Mike Gillespie Visits Pocahontas Schools Ahead of Concert

Before the Mike Gillespie Flute Jazz Quarter hits the Opera House stage Saturday night, he’ll make a stop at a couple of Pocahontas County schools.

“We’re scheduled on Friday morning, the third of November, to be at the high school around 10am,” said Gillespie. “And then we go directly from there to the Green Bank school and will play a mid-day concert at Green Bank.  It’s extra special for me because I do have personal ties to Pocahontas County; both of my parents attended the high school that sat on the grounds where the Green Bank school now resides.”

He spent many a summer in Green Bank before he started performing on a regular basis.

“Great dichotomy for a kid growing up in suburban Washington, D.C. – camp out every night, swim in the creek, and make mischief.”

Like many lured in the by the beauty of Pocahontas, he said he would to live here, but his profession keeps him on the road and in mostly urban settings for his gigs.  And speaking of gigs, lets hear about the other members of the quartet who will join him on stage Saturday night, what he calls his ‘dream team’. First up is guitarist Thomas Kitchen.

“He is a guitarist’s guitarist, classically trained, jazz trained; I don’t know how he keeps up with his performance and teaching schedule, either one of those schedules would be more than I could handle,” said Gillespie. “Plays a whole bunch of instruments and is just a beautiful human being.”

Danny Griffin is on upright and fretless electric bass, and like Mike, began playing in gigs while he was still in high school in New York City.

“And he continues to study music all along, 50 years later.  Meanwhile he has his Ph.d and has had a very successful career in clinical psychology as an author, as an expert witness, as post-doctoral study.  I don’t know how he manages the time, but he has a weekly, regular gig that he runs and makes time to play with us on a constant on-going basis.”

Last, but certainly not least, is drummer James Deshler, from LA, who got to hang out and play with a diverse group of jazz and progressive rock musicians when he was growing up.

“He had a two-year hiatus from drumming when he broke a wrist and during that time he discovered what became another life-long passion for him and that was the study of molecular and cellular biology ultimately leading to a doctorate at UCLA [and] post doctorate study at Harvard medical school.”

When Dr. Deshler is not drumming, he’s serving as Deputy Director for the National Science Foundation.   Clearly, this is a quartet to whom education is just as important as performing.

You can all four talented musicians Saturday night at the Pocahontas Opera House in Marlinton at 7:30pm.  Tickets are available at the 4th Avenue Art Gallery and at the door Saturday night.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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