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September 30, 2014
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Playing with the ether; Theremin performance heading to Honesdale

Thereminist Jason Smeltzer, left, will be joined by pianist Wayne Smith for the performance.
Contributed photo by Janelle Rought


After re-emerging, Smeltzer has been performing on and demonstrating the theremin. Raised on an organic farm in Harford, PA, Smeltzer now resides in Scranton where he repairs musical instruments at Cliff Girard Music. One of the few American masters of the theremin, Smeltzer has received several arts grants from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts. In collaboration with illustrator Ted Michalowski, he performs every summer in Poland.

During the Honesdale performance, Smeltzer will be joined by pianist, improviser and composer Wayne Smith. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Smith grew up in Westfield, NJ. He has appeared recently as a featured guest on WVIA public radio and has performed in Korea and Japan. A resident of Pennsylvania since 2004, Smith’s performances can be heard on both LP and CD recordings.

The Honesdale performance may feature classical music, Middle Eastern dance music, R&B and Jazz Fusion, with a heavy dash of improvisation that could lead anywhere. “You never know exactly what will happen,” said Smeltzer, whose mischievous approach is sure to make for a fun, family-friendly event. “It’s an eccentric instrument,” he added. “One of the challenges is how to make it accessible.”

A critically acclaimed documentary film “Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey,” was released in 1994, prompting a renewed interest in the instrument. “Imagine one performing in our sacred space,” wrote Father Edward Erb to parishioners about the upcoming performance. For more information, call 570/253-2760.