Is there anything better than live music?
You can always pop in a classic CD or scroll through Spotify to find a well-worn song you know that you already love, but the connection between artist and audience cannot be truer than hearing it live.
Because our city has so many talented people that you might not yet know about, Johnstown Magazine profiles some of the live musicians you can catch as we roll into another Johnstown summer.
This month, Listen up! profiles Rosie and the Jammers.
Rose Sida is the Rosie we’re talking about; she and the Jammers have been rocking Johnstown since 1997. Although often billed as a polka band, these musicians play with a flexibility and range that suits the event and audience they’re playing to. While they do enjoy preserving their ethnic music heritage, they also play rock, country, ballads and even a little bit of disco.
Though Rose didn’t mention it in our communications, their polka-flavored cover of the classic “Unchained Melody” was one of my favorites from their musicography. According to Rose, “Sweet Caroline” and “Brown-Eyed Girl” are the regular audience favorites. If you’re lucky, they might play “Boot Scootin Boogie” or “Folsom Prison Blues”.
In the band, Rosie plays the keyboard and the button accordion. Joining her are: Brian Anater on sax and vocals, Eric Furfari on accordion and vocals, Brian Regala on sax and vocals and Chet Harker as lead vocals and guitar. Judy Gaeta, aka. Lulubelle and various other characters, serves as master of ceremonies. Rosie and the Jammers was formed for the very first Johnstown Polkafest in 1997. The band went on to play the Log House Arts Festival that Labor Day weekend. You can catch them at both the same events this year, 23 years later. The band says the two festivals are some of the favorite events they look forward to all year. This group loves to see audiences having fun and say all age groups are welcome.
Expect a high-energy show with audiences dancing along to the music, and even interacting with the band. If that kind of jamming with a polka flair sounds good to you, check out Rosie and the Jammers at the following events:
Johnstown Polkafest at St. Mary's Pavilion: May 29th, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
St. Patrick's Church Festival in Moxham: June 13th, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Sts. Peter & Paul Church Festival in Portage: July 12, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Polka Mass at St. Clement Church: July 19, 10:30 a.m.
Polka Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church Festival in Windber: July 25th at 4 p.m., with a festival immediately following from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Rosie and the Jammers has even played a carnival cruise to the Carribean! Though you won’t be able to find them on the high seas again this year, be sure to check out Rosie and the Jammers on Facebook for their full schedule, including these and many more upcoming events throughout the summer and fall.
You also can check out any of their three CDs, “At Last," "Celebrate" and "Rosie and The Jammers Live" by purchasing them at one of their live performances or by contacting them through their Facebook or via email at email@example.com.