live concert with Lacy J. Dalton and Mary McCaslin.
"Ginny has a style all her own as light as a feather or as charged as dynamite." - Larry Delaney, Editor of Country Music News
Musician/songwriter Penny Hanna performs throughout the San Francisco Bay area as a singer, bassist, and/or reed player with numberous groups, including The Musician's Warehouse Big Band featuring jazz legend Louie Bellson, the Young at Heart Project, Esther's Klezmer Band, and Velzoe and the Upbeats. She has collaborated or performed in theatre productions with Erica Lann-Clark. As a viola da gambist Ms. Hanna currently performs with harpsichordist Katie Clare Mazzeo in concerts and recitals. Awards include first place and Best Female Vocalist in the Austin Music Umbrella Songwriters Competition, a featured performer on KUT's Live Set, and a finalist in the New York Songwriters Showcase and Austin Chronicle Musicians Poll. Her recording credits include an Early Music LP for 1750 Arch Records, the title song to the cult film Hollywood Boulevard (Miracle Pictures), numberous CDs, LPs, and EPs with Dan Del Santo's Professors of Pleasure (Earthworks, Flying Fish) and three albums of her own songs in 1986, 1987 and 1988. Recent recordings include three Jazz Society of Santa Cruz County compellation CDs, and her arranging credits included works for Jazz Birds, the California Gamba Consort, and Sex Chordae Consort of Viols directed by John Dornenburg of Stanford University. Her most recent CD, Topsy Turvey, is with guitarist and jazz chromatic (slide) harmonica player Slide Man Slim.
"She makes great singing seem effortless." - Cindy Campo, Metro Santa Cruz
Multi-instrumentalist (guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, or piano) recording artist, producer, studio musician, and band leader Steve Kritzer's career includes regular main stage performances at the Cork and Belfast Folk Festivals in Ireland, the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee, and the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. An award winning songwriter, he was finalist at both the Kerrville and Napa Valley Folk festivals. Steve is gaining fans worldwide for his incredibly polished yet personal performances, fiery instrumental work, and award winning 'touch your heart' songs. A man of many musics, Kritzer is as comfortable with Celtic and bluegrass music as he is with traditional folk, country, rock, and big band swing, blending these influences with his own ideas and amazingly diverse musical talents. Steve now divides his time between Nashville and California, honing his performing skills, writing with some of Nashville's best writers, and putting his vast instrumental and production skills to use on numerous recording projects for others as well as for his own record label “Swallowtail Music.” He is also gaining a new legion of fans with his 'Young At Heart' shows for the elderly.
"His hands are around his guitar and his arms are around his audience." - Radio KEEN
Contino's music has been described as "Acoustic blues with a touch of zydeco" combined with his unique vocal style, Contino has created a sound unmatched in today's music scene. Pete's childhood instrument was accordion but switched to drums in order to go on the road with his father's band. Performing with his father had a profound effect on Contino. "It created a strong foundation for me musically, not only watching him work a crowd, but also having the chance to interact with him onstage. I still do gigs with him when I can."
While on the road, the young Contino would take his father's accordion back to his hotel room and practice for hours. "We would be in these small towns with nothing to do. I was too young to hang out in bars so I would go back to my hotel room with my dad's accordion, put on my headphones, and play along to music like Tom Waits and Jimi Hendrix. It was fun at the time, I never thought I'd actually make a career out of it."
After years of touring with his father's band, Pete decided to branch out and pursue a career playing accordion full-time. He performed extensively in major hotels along the Las Vegas Strip honing his skills on the accordion.
In 2012 "Contino" signed with Blind Pig records. "We did a couple of tours through the Bay Area and I fell in love with the whole music scene up here. I decided to make Northern California my home"
Pete Contino now lives in Santa Cruz, CA. He continues to tour and perform in the Bay Area.