Our Non-Profit, SJMEP.org is hosting a masterclass in Turnersville, NJ. Featuring Brian Betz and Denis DiBlasio. We can’t wait to see these guys in action – for just $10 you can attend a Masterclass with Brian Betz on guitar in an intimate venue where every seat is great AND a concert afterwards with the Brian Betz Quartet featuring Denis DiBlasio. The best jazz greats – straight from Philly! If it’s anything like the Pinelands Jazz Festival last year, – you are in for a treat. Seating is limited, so click here for tickets…
M-Town is right in there with the 2015 holiday gigs! We played the Dicken’s Festival again and featured something brand new – The SJMEP Youth Jazz Orchestra! This 14 piece big band is made up of Student Musicais from 6th grade up to College-aged students. They worked really hard and they were great. We still have a couple more gigs coming up on December 11th & December 21st. The 21st is a fundraiser @ PJ Whelihan’s in Medford, NJ – Print out this flyer and bring it with you! celebrate the season with some great jazzed up standards and mash-ups and help out a good cause.
M-Town played the Second Annual Pinelands Jazz Festival! We were honored to share the stage with many great bands – 9 in all. This Jazz Festival is hosted at Camp Ockanickon in Medford, NJ and raises Music Education Awareness and funds for the South Jersey Music Education Partnership (SJMEP.org). If you were not able to make it – that’s OK, we hear that it’s going on again next year! We played the festival with:
- Yellow 11
- Brian Betz Quartet feat. Denis DeBlasio
- Kelli Campbell Quartet
- Katie Eagleson w/Lennie Pierro Quartet
- Paula Johns Trio
- Dave Dzubinski Trio
- Eric Mintel Quartet and
It was an amazing Saturday for all. Did you know that the event was expanded this year to include a Night in Paris @ Braddock’s Tavern – a 1930’s Speak Easy complete with The Hot Club of Philadelphia playing Gypsy Jazz Open bar & french-inspired cuisine? Also a Jazz Vespers Service and Jazz Brunch on Sunday @ Camp Ockanickon. What a great time!
Would you like to know more about our upcoming Gigs?
We are in the Burlington County Times!
M-Town made more ‘ink’! We are featured in the local section of the Burlington County Times’ website. We attended the concert yesterday that (all of our) kids put on – and it was great. And having parents come up to us and say how their kids’ self-confidence has soared, just made us feel that much happier that we are doing the right thing (is anyone from the school system taking notes??) The plan is (still) to keep up our efforts and help more kids in the area so they can discover music and express themselves positively. If you agree, please consider making a $20 donation and receive our double CD. It features students as well as 4 original songs. And ALL OF THE DONATIONS GO TO FUNDING MUSIC EDUCATION…True.
South Jersey Magazine August, 2013
M-Town made ink! We are featured in the People + News segment in South Jersey Magazine’s August 2013 edition. We are happy and proud to be serving the area and making a difference for the better. The plan is to keep up our effort and help more kids in the area so they can discover music and express themselves positively. If you agree, please consider making a $20 donation and receive our double CD. It features students as well as 4 original songs. And ALL OF THE DONATIONS GO TO FUNDING MUSIC EDUCATION…True.
- To raise awareness of the importance of music education in our schools.
- To provide an opportunity for young people in the South Jersey area to have an opportunity to improve their jazz improv. skills in a combo setting.
- To raise funds through donations to support music education in our schools and local area.
If you would like to play at a future concert or would like to learn more about how you can help us support our mission, please visit our contact page.
Meet ‘da Band
Dave Ahern – Sax
Dave started playing the sax in the fifth grade as part of the music education program in the Mount Laurel schools. Dave got into jazz while at Lenape High School where he played in the jazz ensemble for four years.
While attending Duke University, Dave played the sax in the marching band and wind symphony. While studying physics, Dave took a number of courses in music theory and music history.
After living in North Carolina and Virginia for 16 years, Dave recently moved back to Mount Laurel with his wife Lisa and two kids, Katie (3) and Jack (8 months). For his day job, Dave is an IT Consultant with specialization in Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing. For fun, Dave has recently started running and is an avid Duke basketball fan.
Howard Garonzik – Alto Sax
Siobhan DiBenedetto – Vocals
A great addition to M-Town, Siobhan has been singing with us since 2011 and has expanded our song book with her singing talents. She is also an integral part of the South Jersey Music Education Partnership.
A native of NJ, Siobhan has been a professional musician since the early 1980’s. She started her singing career at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park where she toured as a background vocalist for musician & song writer Glenn Burtnik, former bass player & member of the rock group “Styx”. Always helping out the community with her many talents – she formed, produced, directed and performed in “The New Voice Choir” in Dec. of 2010 to raise funds to save the Elementary Instrumental Music program in Medford Schools. She completed a sold-out run as Mary Magdalene in the MSZ production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in Rochester, NY. Siobhan sang for cover and original bands in and around the Jersey Shore club scene. (LaBamba & the Hubcaps, Into the Blue, (Harry & Joel), Manville, Lost Weekend). She also manages a small Entertainment business, Diva Productions and plays in other music groups, Krash Course and Good 2 Go. Siobhan has been married for 22 years & has two sons age 31 and 12.
Charlie Megules – Trumpet/Flugelhorn
Charlie teaches music at New Egypt Middle School and Bucks County College. When he gets a spare couple of minutes, he plays with MTown. He is also a great mentor to the kids that sit-in with us – giving them music practicing tips and ideas
Dave Bermingham – Guitar
Dave Bermingham picked up his older brother’s guitar at the age of 8 and seemingly has not put it down since then. At Overbrook High School in Pine Hill, NJ, Dave did double duty on guitar and trombone in just about every ensemble from jazz band to marching band. He was honored to play guitar in the All State “Super-Sax” unit his senior year as well as the South Jersey Jazz ensemble during his junior and senior years. While in high school Dave was also privileged to play in the Settlement Music School jazz sextet with future jazz greats Christian McBride and Joey DeFrancesco.
Dave went on to graduate from Temple University with a degree in jazz guitar performance where he studied with local jazz luminaries Larry McKenna, Dennis DiBlasio and Tom Giacabetti among others. After college Dave went on to play guitar for many bands including the Joe Luca Orchestra and Cornerstone. Today Dave is a Microsoft MVP and makes his living in
technology, while at night his he turns into jazz guitar stylist “Duke Silver”; just kidding, he still goes by the name of Dave but he imagines himself as Duke Silver of Parks and Recreation fame.
Dave lives in Medford with his wife Mona and three awesome kids, Dave, Brendan and Madison, plus two dogs, cat, bunny, hamster and two fire belly toads. Dave hopes to pass on the gift of music to his children and plans to have a steady Friday night jazz trio gig at an Italian restaurant in Venice when he retires from his day job someday.
Link Hansen – Piano
Growing up in Linwood (Atlantic County), Link wanted piano & organ lessons beginning at age 8. The organ teacher insisted he learn basic chord construction, up through 7ths. That was a godsend! While other kids were playing in marching bands, Link was playing in bands that were hired for school dances, and getting his first experiences in preparing and recording original material.
Link went on to graduate from University of Pennsylvania, where he played in rock bands with Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian. His main instrument had become electric bass / string bass, which seemed only a slight shift, since the bass line is always critical to keyboard players anyway. As a student activity, he ran a “Blue Genesis” jazz radio show at WXPN-FM. He had music theory and history aplenty, both at Penn and in the UCLA graduate program.
Ah, yes, there was a California Dreamin’ period! While in Los Angeles, he pursued commercial success in music, with songwriting, singing, bass playing and recording skills. As a day/night job, he had the good fortune to play hundreds of casuals with the busy band leader David Kamenir, where he met musicians like Gordon Goodwin, Grant Geissman, Ted Nash, Brian Miller and innumerable others. For one summer, he was in the Aspen Jazz Rock Ensemble. He landed some notable gigs, best example being a summer tour with Peter Tork of the Monkees. But the more he pursued a well-paying situation, the more he began to think he was destined to play music for the love of it, not for the compensation of it.
He returned to South Jersey and to family businesses in the ‘80s, along with Mary, a California girl. The more their family grew, the more difficult it became to play gigs, with their travel and late hours. He reverted to playing solo most of the time. The solution – switch back to the piano as the primary instrument! And this is what brought him to M-Town Jazz Jam, and to the Prince of Peace Gospel Choir, in Marlton, NJ, as accompanist, for an average of one or two performances per month. He appreciates the quality of life and music that is available in our M-Towns!
His three eldest children have all had deep exposure to music through private instruction, school and church music programs. But the disappearance of band in our elementary school has been a big disappointment to his youngest, and accounts for much of his motivation in supporting the music-advocacy mission of M-Town Jazz Jam.
Dale Storer – Bass
At Northern Burlington Regional Jr. High, he began studying under John Linder, also learning tuba. “Mr. Lindner had me playing tuba for 1 1/2 years before I even looked at a bass! But I appreciate his ‘mentoring foresight’, since I know both instruments well.” Dale made All-South Jersey Concert band and All-South Jersey Jazz ensemble in 8-9th grades. He also played for 6 years in Marching band, Jazz band and in the orchestra pit for school musicals – which is a tradition that continues to this day. He has since played in various rock, metal, pop bands and orchestra pits.
Dale works as a 3d Designer in South Jersey. He lives in Medford with his wife Edie, two children. Dale also does Art, Design, 3d Animation and Children’s Book Illustration in what little spare time is left in the day.
JJ Lazos – Drums
John Lazos, or JJ as everyone knows him by, is a young drummer who will be graduating from Shawnee High School in June of 2014. He has been playing drums ever since he was a little boy and has already started to make a career in music for himself. He may be young yet, but JJ has a lot of music experience in all forms of music. Aside from M-town, JJ is the drummer for the Shawnee Jazz Big Band Ensemble,
Shawnee Jazz Combo, Wiley Church Praise Band, numerous jazz combos and musical/drama productions in the South Jersey area, and also for a maturing rock band called The Missing Piece. He has also made honors bands for drumming such as the All South Jersey Middle School Honors Jazz Big Band, the All South Jersey High School Honors Jazz Big Band many times, and came in a close third place for the All New Jersey Honors High School Big Band. When JJ isn’t gigging or practicing, he can be found giving drum lessons from his home or taking lessons with his private teacher in Cherry Hill.
JJ plans to do cruise ship entertainment out of college where he will graduate with a Business Degree. His extended plan after cruise ship entertainment is to be a New Jersey State Trooper where he can defend and help our beautiful state of New Jersey. On the side he will of course be found behind his kit giving lessons and gigging on weekends.