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LO Slow Jam, RMC Studios to help senior citizens strike up a band

by: CLIFF NEWELL - The technique of fiddler Beta Anderson is admired by Nicole Anderson, left, and Dianna Hnatiw of RMC Studios. They are bringing a new music program to the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.Jan Wirtz decided that something was missing at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center: music.

Of course, recorded tunes from the good old days are always floating through the air. And ukulele lessons are offered.

No disrespect to ukuleles, but Wirtz, recreation superintendent for the city of Lake Oswego, wanted a whole lot more. Luckily, just the right people arrived on the scene to help her. People like Beta Anderson, fiddler and member of the Old Time Fiddlers Association of Oregon, and Dianna Hnatiw and Nicole Anderson of RMC Studios. Thanks to them, the ACC will soon be a happening music scene.

“Timing is everything,” said Wirtz, who has inspired programs for youths and gardeners in Lake Oswego. “When experts and volunteers come together it’s a beautiful thing. We’re going to have all kinds of instruments: fiddles, guitars, banjos, pennywhistles, flutes, recorders. Maybe even accordions.”

Beta Anderson is a big motivator for the new program. She lives just a couple of blocks from the ACC, and she made calls to Wirtz to suggest a start-up musical program. Most of all she is a musician herself.

“We’re going to call this the LO Slow Jam,” Anderson said. “I’m going to bring some of my fiddling cronies around and we’ll start a beginners group. I think it will get a lot of interest.”

Anderson will use the fiddlers songbook, “A Health to the Company,” and she will have access to many old-time and Irish tunes.

“It’s not going to be a performance,” Anderson said. “We’ll keep it simple to get started. We can grow into a performance.”

RMC Studios will give instruction in many aspects of music, including playing instruments and song writing. Hnatiw (drums) and Nicole Anderson (voice) will be joined by their musical sidekicks Jeff Evans (accordion) and Jerry Nelson (guitar) in offering both classes and private lessons.

They will also perform at the upcoming holiday gift workshops sponsored by the city.

“I saw a need for this in Lake Oswego,” Wirtz said. “We only had ukulele lessons at the ACC. It’s time to expand.”

Just as Wirtz was launching her idea, she received a call from a man eager to get into a jam session.

“I told him, ‘Hey!’” Wirtz said.

Obviously, a hoedown is in the ACC’s future. Maybe even a great Northwestern stomp.

RMC has just started lessons twice a week at the ACC. The LO Slow Jam will start in January.

For more information about the ACC’s new musical program, call Wirtz at 503-675-2546 or go to the website ci.oswego.or.us/parksrec. For more about RMC Studios, call 503-675-2549 or go to the website rmcstudiosportland.com.

Cliff Newell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 105.

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