Friday, December 19, 2014

A Funn House Becomes a Home

On an unseasonably warm evening, an uncommonly hospitable home in Stroudsburg, PA opened its doors on Tuesday December 16th to music lovers who eagerly walked through its thresholds to partake of the loving atmosphere and the sounds the residence would produce throughout the night. The home was that of Eric Funn and the music to be performed was shared by guitarists Spencer Kellum (aka The Loneliness Monk), George Pettis (aka The 100 Watt Horse), and Theomar Chakey Francois (aka Sunny Shading). The sizable gathering shared in the congenial conversation the welcoming mood of the abode inspired as well as in the delicious victuals that were made available for consumption. The later was especially true of the homemade Vegetable soup which garnered many praise worthy exclamations.

The evening began as Spencer Kellum leaped into his performance with a song that captivated the senses through the depth of its lyrics and the haunting qualities of his instrumentations. The songs that followed ranged from those that inspired thoughtful contemplation to those entreating members of the audience to engage in childlike dancing accompanied by the additional beats found in the clapping of hands. Spencer Kellum is from Memphis, TN and has recorded several CDs including one titled, “Transmutation.” You can learn more about Spencer Kellum and his music at

A break ensued after the performance given by Mr. Kellum which allowed many to be replenished by the cuisine as well as by the conversations the music inspired. A thoughtful delight mingled with the words that were embellished by the taste of the morsels that were digested. The stimulating yet relaxing intercourse came to its conclusion as the next performance of the evening began to take its place in the living room.

George Pettis took his solitary spot before a waiting audience with his guitar in hand. He began his set by gently mesmerizing the gathering with a homegrown melody that possessed the ability to linger in one's thoughts long after its brief visit trailed off into the collective memories of the gathering from which it was born. This and the subsequent songs held a soothing quality about them that resembled the dreams one dreams when a restless sleep begs for peaceful slumber so the fullness of the nocturnal wanderings can be absorbed. The soft renditions of each song drew the listener closer to its essence which made it all the more connected with the soul who heard it. George Pettis is from Atlanta, GA and has recorded several CDs including one titled, “The 100 Watt Horse.” You can learn more about George Pettis and his music at

As the echo of the music Mr. Pettis performed slowly dissipated throughout the room, a brief but satisfying break ensued. This respite was followed by the appearance of a local musician that had become a favorite among many members of the audience through his numerous appearances at The Sherman Theater's Living Room during their Open Mic Nights and other events in which quality music is presented. A momentum grew in each anticipatory breath as the musician began to take his place upon the stage and made the final tuning preparations on his guitar.

Theomar Chakey Francois moved the gathering with the very first notes he strummed along with the initial words he uttered from the song he began with. They flowed from his being like a breath of fresh air that refreshed every soul they touched. Stories relating to many of the songs were shared which enhanced their depth and allowed their histories to be embraced by similar pasts found in each audience member. Mr. Francois ended his set and the evening's concert with a joyful tune in which many happily dooted along to. Theomar Chakey Francois is from Bushkill, PA and has recorded several CDs including one titled, “Lorelei.” You can learn more about Sunny Shading and his music at

The evening proved to be a wonderful one filled with great music and even greater company. The conclusion of the concert left many reluctant to leave the Funn abode as it had become their home in what seemed a very short amount of time they were there. But, the road magnified its call to many of them and they ventured out with the reassuring hope there will be many such musical offerings as the new year of 2015 progresses. You'll be able to view the photographs taken during the concert at The December 16th Funn House Concert Gallery at You'll also be able to view concerts presented at other homes throughout the year in our House Music 2014 Archives at as well as events related to the performing arts throughout 2014 in our Archive at

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Music and Trains Makes a Winter Festive

The EastBurg Community Alliance held their Annual Winter Fest at The Historic Dansbury Depot in East Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday December13th.A modest gathering of local citizens shared in the activities presented outside the depot while a larger number explored the offerings presented within the structure. This was due partly to the brisk weather conditions indicative to this time of the year in the northeast PA region in which the festival took place but there was also a fascination within the building that lured many of the festival goers to its magical properties.

These properties were embodied primarily in the Model Train display presented by The PMMRRC which is a local railroad club whose members share their enthusiasm of the mode of transportation with one another by comparing personal collections and the insights they inspire while playfully running them on the club’s tracks. The tracks displayed at the Winter Fest were lovingly laid upon the landscape of a child’s imagination with trains filled with dreams making whistle stops at every station of the human heart. It was a delight to witness the illumination of eyes that were ignited every time the trains circled in the vicinity of the children who were present and whose ages varied from 5 to 75.

Along with The PMMRRC’s Model Train display, there were a number of activities within the depot that had their own ability to entertain its visitors. These included arts and crafts which children were invited to lend their creativity to construct, an opportunity to have one’s photograph taken with Santa’s elves, information about The EastBurg Community Alliance and its endeavors as well as those of other community organizations was available, and tickets were on sale for the event’s “Silent Night” Auction, for rides upon a horse drawn carriage, and upon a train that stood patiently outside the depot. The offerings and opportunities presented throughout the building intrigued those who explored them and added a level of pleasure to the festivities.

Although the chilled temperatures inspired many to seek the warmth provided in an interior dwelling, there was much to be experienced upon the grounds of the structure. These included choral performances of holiday music presented by Susan McCool and Friends and The New Approach Singers as well as by choirs composed of students attending local schools, craft displays presented by CJ’s Crafting Corner,Lucky Me Jewelry, and Mountain Dog Candles, hot dogs skillfully cooked by the depot’s volunteers, and tours of the depot’s switch tower provided by The East Stroudsburg Railroad Tower Society The offerings of deftly created crafts, culinary treats, and insightful explorations of the past all enhanced the day’s festivities but the gentle blending of voices inspired a song to be sung within the hearts of all who braved the chilled weather to hear its warmth.

The festival was scheduled to end with a Tree Lighting Ceremony which I wasn’t able to attend but, by accounts shared with me by those who were present during previous occasions, it was sure to had been an uplifting experience to commence the holiday season. Although I was unable to attend the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, I can say the portion of the festival I did attend and the experiences I encountered were very pleasant ones and left a feeling of delight that continues to linger within me. You’ll find more photographs taken during The EastBurg Community Alliance’s Annual Winter Fest at

The Eastburg Community Alliance was established over 30 years ago by local leaders and business owners and is funded through a combination of local grants, direct fund raising, memberships, and local contributions. Besides their Annual Winter Fest, The EastBurg Community Alliance will Celebrate The Historic Dansbury Depot’s Opening on Wednesday December 17thand hold a Santa Train on Saturday December 20thin cooperation with the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society. You’ll be able to learn more about The Eastburg Community Alliance and what they offer to the community by visiting their Facebook Page at

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.