“My focus is on Winthrop. I always hear it described in geographical terms… ‘A seaside community located just outside of Boston.’ Although that’s true, it is my belief that this community is special because of the people that live here. Because of this, I chose to interview local musicians, Lori and John Wadkins all about the community and what they love about it! Live in Winthrop and have a story to share? Contact me today!” – Susan Doig
You were named this years’ recipient of Winthrop’s Excellence in Arts award. What was your reaction when you heard this news?
We were pleasantly surprised. We certainly were not expecting it. We are a home business and do our thing. Our goal is to share our love and knowledge of music and hope we do a good job.
John you grew up in Winthrop and Lori in Revere. What made you choose Winthrop to live and start a business?
Our home has been in John’s family for several decades and belonged to his grandmother, Genevieve. Support of family and friends, along with a sense of community made it an easy choice for us to remain and give our business a go.
Why do you think Winthrop is the type of community that makes your music lesson business successful?
Word of mouth goes a long way in our town. By keeping prices affordable and the relationships friendly, we have been able to establish long term connections and positive referrals.
What made you decide to start your music business? Giving piano and singing lessons?
We both were not truly happy in our office environments. Working 40 + hours a week for large companies and gigging every weekend became taxing, even before having our daughter Jenessa. By teaching, and in John’s case, tuning and repairing pianos, too, it enabled us to create our own flexible schedules, do what we enjoy, and earn a living.
Lori you moved from the corporate world to working alongside John. What made you make the leap?
I was a human resources director for a start up web development/design company. John was already teaching and loving it. The company folded as the market became saturated with .com companies.I found a part time job and built up my student base.
How many students would you say you have right now?
John teaches about 45 lessons/week. I teach about 35/week.
I know you hold concerts throughout the year for your students. What community events should we look to see you participating in?
Recently, we had the pleasure of performing along with 3 other local bands at The Music Matters festival. John was the music director for this event held to raise money for the town’s music program. All musicians donated their talents and it was a highly successful endeavor. We look forward to helping out with future Music Matters festivals.
Our annual student voice concert & piano recital will be held sometime in June. Students along their friends and families look forward to these recitals. Lots of fun, as well as an opportunity to showcase what they have been working on.
We also take part in the annual Tree Lighting Festival sponsored by The Chamber.
I imagine that when you started your business it was a lot of word of mouth. What has social media meant to your business?
Email, Facebook, and the internet have really played a crucial part in our ability to promote. We can create events, share new music, photos, calendars. It’s fantastic. Years ago, we used to mail flyers to a mailing list that people would sign up for at our gigs. Time consuming & very expensive.
You are musicians in your own right. Can you tell us some of the places you have played in the past?
Goodness…… We were the house band for Holiday Inn on Rt 1. FineLine was part of their wedding package for quite some time. The Rack in Boston, Many hotels for weddings – Parker House, Marriott, you name it. Mount Blue in Norwell, owned by Steven Tyler for our originals..Many yacht clubs- Countless pubs, clubs, Chinese restaurants. John is currently the keyboard player at Boston’s House of Blues, International Blues Foundation. They are the house band that performs an educational show depicting the history of The Blues. I am very proud of his involvement with this program. He is modest and does not speak of it much, but it truly is an honor. I am glad his talent is being recognized.
I see you have some new adventures ahead this year. Congratulations! What are some of the new places we should look for you?
We are working on a website that features our different projects and combination of musicians and gigs. Also, John and I will be going into the studio soon to complete a cd of all original music. We have some of the best local talent around recording with us and are very excited to be working on this project again
We have some upcoming gigs with our acoustic trio – ThreeFold and our duo (TwoFold). You can find us performing in the near future at venues such as:
The Fat Cactus, Lynnfield,
Supino’s Restaurant, Danvers,
Sports, Spirits, and Steaks, North Reading
DeMaino’s , Revere
FineLine – Bill Ash’s, Revere
Tangerine – Maddy’s Saugus, Bill Ash’s, Revere, The Skybox, Tewksbury