Emily Hollaway, 15, and Lucas Farmer, 14, have a lot in common. Both are home-schooled. Each plays guitar and takes lessons from Chip Janda at Steam Music. And each was a recipient last year of a $300 Jam4Dan scholarship. And both agree, that without the scholarships, their guitar study would have been interrupted, if not curtailed, due to family circumstances that strained the family budget.

For Hollaway, it was a flooded house. For Farmer, it was an unforeseen move from Topeka. But for both teens, their commitment to their lessons and the boost from the scholarship has allowed them to progress. Hollaway displays her talents during her 4H activities, and Farmer is taking a leadership role in forming a family band with his brothers.

When asked why he likes playing the guitar, Farmer replied, “It relaxes me and brings a sense of calmness.”

“It helps me develop confidence, like when I learned (Topeka native Kerry Livgren’s) Dust in the Wind for a 4H talent show,” said Hollaway

Both are also learning how to incorporate their lessons from Janda into their own musical tastes, which are, in this case very different. Farmer leans more to the heavy metal genre, whereas Hollaway cited country and Christian as the music she most enjoys.

Jam4Dan IV is slated for January 15 and 16 at the Celtic Fox in Downtown Topeka. It is held in honor of long-time Topeka guitar player and teacher Dan Falley, who died in a car accident in January, 2008. The event will feature the performances of 20 local bands that contribute their efforts. Another highlight of the event will be the raffle of a beautiful handmade guitar donated by J. Edison Custom Guitars. Local music stores and other sponsors will donate a number of music-oriented silent auction items.

Last year, Jam4Dan III raised almost $4000 that was used to fund 17 scholarships ranging from $100-$300.

For all the up-to-date Jam4Dan IV information, including the band lineup due out the first week of December and sponsor opportunities, visit www.Jam4Dan.org. Also look for Jam4Dan on Facebook and become a fan.

[December 1, 2010 | Tom Wah]

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