August 23, 2017

ONE STOP MUSIC VENUE IN RARITAN, NJ

By Pam Laughlin

If you’re a music lover, then Raritan’s the place for you.  Raritan’s music scene is growing and thriving with four friends with four separate music –related businesses referring and working together to help create a music venue right here in Raritan.   From classical to contemporary instrumental lessons, voice lessons, a state-of-the-art recording studio, musical instruments for sale and trade, and a jam-packed music store all of your musical related needs are sure to be met.

Raritan Music Center

Raritan Music Center, owned and operated by, Louis Colonna, offers much for the Bridgewater/Raritan community with a personalized approach to music education.  Established in 1997, the Center works with students of all ages – from young beginning musicians to adults fulfilling a lifelong dream of learning to play a musical instrument.

Colonna says, “Since 1997, we have been providing professional and friendly service to our customers.  We pride ourselves in having a very diverse and specialized teaching staff that tailors their lessons to the needs of individual students.  We also provide a chance for students to participate in recitals and competitions throughout the year (at Bridgewater Hilton) as a chance for them to express themselves musically.”

Raritan Music Center carries orchestral strings, drums, brass, woodwinds, and pianos. Private and group lessons on these classical and traditional instruments are available onsite at the Center with over 35 degreed instructors.  For rock and rollers, Colonna offers guitar lessons in a more private setting at his Guitar Annex, located right down the street, in a converted brick warehouse. 

Colonna is also branching into lessons on classical Eastern musical instruments like the sitar (plucking string instrument from India.)  “We just signed our first student this week and are thinking of including other classical East Indian instruments like the tabla (drums), Colonna states.

The Raritan Music Center is heavily involved in the Bridgewater/Raritan school system.  They offer rental programs for band and orchestral instruments, as well as maintenance and repair for all instruments. All musical instruments, equipment and sheet music are offered at competitive prices.

With an extensive background in piano and teaching, Colonna admits, “I know I’ve done things right when my old students come to visit during Thanksgiving break and tell me they’ve just gotten their degree in music.”

For more information, contact
Raritan Music Center – Studio
55 W. Somerset St., Raritan, New Jersey
(908)595- 9023
www.raritanmusiccenter.com

Raritan Music Store

Located directly across the street from the Raritan Music Center is the Raritan Music Store.  Added in 2004 to conveniently meet the needs of the Center’s customers, Lou Colonna and partner Tom DiPaolo opened their door to help keep students’ instruments in good working order.  The Music Center had a need to bring someone on board who was knowledgeable in repair.  DiPaolo shares “I’ve been repairing guitars since the mid 80s and fixing brass instruments since the mid 90s and was looking to open up my own business so the timing was right.”

DiPaolo points out, “We carry a wide range of accessories and printed music, and have an extensive selection of brand name instruments for both rental and purchase.”

The Raritan Music Store has lots to offer its customers, including brand name instruments, a variety of mouthpieces, reeds, strings, and accessories for band and orchestral instruments. They have a large selection of method books, sheet music, and teaching materials as well as an expert set-up and repair service for brass, woodwind, and stringed instruments.

Raritan Music is a licensed affiliate of NEMC (National Educational Music Company).  “This relationship allows us to offer schools and individuals alike competitive prices on quality brand name instruments”, says DiPaolo.   They also make weekly visits to participating schools for repairs, pick-ups, and delivery of instruments.  Quick turn-around time is guaranteed on repairs or a loaner instrument will be provided.

Best yet, rental payments go towards the purchase of your instrument. 

Contact Information:
Raritan Music Center
56 W. Somerset St.
Raritan, NJ 08869
(908) 595 -9023
www.raritanmusiccenter.com

 Sonic Boom Studios

Just a quick walk down the streets of Raritan’s downtown will take you to Sonic Boom Studios located in a warm, red brick building on First Avenue.

This warehouse, built in the 1800’s is one of the oldest buildings in the county and used to be home to a woodshop, knitting factory and spaghetti factory.  Today, it is the home of former Spin Doctor member, Anthony Krizan.  Krizan has co-written songs for Lenny Kravitz, Poco, John Waite and has played out with Noel Redding (Jimmy Hendrix), John Waite and Amfibian.  Krizan states, “Some of our New Jersey recording studio clients include:  John Waite, Robert Randolph, Tom Marshall (Phish), Shannon Curfman, Glen Burtnik (Styx), Shannon McNally, Earl Slick (David Bowie) and Scott Fre (Bo Diddly).”

But Sonic Boom is not only for the famous.  Krizan also records music for commercials, voiceovers and jingles for professional companies in the area, such as Johnson and Johnson, Ethicon and medical doctors.

This summer, Sonic Boom Studios and Raritan Music Center joined forces to create a unique opportunity for local music students, called, “Rock Ensemble Program.”

Under the direction of the Raritan Music Center and Krizan, students worked with professional musicians, singers, and songwriters to play and perform rock music in a small band setting to produce a professional recording using Sonic Boom Studio’s state-of the-art-equipment.

Krizan is proud to point out, “It’s a lot different from other ensemble classes because the kids actually record a CD where lots of the others don’t, plus our prices are really competitive. We also use state-of-the-art, digital and analog recording equipment.”

Krizan has worked with every major network on TV and movie placements with famous actors such as Keanu Reaves and Burt Reynolds. With 5 songs on the Spin Doctors greatest hits and his Lenny Kravitz song, Stand By My Woman, selling over 10 million copies, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for kids to work with one of the big players in the music industry.

Sonic Boom also uses kids from Bridgewater/Raritan High School as interns.  “We’re always on the lookout for talented high school kids interested in music.  Last year, Charlie Reader interned with us and got to learn the recording business firsthand.”  Students interested in becoming interns should contact Krizan via email at akrizanmusic@aol.com.

Contact Information
7 First Ave., Raritan, New Jersey
(908)541 – 9303
www.njrecordingstudio.com

Pianos Plus Music Center

New to the Raritan Music Scene but no newcomer to the music industry is owner, Peter Prasa, of Pianos Plus Music Center, located on 43 W. Somerset Street in Raritan.

Piano Plus was first established in 1984 and was located in Greenbrook and Warren as full music centers where Prasa performed piano repairs and piano tuning for the Paramount Theatre located in Asbury Park.  Some of Prasa’s more famous tuning clients include music legends like, Liza Minnelli, Corrine Bailey Rae, John Legend and Whitney Houston.

Prasa first met Colonna over 15 years ago when he sold him a restored piano.  Today, he is happy to be located in the heart of downtown Raritan. “It’s like we’ve come full circle.  Now we all help each other out, referring customers and business, without competing with each other”, announces Prasa.

Piano Plus Music Center buys and sells all types of pianos and piano accessories, including benches and cushions. .  All used and pre-owned pianos come with a warranty, free tuning and delivery can be arranged. 

If you are looking for pianos, this is the place to go. You can find high-quality, pre-owned pianos such as Mason Hamlin, Kimball and Steinway.  “Come back or call often to see what we have in stock, as the inventory is constantly changing”, suggests Prasa. 

The “Plus” part of Pianos Plus Music Center includes digital keyboards (including Korg), guitar and acoustic repairs, sales and trades.  All band instruments are repaired and sold here as well.  Parents will be glad to know that they also offer equipment rentals for band members at Eisenhower and Hillside schools.

Contact Information
Piano Plus Music Center
43 W Somerset St, Raritan, New Jersey
(908) 722 – 7200

Make sure to take a stroll down Raritan’s main street and check out these four friends and their musical endeavors

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