What do a dentist, a Vietnam Vet, a painter/carpenter, a recording studio engineer, a banker and a Halloween mask maker all have in common? They are all professional musicians who live in Wolfeboro and perform as the Traveling Wolfeburys.
The Wolfeburys joined forces as a result of Franz Haase’s fulfilled dream of opening a music store in Wolfeboro, The Folk Cellar. It has become the premier place where musicians gather to play new instruments, hone their skills with lessons, record, play or sing for the public and themselves, or just talk to other musicians.
Members of the band talked about forming a band for a long time. They brought their instruments and played at Mark Dearborn’s wedding last year, and talked of starting a band at the reception. When they gathered again to jam at the Folk Cellar, they continued to discuss starting a band. When the Village Players lost their band for their Glamour In Mud Season fundraiser and called Franz for a suggestion, Franz responded with a resounding, “US!” Charlie Zatzkin christened the band The Traveling Wolfeburys, and the rest will one day be local music folklore.
“The Traveling Wolfeburys isn’t just a band, it’s our band. We feel very proprietary about our guys!” was a statement I overheard after the band’s last sold out performance. A lot of folks feel that way about the group made up of musicians from the Wolfeboro area.
Franz Haase, a partner in The Folk Cellar and Resort Recordings on Main Street says it is his desire “…. to unite the people of the world through music”. Franz and his musician friends have begun their quest by uniting the music fans of Wolfeboro. The band is always well received, perhaps due to the 40-year age difference between the youngest member and the eldest. They boast 240 years of experience between them and possess a wide range of musical tastes, which is why they have something special to offer everyone at their performances.
Franz Haase grew up in a musical home where his father was a jazz musician. Franz got caught up in the folk revival as a student at Boston University, and after he received a purple heart as a Marine in Vietnam in Force Recon, he came back to Wolfeboro where he was involved in Green Building (he holds 3 separate patents). Eventually, in 2009, he opened the Folk Cellar and Resort Recordings. Many musicians peered in the windows outside of the Folk Cellar like children looking into a candy store, waiting for Franz to open his doors that December.
Charlie Zatzkin also came from a musical home where his dad introduced him to the piano, mandolin and guitar. Charlie played in bands from the time he was 12. He sang and played with a band during college in Philadelphia, and they performed frequently at the Jersey Shore. His band recorded, and sang on TV with Joe Cocker. His dental career paid the bills, but his great love was gathering friends to play music at every opportunity.
Mark Dearborn, also a partner at The Folk Cellar and one of their talented music teachers, was another Wolfebury to come from a musical family where he played the electric guitar at the tender age of 11. Two years later his parents got smart and bought him an acoustical guitar, hoping the walls of their house would stop shaking. Mark spent his 20s performing solo gigs on Cape Cod. There were forays into many other careers before he found himself at the Folk Cellar. Repairing and rebuilding instruments is an art he began in his early twenties.
Greg Hopkins studied classical music and theory at Plymouth State, and has performed in and around Boston, Maine and New Hampshire for 33 years. Greg is a working songwriter and recording artist, and has been teaching music for 20 years, most recently at the Folk Cellar. In his spare time (if there is such a thing), he is the owner and creator of Brutal Images, a company that manufactures latex Halloween masks and haunted house props.
Mike Chatigny began drumming in the third grade. He was involved in many musical groups then, and has continued his musical involvement as a studio musician, lending his talents to many recordings, radio commercials and advertisement jingles. Besides teaching drumming at The Folk Cellar, Mike has appeared in musical performances at a long list of colleges and plays a wide variety of styles from classical to jazz and from rock and funk. His rhythms are the glue that holds The Wolfeburys together!
Ryan Ordway recently opened for the Steve Miller Band at Meadowbrook. His first band, Ordway, went on national tour in the 90s and his band was the first winner of an online band contest called “Our Stage”, where the audience picked the winners. He is the head engineer for Resort Recordings and has a knack for playing any instrument he is handed. On his latest album, he was a virtual one – man band playing every instrument on the CD.
Curtis Gray is the youngest member of The Traveling Wolfeburys at just 28. He is also an alumnus of American Idol, making it all the way to Hollywood Week last season! He has just signed a two record deal with Resort Recordings, and his first album with Ryan Ordway will be released on September 22 of this year. Their release party will be held at the Kingwood Arts Center where the Traveling Wolfeburys will be the opening act.
Come see these talented guys perform in the bandstand at Cate Park, at the town docks in downtown Wolfeboro, on the evening of August 23. Bring your lawn chairs, wear your dancing shoes and be prepared to have a great time!