Australian fingerstyle guitarist Gabriel Andrews
We met Gabriel in 2013 and have been enamored with his unique “percussive guitar” style and techniques, so much that we asked him if he would like to be the soundtrack behind The Photavia Project.
His playful, energetic compositions can go from a breakneck pace like in “Caffination” to more introspective and brooding works like in “Lucinda’s Lullaby”. The emerging Australian acoustic guitarist, took first prize in the 2014 Wilson Centre International Guitar Competition (Milwaukee, USA), and opened for Canadian Guitarist Jesse Cook in the evening showcase. In 2015, Gabriel completed a Master of Music (MM) at the Peck School of the Arts (PSOA), University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM), and worked as a tutor in The Bachelor of Music program during his studies. In October of the same year, he placed third in the Kentucky International Home of the Legends Thumb-picking Championship.
Billy is an American composer, pianist, singer and special friend of The Photavia Project. He has been playing the piano and singing since the age of 5 and he has been composing music for man many years. Billy writes a wide range of music including: solo piano music, country, pop, dance instrumental and Broadway. Billy believes “music can bring peace, create joy, and most importantly uplift and inspire one’s soul and mind.” and those are exactly some of the basic ideas and goals behind PHOTAVIA. We are blessed and honored that Billy will support our project by creating and composing special pieces for our programs. Billy has won many awards for his work in the past, we are looking forward to experiencing his new work for PHOTAVIA.
Mirrors: The Mindful Musical
On September 28, 2016, PHOTAVIA worked with Billy to present a "Sneak Preview Presentation" of his musical at The Point in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
MIRRORS was created and composed by Billy Kirchen,
Book by Larry LaGuardia, Lyrics by Jim Chudy
MIRRORS was proudly sponsored by PHOTAVIA
Proceeds from this event went to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association
Learn more about that event at MIRRORS
Our chance meeting with Vance is quite a "Meant to Be" story that we'll save for some other time. A very down to earth and approachable person, Vance is very generous with his time and talent.
Vance Brescia currently tours with Peter Noone/Herman's Hermits
But what’s next? Singing for seniors: Vance shares “I sing for seniors with various levels of memory challenges in nursing home and, assisted living communities. Music brings light and joy into the lives of many of these special people who are otherwise withdrawn.
They may not know family members or remember what they did just minutes before, but when the music begins they smile, come alive and start singing along. They never forget the music!”
We are very proud to have met Vance, and we are looking forward to developing a relationship with him as his passion for working with people with cognitive challenges and Alzheimer’s patients, is in complete alignment with our objectives. We hope that in the very near future you may hear him on a PHOTAVIA Project
We met Nia through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Professor John Stropes who heads up the UWM Finger-Style Guitar department which is a world-class, internationally known program. Amazing talent from around the world attend classes here and it is one of Milwaukee and Wisconsin's hidden treasures. John has done some magic for decades in teaching and coaching some of the best performers and composers in finger-style and related guitar techniques. He also brings in some international guitar heroes for special performances and clinics regularly.
As a student from Bulgaria, Nia is “possibly the best performer” that John has worked with over the years and we were very excited that we connected. After meeting Nia in the Summer of 2018 she decided that she would include PHOTAVIA in a grant she was writing as part of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Undergraduate Research Fellow. Her project was titled: Music and Memory: The Capacity of Music to Trigger Memory and Elicit an Emotional Response.
"Objectives and Methodology: This project provides an opportunity to become familiar with current scholarship in the psychology of music, music perception, the neurobiological basis of musical expectations, and music in advertising. Working with Photavia (photavia.net), a Milwaukee-based company that provides positive TV content for public spaces, Nia Keranova will compose instrumental music to provide a soundtrack for ten historical photographs from Getty Images. Applications for Photavia digital content include healthcare and assisted-living facilities with focus on Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
Nia also writes “In my home country of Bulgaria I have taken part in various charity concerts and recitals at homes for children and homes for elderly people with disabilities. Since moving to America, I have performed at both St. John's on the Lake and Ovation Chai Point senior living facilities. I have noticed how beneficial music is because of its abilities to make people relaxed and calm. I also think that my cultural background will allow me to have a deeper understanding of how Photavia's project will affect people. As a multicultural person, I am aware of different ways that cultures and countries deal with aging and disabled populations.”
Nia created 10 original works for us and we are very excited for her future and looking forward to working with her for a very long time.
PHOTAVIA documentary about NIA KERANOVA