Free Panel Helps Local Musicians Get Heard

Accustomed to jamming in your garage? Harper College is looking to help local musicians get their music heard.

The College this winter will offer a first-ever panel discussion on the modern commercial music business - a session aimed at helping musicians understand what it takes to hit it big and arming them with tips to help make it happen.

The free "Get Out of the Garage" panel will feature experts in performance, marketing, production and recording; attendees will be able to preview and register for related Harper courses and win prizes, including a recording package.

"We want to provide real ways for performing musicians in all genres to cultivate their skills and learn to better promote themselves and their bands," says Henrietta Neeley, coordinator of Harper's Community Music Center. "To succeed in this industry, you really need to know the modern commercial music business, including marketing and presentation, and we're offering tips from people who've been there."

The panel runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 11 in Room A238, Building A on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine.

Panelists include Blake Hammerton, a guitarist, singer-songwriter and coach who helps clients start small companies; Jim Manfre, CEO of Proteus Entertainment and a 35-year music industry veteran who boasts 25 years as a sales rep for Warner Brothers Music; John Towner, a recording engineer with Maxim Entertainment Group who has recorded hundreds of Chicago-area bands; and Harper College Marketing Director Mike Barzacchini, who has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and PR and presents and teaches frequently on the topics of branding and social media.

Harper offers a series of classes for local musicians looking to make the leap to the big-time, including a Sound Recording Certificate and courses on creating a music mission, making money with music and the effective use of social networking and web design.

To RSVP, call 847.925.6300 or visit

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, 847.925.6159