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BIOGRAPHY
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     Rick's musical journey began in Valley View (a rural community near Bellefonte, PA) at age 6, when his father wrote chords on a sheet of paper and Rick went off to a corner of the house to learn them on his baritone ukulele. By the time he entered 5th grade he was very accomplished for a child his age. And although he didn't have a guitar of his own (his father didn't like him playing that "sinful rock-n-roll stuff"), the seed was planted, and Rick's thirst for musical knowledge was unquenchable.
Talleyrand Park, Big Spring Festival 2004
Talleyrand Park 2004
      His older brother Gary, an accomplished guitarist himself and 4 years Rick's senior, was a positive influence early in Rick's career, sharing his music knowledge and exposing Rick to the hits of the 60s era. Gary was drafted in 1969 and went to serve his country, but before he left he gave Rick the "best Christmas gift he ever got" - a Harmony electric guitar and Danelectro amplifier!
      In the 70s, Rick began to further refine his skills as a musician. He bought sheet music, closely listened to albums of his favorite bands, and networked with other musicians to learn more about the guitar styles and techniques of the times. He formed bands with fellow high school musicians, playing high school dances and carnivals to hone his "live performance" skills, playing music of the Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Uriah Heep and Grand Funk Railroad, just to name a few. After high school, he was recruited by some "older" musicians in the local music scene and got his first exposure to the local "club circuit". The musical requirements on that circuit leaned towards country, ballads, and 1950s rock-n-roll. He didn't care for many of the "old" songs at first, but accepted the music challenge.
Java Jive Cafe, Fall of 2003
Rick w/Garrison guitar

     In 1977, Rick joined forces with good friend and drummer John Caprio in the Elton Brothers Band, replacing local keyboard legend John Thompson (aka JT Blues). Rick also had the pleasure of reuniting musically with brother Gary during this time. The trio of John, Gary and Rick bonded - both musically and personally. From 1977 to 1990 the Elton Brothers Band was one of the premier variety cover bands in central PA. The bands' hard work, along with Rick's knack for arranging sweet, 3-part harmony, helped make the band the area's best vocal band of the era. Their vocal prowess was very apparent to attendees, and was very well received, whether a fan was attending a special event such as a 1950s Night, or a club dance showcasing covers by Alabama. It was the musical refinement acquired during his tenure with the Elton Brothers Band that solidified Rick's skills as a guitarist, vocalist and music arranger, establishing himself as a respectable musician in the central PA music scene.

     Rick attempted to "retire from the business" in 1991, but music was in his blood. He and his brother Gary temporarily formed the Witmer Brothers within a year after Rick's attempted retirement. By 1993, he and his brother Gary reunited once again with John Caprio, forming the band Last Call. Rick led the way once again with his musical arrangement ability, as strong vocals were still the mainstay of this project. However, Last Call improved its instrumental showmanship, as well, this time around, and "rocked the house" throughout central PA until 2000, when health and personal issues impacted the bands' performance schedule, and Rick decided not to continue.
Hublersburg Inn & Family Tavern, May 2004
Talleyrand Park, 2004
     Again, Rick thought that was the end of his musical career. He hardly even picked up his guitar for a year or so afterwards. But in the Spring of 2001, he attended an open mic night at the Java Jive Cafe (a coffee house in Centre Hall, PA). The crowd enjoyed his impromptu performance; Rick enjoyed both the music and the reaction, and once again that "inner voice" told him to share the gift of music that God had given him. This event launched Rick's solo career and he is still sharing his gift of music, drawing upon the musical roots planted and nurtured since those early years. As a solo artist, his live shows celebrate and pay tribute to countless professional artists, both past and present, from a variety of popular music styles. While Rick grew up listening to a wide range of music, his musical preferences have always gravitated to the mainstream sounds of the era in which he is experiencing at that moment in time. Rick replicates cover tunes from current artists, such as Matchbox 20 or John Mayer, with the same fresh enthusiasm he employs when bringing back an old Beatles or Creedence Clearwater Revival song.
     Rick's experiences in music, as well as his experiences in life in general, have provided a firm foundation for his next musical challenge: songwriting and sharing his original music with the masses. In February 2004, he released his self-titled CD. The response to Rick's original music has been the same as the reaction to the cover tunes he performs --- very positive!
Rick w/Strat at Talleyrand Park,  2004
Relaxing at the Equinox Cafe, 2003
     Music has been very good to Rick Allen Witmer. He thanks God for the ability to make it, and thanks his family, friends and fans for their support. He hopes to share his music with ALL for many years to come, and hopes his music friends, both old and new, will continue to support him. Come see a performance SOON!
     

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