Band Playing
Hiring a Band in Raleigh, North Carolina
Bands for hire in the NC triangle have plenty to offer to crowds of varied tastes. Whether one is looking for a wedding singer, a party band, or something for a corporate shindig, Raleigh has mercenary musicians for any event. If you want to hire a band in Raleigh North Carolina, here are some of the top choices on offer.

For the rock category, two bands can expect to carry the title. Aftershock, featuring four solid vocalists led by Gary Frost of Milford, CT, is the band of choice to keep a party going. Aftershock plays mostly covers from the 70s and 80s, but they have plenty of newer music in their expansive catalogue. From Van Halen to Daughtry, Aftershock’s versatile rock sound is sure to win the crowd. Next up in rock is Rockzilla, featuring an even broader playlist than Aftershock. Rockzilla mixes pop in with their rock, including tunes from Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga and many more. This band’s magic plays out on the dance floor; partygoers are most likely to gel with Rockzilla if they can dance to the beat.

To hire a band in Raleigh North Carolina in country and bluegrass, there are a few excellent choices. Victoria Lee from VGL Music is a powerful solo vocalist that sings a mix of country, bluegrass, and gospel. Ms. Lee is still in her teens, but this hasn’t stopped her from reaching for the top of the local country scene. She is not solely a cover artist either; Victoria has a number of original tunes to share with her enthusiastic audiences. Next up is Swift Creek, a country/bluegrass combo with a tangy sound. Lead vocalist Kevin Brown has a smooth voice and Casey Elder brings some class to the show with his mandolin and dobro. Swift Creek is a winner with any crowd looking for some Southern twang, and finally, the D.R. Wells Medicine Show is a testament to the preservation of old-fashioned bluegrass and gospel. The Medicine Show brings the banjo and fiddle into the mix, with tunes that bring the past to life and a lot of downhome cheer.

For event planners looking to get some brass into the mix, Raleigh has swing and big band music to spare. Timeless is the frontrunner here, with eight members and both male and female lead vocalists. From the 40s to present day, Timeless’s strong brass and sax performers can make any event more memorable. Rising Star award winner Swing On! comes next. This big band focuses on instrumental music, so they are a perfect background group for more stylish events. Finally, The Moonlighters Orchestra wins the category on versatility, as bookings can range from four to the full twenty members to meet the client’s needs.

Raleigh also has class acts in other categories. In hip-hop, Willie P. & D. Gutta’s rap duo is a good choice for a more urban flavor. Janis Dionne can put on a fun, energetic act for children of all ages. The UNC Achordants have no need for instruments; this a cappella group has strong harmonies with some comedy mixed in. It is clear that there is plenty of talent if you want to hire a Band in Raleigh, North Carolina. These performers are at the top of their class and are ready and willing to put up an excellent performance for any event.

Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley

Learning to Play Guitar
Fingerstyle Guitar Instruction
Fingerstyle is a method of playing stringed instruments. In fingerstyle, the fingers and/or fingernails are used to pluck and strum the strings of the instrument instead of using a bow or pick. Fingerstyle guitar has often been associated with the country and bluegrass genres, but the technique can be found in just about every type of music. Today is a great time to learn to play, because the internet makes finding quality fingerstyle guitar instruction a simple task. Having a computer is almost as good as having a real live teacher.

Fingerstyle guitar playing is often associated with acoustic guitars, but anything that can be played on an acoustic guitar can also be played on an electric guitar. Certain pieces may be designed for one or the other, however. You can find some great fingerstyle guitar instruction at . This site has plenty of fingerstyle resources such as books, videos, and computer software. There are also plenty of articles that give helpful tips and advice, software and guitar reviews, and occasionally guitar song tablature.

There are individual pages for some particularly notable fingerstyle guitar players such as Laurance Juber, Muriel Anderson, and Mike Dowling. These pages have some information about the musician, some notes about their musical style, and videos of the players giving fingerstyle guitar instruction. These videos are wonderful because the musicians are experts and they take the time to carefully explain how to play guitar and what to practice. is a site dedicated to teaching you how to play the guitar with your fingers. The fingerstyle guitar instruction starts easy, such as how to hold the guitar and where to place your hands, and gets progressively more complicated. After learning how to tune the guitar and read guitar tablature, you will learn some finger picking exercises for your left hand, then your right hand. Then you will combine the hands and begin to play scales and simple melodies. You will learn to pick various chord shapes and move those chords around the fretboard. Finally, you will learn to play classic fingerstyle songs such as 'Buffalo Gals' and 'You are my Sunshine.'

There are also a series of more advanced fingerstyle guitar instruction. These lessons include how to create your own guitar tablature for recording songs, some complicated exercises to practice, and articles about specific aspects of guitar playing. These can go a long way to adding some emotion and spice to your playing. Learn how to create artificial harmonics, design a good walking bass line, and find out how and why guitar chords are constructed the way they are.

If you are still in need of more fingerstyle guitar instruction, you may want to consider buying some professional guitar instruction DVDs. You can find plenty of these at . Many of these instructional videos are by some of the greatest players like Tommy Emmanuel and Chet Atkins. If you still can't find what you're looking for, try doing a Google or Yahoo! search with keywords of whatever you need help with. Youtube is also a great place to look, because many accomplished musicians will post invaluable information and demonstration tutorials there that you can watch and listen to completely for free.

Photo Credit: Larry Jacobsen

Learn Swing Dancing for Fun Fitness
This form of dance has been popular for social dancer of all ages for many years. Swing dancing is a couple’s dance where the girl is lifted, spun, swung and twirled. It is lively and great fun. You can learn swing dancing to be able to participate in these social dancing events, or for the aerobic fitness of it.

If you are decided to learn swing dancing, you will probably be able to find several dance schools in your area where you can take lessons. Many people find that through taking these classes, they not only up their fitness level, but also make new friends who share a common interest.

You can also learn swing dancing on your own, at home with instructional DVDs; however, you will at least need a dance partner. It is a social dance, after all. This dance is meant to be engaging and interactive. Partners hold hands, as opposed to placing hands on each other’s shoulders and hips.

You can learn swing dancing as a couple. It’s a great hobby to pursue together, leading to fitness, fun and more friends with the same interest. Even though it is not a particularly intimate dance, couples who learn swing dancing together have discovered that is a great way for them to build communication skills while pursuing a very enjoyable activity.

Once you learn swing dancing, you will find social events where you can dance to your heart’s content with others who love this dance style. You may even get ambitious and decide to enter some of the swing dancing competitions that take place each year. In any case, of one thing you can be sure, you will be having fun. And this kind of active fun will certainly keep you fit.

Happy Retirement!
Retired Teachers Jokes
Do you know a teacher who is retired or will be retiring soon? You can send them off with some laughs with a few great retired teacher jokes. These can lighten the situation and let them know that you care about them. They are especially useful, perhaps even crucial, for any speeches or presentations that might be made at a retirement party. You probably won't be able to come up with these on the spot, so you will definitely want to be ready with several prepared jokes.

Starting off a speech with retired teacher jokes can't go wrong. Here is a good one to try out -

Three elderly math teachers, Mark, Alex, and Robert, go to a doctor's office for their yearly memory test. It's a miracle they remembered the appointment! The doctor begins with Mark. He asks him, “What is five times five?” Mark replies “191.” The doctor rolls his eyes and looks up at the ceiling. He then says to Alex, “What is five times five?” Alex replies “Wednesday.” The doctor shakes his sadly and turns toward the last man. He asks Robert, “What is five times five?” Robert answers, “twenty five.” “That's right!” says the doctor. “And how did you come up with your answer?” “Easy,” says Robert, “just subtract 191 from Wednesday.”

Some retired teacher jokes, such as the following one, will set a different tone to the party, to say the least. Here it is –

A teacher was retiring after 30 years of teaching. Her elementary school class decided to throw her a retirement party, and they all brought gifts for her. A little boy who's father owned a fine chocolate shop brought her a box of delicious chocolate delicacies. A little girl who was the daughter of a florist brought her a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Another little girl who's parents ran a top-shelf liquor shop then brought her a large box. It had some juices leaking out of the corner. The teacher told the girl, “I bet I know what this is!” She tasted some of the liquid leaking from the box and said “I bet this is some wine!” The girl said “Nope.” She tasted it again and said “Liquor?” The little girl said “Nope!” She tasted it one more time and said “It's beer, isn't it?” The little girl said “Wrong again!” The teacher was almost frustrated. She said, “Well, I give up, what is it?” The little girl said, “A puppy!”

If you need some more retired teacher jokes for a retirement party or just for conversation and the fun of it, the internet is a great place to find jokes for free without having to buy a book. has a large selection of thousands of jokes in hundreds of different categories. You will also find some great retired teacher jokes at These sites, along with, will let you search for the perfect jokes for your retirement speech. A retiring person deserves respect as well as humor – remember this as you pick your jokes, but don't forget that it's also a celebration!

Photo Credit: Anoka County Library

A Harp
Tips for Learning to Play the Harp
The harp is a complex instrument. There are several major types, sizes and string quantities; the more the strings, the larger the range of music. There are harp teachers for each of these types of harps, and experts that can tutor all varieties of harp musical training.

The lap harp is a common choice for many students, being smaller and simpler to learn. It has between 22 & 38 strings, and can be played sitting down, with the harp on your lap, or standing with a securing waist strap. Harp teachers can greatly assist persons interested in learning the play the harp as it is not easily self taught.

Then there are the larger harps such as the pedal harp and the lever harp or Celtic harp. The lever harp got its name from the lever that is used at the top of the harp to change the many strings. And, it has been called the Celtic harp for generations due to its origin in ancient Ireland. Most students begin by learning the lever harp, since the cost of the lever harp is much less then that of the pedal harp. Thus, lever harp teachers are abundant. Once you have mastered the lever harp, it is simple to move on to the pedal harp, if possible.

There are music schools that teach this, with accredited music and harp teachers.

There are quality online programs offered from a diversity of music schools and academies with harp teachers. These are helpful, though they could not be considered a complete education in playing the harp.

The most flexible of harp teachers, of course, are tutors. You could opt for private lessons; the harp teachers come to your own home with individualized lessons designed to meet your needs and fill in any gaps in your music learning.

Photo Credit:Robert Couse-Baker

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