Multifaceted Music Scene
An Exploration and Celebration of Saint Joseph Musicians
All Original Music on Audio/Video by Stephanie Gummelt
The Saint Joseph music scene is alive. From festivals to events to venues, musicians can easily find opportunities to advance or begin their music career.
Saint Joseph’s local music store, Lanham Music, is the birthplace of many great musicians. Lanham Music has been in business since 1978 and is the only remaining music store in Saint Joseph.
I believe Lanham Music has withstood the test of time because the focus of the store is to create and maintain relationships with musicians both local and in the northwest area.
Lanham Music embraces band programs by providing an affordable rental program and successful lesson program. Over 300 students attend lessons at Lanham Music every week. Lanham’s offers lessons in guitar, piano, voice, ukulele, saxophone, drums, mandolin, banjo, voice, ocarina and other instruments.
Aaron Old is the owner of Lanham Music. He just celebrated his third year of ownership on April 15th of this year. Old’s priority has always been to build relationships with and support local musicians.
Old began lessons at Lanham Music at sixteen and has been employed at Lanham Music for over sixteen years. He was a guitar instructor and salesman. He plays drums, guitar, and does sound recording. He graduated from Missouri Western with a music degree.
One of the programs Old is passionate about is “Rock N’ Roll Camp”. This is a chance for students who take lessons at Lanham’s or young people who already play an instrument to join a band.
For five days in the summer, the students meet with one of the experienced instructors at Lanham Music including Jeff Lux, Aaron Crawford, and Mike Fuson. They name their band, learn two cover songs, and perform live for an audience on the fifth day.
Each year, kids are eager to sign up for this program and parents are grateful for the opportunity for their kids to perform.
Sara Verduzco is one of the teachers at Lanham Music. Sara Verduzco plays in multiple successful bands, including “Money for Nothing”. She is an active musician who plays drums for crowds in venues all over Missouri. She graduated from Missouri Western with a music degree under the instruction of Dennis Rogers.
Verduzco has played music with acts such as Pat Green, Black Jack Billy, and Jim Riley of Rascal Flatts.
Brent Isom has been teaching lessons for over ten years. He plays piano, guitar, and sings. He is well known in the Saint Joseph music scene, playing at wineries, events, and venues.
He teaches piano, guitar, and vocal lessons at Lanham Music with over forty students a week. He graduated from Missouri Western with a music technology degree and is a worship leader at New Harvest Baptist Church in Faucett, MO.
Isom has composed a score for a short film, dozens of original songs, and chamber music.
Tom Keller is an employee and Lanham Music. He also teaches guitar lessons. Keller is an active musician in Saint Joseph, a worship leader, and is in charge of the band rentals at Lanham Music.
Keller graduated with a music technology degree from Missouri Western with his main instrument being saxophone. He is incredibly knowledgable in instrument repair, sound recording, and music theory.
Lanham Music sponsors many events. Whether it is for fundraising, charity, or schools in the area, Lanham’s is happy to donate and support activity in the community.
One of these events is Joestock. Joestock is a yearly festival hosted by the Saint Joseph Music Foundation. The Saint Joseph Music Foundation also conducts the local music station “93.3”. This station plays every genre of music and showcases local musicians.
The Saint Joseph Music Foundation is located in downtown Saint Joseph. Joestock is held at Civic Center Park which is the showcase for many musical events in the summer. Events include Imagine 11 and Sounds of Summer.
Over the past few years, downtown Saint Joseph has become the heart of the music scene. Events such as Music at the Mansion, First Saturdays, and the Beer Walk have livened the atmosphere and attract many people to the beautiful and historic downtown Saint Joseph.
Venues such as Café Acoustic, Unplugged, Paradox Theatre, Felix Street Square, Tiger’s Den, Magoons, The Lucky Tiger, the First Ward House, and Bad Art Bistro are just some of the downtown venues that welcome musicians.
Every week, Café Acoustic and Unplugged provide time slots for up and coming musicians to play music and these events prove successful. These time slots provide the opportunity for building relationships and networking.
Jeff Lux has been playing music for over fifty years. He has studied with teachers from Yale, Berkley, Western Michigan, Oregon State, and Missouri Western.
For two decades, Lux has been working as a musical therapist in the Special Education department of the Atchison School District, teaching lessons at Lanham Music, and performing in both Missouri and Kansas. Jeff has performed music locally and nationally.
Lux has played music with Bob Segar, REO Speedwagon, Shooting Star, Cheap Trick, Shania Twain, Restless Heart, Toby Keith, Confederate Railroad, and Steve Wariner. He has also recorded music with band members of Kansas on CBS records.
Lux has a musical family. He plays music with his sons, Beaux and Sky, in the Lux trio.
Every weekend, people in Saint Joseph have opportunities to see live shows and participate in the liveliness of local music. The Saint Joseph News Press paper provides a schedule of musical events around town for people to help them plan their weekends and promote the local musicians.
First Saturdays are always a highlight on this list. First Saturdays take place on the first Saturday of every month. Musicians are placed in the various venues downtown all day on these Saturdays. The downtown businesses offer food, coffee, and drinks. First Saturdays are a celebration of both artists and venues.
Overall, I have personally witnessed the talent saturating the Saint Joseph music scene. The continuation of becoming aware of opportunities, building relationships, and supporting both the venues and artists of Saint Joseph will surely cause the city to thrive.