Singer/songwriter Diana Chittester shares her talents with New Philadelphia students
By Joe Wright TimesReporter.com Interactive Editor
Diana Chittester will be playing at the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University Tuscarawas March 3. Royal Wood, an accomplished singer/songwriter from Canada, also will be performing as part of this intimate evening of acoustic music. The show is part of the Come Hear Series.
Singer/songwriter Diana Chittester brought her talents to New Philadelphia High Monday, working with guitar classes and holding a joint workshop with the band and choir.
Chittester will be playing at the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University Tuscarawas at 7:30 p.m. March 3. Royal Wood, an accomplished singer/songwriter from Canada, also will be performing as part of this intimate evening of acoustic music. The show is part of the Come Hear Series.
Chittester, who resides in Cleveland, offered up her talents during three sessions with New Philadelphia guitar students at the high school, and a special songwriting techniques lecture/concert and Q&A with guitar, choir and band students during a meeting in the auditorium at Welty Middle School.
Chittester plays guitar using alternate tunings and a percussive attack, which makes it sound as if there is more than one person playing.
During a morning session with Guitar Ensemble 1 Class, Chittester demonstrated some tricks that will add layers to a musician’s approach. She said she noticed early in her career that hitting the guitar and strings in a certain way could make a big difference and keep those in the audience more attentive.
She said she’s looking forward to playing at the PAC on March 3.
“I’m excited about the show,” she said. “It’s a space designed for the performance I do. I’m looking forward to the intimacy (the PAC provides).”
She said her main go to is a folk rock style, with the emphasis on rock. She points to Ani DiFranco, Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac, Ann Wilson of Heart, Jewel and KT Tunstall as some of the artists who have made an impact.
Teaching is something Chittester enjoys. She conducts workshops and offers lessons. She enjoys the challenge of taking information and presenting it in a way a student can understand. The payoff is immense.
“When the green light comes on ... when something unlocks in a person and they get it (that is gratifying),” she said. “It’s the same with songwriting. People are capable of much more than they know.”
New Philadelphia High guitar teacher Chad Roberts said having Chittester was a valuable experience for his students.
“It was great to partner with the PAC and Diana. Everything she worked on with the kids was spot on,” said Roberts. “It’s tough to figure out the techniques and so it is a real treat to have someone like Diana here.”
David Mitchell, General Manager of the PAC, said the educational outreach is something that is important for the students.
“It’s something that is good for everybody,” said Mitchell. “It gets an artist into a school, and it introduces an artist that will be performing at the PAC. The community needs the arts.”
Prior to the 7:30 p.m. March 3 show, New Philadelphia junior Ainsley Sefert will be singing and playing guitar in the lobby of the PAC. Chittester will collaborate on a song with Sefert, as well.
Chittester has two full-length albums to her credit — “In This Skin” (2012) and “Find My Way Home” (2014) — and has made music her living.
“On my worst day I remind myself that I’m playing what I want to play, the way I want to play it,” she said. “I love the constant creativity.”
If You Go :
What: An Evening with: Royal Wood and Diana Chittester
When: 7:30 p.m. March 3
Where: The Performing Arts Center at Kent State University at Tuscarawas, 330 University Drive NE, New Philadelphia.
Tickets: Starting at $30. Purchase tickets by calling the Performing Arts Center box office at 330-308-6400 or online at www.kent.edu/tusc/pac. The box office is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.