John Terlazzo coming to Eicher

By on July 8, 2015
John Terlazzo (left) and Voices in the Hall will perform at Eicher Arts Center on July 12.

John Terlazzo (left) and Voices in the Hall will perform at Eicher Arts Center on July 12.

John Terlazzo is not an artist. At least, not in the way that contemporary pop culture uses (or misuses) the term.

“They call Brittany Spears an artist. She’s not an artist, she’s a corporate construct. Her childhood was taken from her by a business model. That’s not art, that’s commodity, and there’s a dramatic difference. What happened to her and others like her is tragic.” Terlazzo explains.

The truth is that John has been aspiring to art for as long as he can remember.

John’s mother was a painter and he began painting and drawing before the age of five. His love of the arts expanded to include music and, by the age of 10, he was the lead vocalist of the garage band Conspiracy. The band was made up of boys three to six years older than he, and covered the popular rock of the time, including the Beatles and the Doors. Terlazzo laughingly recalls he and his band-mates having such stage fright at their first paying gig, that they taped cardboard to the inside of their sunglasses, so that they wouldn’t have to see the crowd.

“The audience just thought that we were maybe blind, as we had to be stumbling about with that cardboard in our glasses,” Terlazzo recalls.

By the age of 15, Terlazzo had discovered the music of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and had begun writing his own songs. From writing song lyrics, it was a natural progression to writing poetry and prose. As John discovered new outlets for his creative energies, he never lost passion for the previous ones; and the inspiration that he drew from the icons of one art form informed the work that he was creating in another. He immersed himself in any art that he found to be profound and true, drawing particular inspiration from the works of Walt Whitman, Henri Matisse, Henri Rousseau, and William Blake.

It became clear to John at an early age that there just wasn’t anything else that he wanted to do with his life. And it was a life that he decided that he wanted to share with other artists. A short (and greatly abbreviated) list of his accomplishments include co-founding the York Poet’s Union, publishing several books of poetry, releasing seven albums of original music with his band Voices In The Hall, and performing concerts and holding writing workshops throughout North America and Europe. In addition, he organizes the annual Kiwanis Lake Be-In Music Festival and regularly holds a writer’s retreat entitled “The Flame In Every Hand: Writing As A Contemplative Act.”

When asked what the audience can expect from his upcoming performance at the Eicher Arts Center with Voices In The Hall, Terlazzo promises a genuine experience.

“I am enormously fortunate to be singing with two of the finest, most sensitive musicians you’ll find anywhere — Kristina Machusick on vocals, flute and recorders, and Paul Wegmann on vocals and lead guitar,” said Terlazzo.

Terlazzo himself sings and plays guitar and the Indian harmonium, a kind of wind-powered, wooden keyboard instrument that sounds something like an old pump organ.

“People often take describing oneself as an artist to be an arrogant thing,” said Terlazzo. “It’s not arrogant, because we all have it within us.”

John explains that the source of true art comes from looking inward and the best art encourages the listener/reader/viewer to do the same. He hopes that audience members leave the show feeling empowered to express themselves through their own art, whatever that may be.

For more information about John Terlazzo and Voices in The Hall, and their upcoming free show at the Eicher Arts Center on Sunday, July 12, at 2 p.m., visit johnterlazzo.com, the Eicher Facebook page, or call 733-4442. Eicher Arts Center is located at 409 Cocalico St., Ephrata.

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