Bits 'n' Pieces: Teen musician turns to talent to raise funds for trip

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Symphonie Seasholtz, 15, might not sing for her supper, but for a concert trip, you bet.

The young musician has been singing in choirs since the first grade and had the leading role in her fifth-grade Christmas pageant at Carson Elementary School in the Columbia Gorge town of Carson. She began playing the piano in third grade and is mostly self-taught.

So when the chance came for Seasholtz to join an educational tour with the Camas High School choir, it seemed natural for her to raise the $685 needed using her natural talents.

“Music is my life. I’d rather give what I have to offer than what corporations have to offer,” she said. “I love what I do.”

Seasholtz grew up with professional musicians as parents: her mother, Tamara, an accomplished flutist, and her father, Conder, a composer and classical guitarist.

In her third fundraising concert Friday, Seasholtz will perform her own arrangements of a wide range of pop, from Beatles’ “oldies” to Evanescence, Dolly Parton to Scary Kids Scaring Kids. This collection of music she has called “Choices” has also recently been recorded live on CD and includes an original song by Seasholtz.

The spring break trip begins with a workshop in Ashland, Ore., where students will get a taste of what it’s like to study music in a college environment — Southern Oregon University is in Ashland — and then will take them to the Heritage Festival in San Francisco, where they will perform.

After high school, Seasholtz plans to attend California Institute of the Arts, the Disney college in Valencia, Calif., where her father studied composition.

“My dad rocks. He’s taught me most of what I know,” Symphonie said.

The concert is 6 p.m. Friday at the Beacock Music Concert Hall, 1420 S.E. 163rd Ave., Vancouver. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. CDs will be available at the concert. For tickets, call 360-213-7302 or email tamseasalts@ymail.com.

—Ruth Zschomler

Salmon Creek woman pens self-improvement book

photoMelitta Jass Keller

“I’m a talker. If it moves, I will talk to it.”

Melitta Jass Keller said if you are willing to listen, people are ready to tell you many things.

Keller, of Salmon Creek, and has talked to others a lot in her 58 years.

She used information gathered from those conversations to write a self-improvement book, “Tomorrow’s People: Womb to the Tomb Common Sense.” It takes the reader on a journey through life. The book covers 80 topics, from birth to death, funerals and heaven and divorce.

Keller said she always dreamed of writing a book. She wrote a number of short stories, but never tried to publish them. Now that her children are older, she decided to fulfill her dream. For the past four years, Keller worked on her book, writing in the evening until the wee hours of the morning after her family was down for the night.

Keller came to the United States 42 years ago from Guyana, a small South American country. She has nine siblings, thus has a wealth of material from her family alone.

Keller says her book is full of practical advice.

• On siblings: Older children should be role models. If the older child is not a good role model the parents need to find someone else for a role model.

• On parents: Don’t be irresponsible, be involved with your children.

• On gangs: The streets are calling your youngsters. Is Dad at home? Is he involved with the son?

The paperback book, $15.99, is published by Holy Fire Publishing and is available at amazon.com and can be ordered at any major bookstore. She is hoping to release a second book, “To the Point Common Sense,” later this year.

—Mary Ricks

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Ruth Zschomler, 360-735-4530, or email ruth.zschomler@columbian.com.