Oley's Clay on Main jams around the world in celebration of World Music Day

Photo by Roxanne Richardson Suzanne Fellows, Reading, jamming with Bill Oswald, Oley.
Left to right, front row, Suzanne Fellows, Reading artist and musician, Dolores Kirchner, director. Left to right, back row, Bonnie Wren, Oley, co-op member, and Kirchner’s 14 year-old daughter, Rachael.

For its second year in a row, Clay on Main celebrated World Music Day with friends and family from local and neighboring communities. People brought their ukuleles, guitars, and violins for a grassroots music jamboree. There was also a potluck meal of dishes with international roots such as quinoa salad, mango guacamole, yogurt cheese, corn pudding, potato pierogis, and Moroccan carrots.

Fete de la Musique, aka World Music Day, originated in France in 1982. According to musicday.org.uk, free and public events were held June 21, their mid-summer solstice, in over 726 cities around the world including Oley.

Although known as an art studio, Clay on Main also supports music under the name, The Half Moon. Sessions held in the fall and spring give the community a chance to jam and socialize.

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“We have a lot of members who are musicians,” said Dolores Kirchner, director. “Last year, WXPN brought it [World Music Day] to Philadelphia and I said we should, like, start doing that—the solstice, music, music and art, the whole thing. It just seemed like something our members would really like.”

Bonnie Wren, Oley, a co-op member and long-time potter, is also a musician and had compiled three CD’s of musicians from the Oley area.

“We like to get together to jam,” said Wren. “You never know who’s going to show up.”

Suzanne Fellows, Reading, said, “There’s like a connectedness between the two, the musicians and the artists, from here to Reading to Boyertown.”

Fellows joined World Music Day’s jam session on her banjolele. She said music opens up her heart. Fellows is also a painter and printmaker and uses her skills for a heart-felt project, 99 elephants a day. She is printing 99 painted elephants each day to help fund rescue operations by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. You can follow her work on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/99-Elephants-a-Day/411328062303168.

Rachael Kirchner, 14, helps her mom out around the studio and loves to hang with her friends there. She thinks of the studio as an art church.

“All of my friends like to make art and even the ones that don’t just want to come here,” said Rachael.

Rachael said all of her friends, come to the Half Moon, the workshops, and the classes. She said they enjoy it because everyone is like a family; it’s like a church where people know you.

“It’s always amazing to me when we have an event like this and people come in who haven’t been here before and they’re just speechless because they didn’t know Main Street Oley had this,” said Wren.

Bill Oswald, Oley, said there’s a pretty good music community in the Oley Valley and after having played with professionals, enjoys being able to pull out his ukulele and just jam with friends.

“Whenever people come to an event like this, nine times out of ten, most of the people want to get involved in some way because it’s the niche they’re looking for,” said Kirschner.

Kirschner also added that people look for a community of people who maybe think the way they do whether it’s art or music. She is hoping to make World Music Day 2015 a bigger event and to get kids involved.

Clay on Main, a non-profit organization, sponsors a variety of events for the community and schools and is run by an all-volunteer staff. Kerschner would love to see new programs develop such as internships with local colleges, increase hours and gallery showings, expand the workshops to include a variety of art medium such as felting, painting, jewelry making, etc., and allow for other artists to come in and use the space.

“I’d like to see it grow organically. I think that’s how art grows best, grass roots, organically. When you have your artists interested, they’ll make it happen,” said Kerschner.

Kerschner said events free and open to the public, like World Music Day, help to get people involved and learn what the studio is about. The next event planned is an Ice Cream Social. For more information, go to http://www.clayonmain.org. If you would like to help support Clay on Main, send email to studio@clayonmain.org. Like many other funded programs, Clay on Main’s support from Pennsylvania Council on the Arts had been cut by approximately 75 percent.