Bowie High grad, guitar maker and band perform at scholarship fundraiser Saturday -- Gazette.Net


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Paul Reed Smith Band
When: Saturday, Jan. 5; 3-5 p.m. master class; 7-8:30 p.m. concert
Where: Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, 15200 Annapolis Road, Bowie
Tickets: $10 for master class, $10 for concert
For information:
301-805-6880
www.bowiecenter.org
www.paulreedsmithmusic.com

Musician Paul Reed Smith, who graduated from Bowie High School in 1974, went on to found a well-known guitar-making company and also form his own band.

Now living in Annapolis, Smith returns to his hometown on Saturday with the Paul Reed Smith Band for a concert at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts.

The band will play its “Chesapeake gumbo” mix of R&B, funk, rock, jazz, fusion, gospel, hip-hop and instrumental music from some of its CDs as well as covers, including a rendition of “Proud Mary” made famous by Tina Turner.

Relatively new to the group are Benjie Porecki, known for his skill on keyboards, and singer Mia Samone Davis.

“She’s a gospel choir singer from Baltimore — she is something else,” says Smith.

Also in the six-member band are guitarist Michael Ault, bassist Gary Grainger and his brother, percussionist Greg Grainger.

“It’s part of what we love to do — we try to make something out of nothing,” says Smith about the process of making music.

The concert will also help raise money to help cover college expenses for a graduating senior music student.

“This is the second year of the scholarship,” says Sally Burns, who heads the high school music department.

Earlier in the day, Smith and the other band members will also host a master class at the center to share their accumulated knowledge of guitar, bass, keyboard, drums and vocals.

Participants are asked to bring their instruments, and some will be chosen to sing and play with the band during the class.

“It’s not often that kids get an opportunity like this,” says Smith, who says people of all ages are welcome.

Smith and the band also will be hosting a master class and concert on Sunday at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis.

“No one wants to die without passing on the skills,” says Smith, whose father was a big-band leader who gave him a ukulele as a young boy.

Smith, who grew up in the Long Ridge section of Bowie, played in various bands at Bowie High and also took shop classes because he liked working with his hands.

He made a guitar while at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in southern Maryland and later turned up at rock concerts, convincing well known players like Carlos Santana and Derek St. Homes with the Ted Nugent Band to try his instruments.

In 1985, Smith opened a factory in Annapolis and later moved PRS Guitars to Stevensville on Kent Island where it is currently based and known for the quality and tone of its electric and acoustic guitars.

One PRS guitar evolved from a collaboration with Santana, and St. Holmes also sang with the band for a time.

Busy promoting PRS guitars and traveling with the band, Smith still finds time each year to meet with Bowie High music students and talk to them about their aspirations and his own success in the music business.

“I’m like the grandfather I teach at the school every year,” he says.

vterhune@gazette.net