LHU student band dabbles in multiple styles of music

By Kyra Smith-Cullen in Arts & Entertainment

September 22, 2011

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Chris Markle/Eagle Eye

Portraits by Candle Light is a local band that dabbles in multiple styles of music: heavy metal, rock, jazz, blues, flamenco, classical music, and folk, said guitarist and Lock Haven University alumni, Mike Harrison, who graduated Lock Haven 2011 with a degree in Music Education.

The band is made up of former and current LHU students, all of which met each other while studying at the university, said Kristin Ieraci, the band’s drummer and percussionist. Ieraci is a senior majoring in Spanish and International studies.

Other members of Portraits by Candle Light include Jessica Rossman-Walizer (junior- Music Education), who plays the keyboard and piano, and Chuck Bungo (LHU graduate ’09 – Music), the bassist and vocalist.

It is apparent of the band’s personality throughout their album, “The Gorton’s Fisherman from Hell .” Their quirky side is particularly showcased by ridiculous sound effects and strange humor, like on the track titled “Shits and Giggles,” and the peculiar dialogues on “Spaghetti and a Steak,” which features vocals by other Lock Haven students, James Vesey and Whitney Pirnik.

Their personality doesn’t stop with recordings of crude noises and obnoxious laughter; just note their album name and the album cover.

“The Gorton’s Fisherman from Hell” and its cover art is a lovely depiction of the Gorton’s Fisherman and his shenanigans, drawn by Ieraci’s friend, Tyler Becker, of Full Sail University in Florida.

The album name is stemmed from Harrison’s days as a grocery store employee.

“I had to stock the sea food section one night,” Harrison explains. “I was freezing and I was surrounded by the Gorton Fisherman. I remembered this episode from Mythbusters, which coined the phrase ‘The Gorton’s Fisherman from Hell,’ and it stuck with me ever since.”

To back up their personality, Portraits by Candlelight also have the talent, according to a famed guitarist, Michael Angelo Batio, who gave the band a good review when he was visiting Lock Haven recently.

Batio is someone Harrison has looked up to since he was a kid, he said, so it was a great shock when they received the review. Batio is known as one of the greatest metal guitarists of all time, though he’s known to encompass many different genres in his playing.

The band is currently working on their second album, “London After Midnight,” and interestingly enough, the album named was the first thing that was thought of, Ieraci said. “It’s named after a silent film from the 1920s that apparently got lost and there are no copies,” Harrison said.

In the past, the band has performed on campus for Harrison’s Senior Recital last year and at Avenue 209 Coffee House, but is hoping to play more shows locally soon.

“Overall, being in a band is all about what you enjoy playing- it doesn’t matter if you think people will like it or not,” Ieraci said. Harrison added, “Just play what you love.”

For more information and samples of Portraits by Candlelight, visit their Facebook page.

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Posted in: A&E

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