A Musicians Walk

Photo by Rob Lettieri

By Allison Mowatt

When someone has musical talent running through their veins, it shows in everything they do.  This is true of many people in all genres of music throughout the world.  It also applies to many of our local, talented musicians.  John Curtin is one of those people.

The Milford resident hails from New York City, where he learned at an early age that music would play a vital part in his life.  “When I was a kid growing up in the Bronx, I discovered the guitar,” said John.  “My first guitar teacher taught me to read music and I fell in love with it.”  John continued taking lessons, honing his talent over the years.

Back in college, John planned on being a music teacher and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  He didn’t find himself teaching students in a classroom, though.  John was hired at Warner Brothers Publications as a proofreader, which eventually led to bigger and better things.  Soon he was promoted to Music Arranger and developed an extensive background there arranging sheet music.  He spent three years on staff there and then went out on his own as a Music Arranger, producing music for TV and radio commercials.

John moved to the Milford area about twenty years ago.  “While I was in college, I had friends who had a place in the area and I would visit on weekends.  We would canoe on the river, and I was captivated by the river and mountains.”

Locally, John demonstrates his music arranging ability at the Woodloch Pines Resort, where he’s been Music Director for their big theme shows since 2002.  Written and produced by Joey Casella, each year Woodloch presents a new theme show in their 700-seat theater.  They debut the show around the New Year and run it twice a week for the entire year.  John starts arranging the music in June then heads to the recording studio in November.  The cast rehearses the new show through December then the cycle starts over again.

In addition, John plays guitar and sings locally at many favorite hotels, bars, restaurants and inn,s either solo or as part of a group.  According to John, about 75% of what he does is solo work.   “I’ve had a lifelong love affair with the guitar, and I’m blessed to be able to play it for a living.”

When he plays in bars, he usually performs classic and modern rock tunes and can be seen at local haunts like Cora’s 1850 Bistro and Gresham’s Chop House.

Jazz is also one of his favorite genres.  John founded the Gypsy Jazz Quintet in 2006 as a musical tribute to the 1930s “hot club” jazz of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.

Last year, his Gypsy Jazz Quintet performed at the COTA Jazz Festival, the Milford Music Festival, Honesdale’s Roots and Rhythm, and the Wayne Country Creative Arts Councils’ Summer in the Park series.

Being a musician of his caliber allows John to meet and play with some pretty interesting people.  He plays often with Shawn Klush, who is crowned the “world’s greatest Elvis Presley tribute artist,” and Terri Dixon, who is a former Broadway performer specializing in Patsy Cline’s music.  While he works with Shawn, John actually gets to play with Elvis’s original drummer and bass player.  “It’s a treat to be able to play with the people who invented Rock ‘n’ Roll,” said John. He is also Terri’s Music Director, and their Patsy Cline show has been very well received here.  “Until I started working with Terri Dixon, I never knew how much people love Patsy Cline.  Local reaction to Terri’s Patsy Cline show is amazing.”

On top of everything else he does, John still does freelance work for Warner Brothers (now Alfred Publications.)  He enjoys all aspects of music, from arranging shows to playing live, and he isn’t slowing down anytime soon.  Take a look at his summer schedule and check out his music for yourself this summer, if you haven’t already.

John Curtin Summer Music Schedule:

June 5th- Noon to 2 p.m. for a Jazz Brunch at Hotel Fauchere, 401 Broad Street, Milford.

June 7th- 7 to 10 p.m. at Bar Louis at Hotel Fauchere.

June 11th- 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Cora’s 1850 Bistro, Hawley.

June 18th- 2 to 5 p.m. at Hotel Fauchere during the Milford Music Festival.  John will perform with the Gypsy Jazz Quintet.

June 18th- 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Gresham’s Chop House on Lake Wallenpaupack.

June 19th- Noon to 2 p.m. at for a Jazz Brunch at Hotel Fauchere.

June 21st- 7 to 10 p.m. at Bar Louis at Hotel Fauchere.

June 22nd- 8 p.m. at the Northeast Fair in Pittston with Shawn Klush and the Ultimate Elvis Presley Tribute Band.

June 30th- 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Honesdale’s Central Park with the Gypsy Jazz Quintet

July 23rd- 8 p.m. at Mt. Haven Resort in Milford with Terri Dixon’s Patsy Cline show.

July 30th- 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Cora’s 1850 Bistro.

Aug 6th- 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the Beach Lake Inn on Milanville Road in Beach Lake.

Aug 19th- 8 p.m. at the Westbury Music Fair in Westbury, New York with Shawn Klush & The Ultimate Elvis Presley Tribute Band.

Aug 20th- 8 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT with Shawn Klush & The Ultimate Elvis Presley Tribute Band.

Aug 21st- 8 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville with Shawn Klush & The Ultimate Elvis Presley Tribute Band.

Aug 27th- 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Cora’s 1850 Bistro.

*In July and August, John will play the Jazz Brunch at Hotel Fauchere every other Sunday and play solo at Bar Louis every other Tuesday.

*For updated performance schedules visit www.johncurtin.com.

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