If you go
What: Ron Sowell, Ryan Kennedy and John Inghram
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Clay Center's Walker Theater
Tickets: $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and students
Info: www.theclaycenter.org or 304-561-3570
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - On the face of it, you could wonder how in the world Ron Sowell came to list Montessori teacher, member of the Mountain Stage band, music minister, songwriter and artistic director of a popular music series among his jobs.
A bit of history quickly shows that the lines between the longtime musician's jobs intersect many times over.
Saturday night, he'll headline the final performance of the season for the Woody Hawley Series at the Clay Center, joining Ryan Kennedy and John Inghram.
So let's start connecting the lines.
Kennedy plays with Sowell Sunday mornings at Unity of Kanawha Valley and with Sowell as part of the Mountain Stage house band. Inghram plays with jazz pianist Bob Thompson, who also is part of the Mountain Stage crew.
Sowell plays for Unity of Kanawha Valley, a church pastored by the Rev. Sky Kershner, because the former minister there, the late Woody Hawley, invited Sowell to sing and play there on Sundays.
When Sowell got the idea to start a coffeehouse type of music series, he named it after Hawley, who died of cancer 12 years ago.
As for his once-a-week teaching post at Mountaineer Montessori School, Sowell began that when his daughter, Mira Stanley, was a student there many years ago.
"It's kind of like these opportunities presented themselves," Sowell said. "I have all these little communities that really enrich my life and I get a lot of fulfillment from it."
It certainly makes each week diverse and interesting.
At the Montessori school, Sowell teaches singing and songwriting. After school, he has about a dozen private guitar students. Working with the younger set has helped Sowell develop a repertoire of children's songs and programs.
"As I got older, I knew I would have to attract a younger demographic, but I had no idea," he said, laughing.
On Sunday mornings, he leads the music portion of services at Unity, a job he surprised even himself by taking.
When the late Hawley invited him to sing and play there, Sowell balked.