WILKES-BARRE — Eric Timlin wants to rock. The now 13-year-old took bass guitar lessons for three years with instructor Rich Stochla until the Exeter resident succumbed to colon cancer in December 2015. After a year without their instructor, Timlin and other young musicians taught by Stochla will have the opportunity to honor him during a memorial open mic.
The Dec. 9 memorial event will double as the grand opening for Rockology Music Academy, located in Wilkes-Barre’s East End Center. Former students of Stochla have been invited to play during the open mic and tour the new school with lead instructor and musical director Vince Insalaco. Timlin said he may attend classes at the school, but he’s definitely going to attend the memorial event.
“He was always someone who was good to talk to and he could offer some good advice and just being near him was kind of nice,” Tamlin said. “He was one of those people that kind of brightens your day. I miss him. If for no other reason than him, I’ll be playing at the show.”
Insalaco will also play during the open mic. The 30-year-old Wilkes-Barre resident took lessons from Stochla until he left the area to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music from Syracuse University. After returning to Wilkes-Barre, Insalaco looked to Stochla for advise on making a living with his passion.
“I kind of modeled my whole kind of lifestyle off of Rich, I guess you could say,” Insalaco said. “The way he lived his life was do what you love — find a way to make money doing what you love, even if you don’t make a lot at least you’re doing something you love.”
Insalaco said an open mic is the perfect way to honor his former teacher and mentor, who encouraged young people to play live and often tried to help his students network among themselves to form bands. Rockology Music Academy owner Joe Nardone counts his sons among Stochla’s students and cites the late instructor as one of Rockology Music Academy’s inspirations.
“We liked what he taught,” Nardone said. “The lessons were engaging and fun, kids practiced and got better, and that’s what we’re trying to do here, get kid passionate about music. Rich talked about doing a school like this at one point and Vince talked about doing a school like this at one point and I’ve been thinking about doing a school like this at a different point and somehow our paths crossed. Now it’s Rockology Music Academy.”
Nardone plans to offer lessons in piano, guitar, drums, vocals, bass, keyboards and other stringed instruments like banjos and ukulele to students age 7 through 20. For more information about Rockology Music Academy or Dec. 9’s Rich Stochla memorial open mic, call 570-970-9999 or visit Rockology.info.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
What: An open mic in memory of local music instructor Rich Stochla. The event will also serve as the grand opening for Rockology Music Academy — students can begin signing up Friday.
Where: Rockology Music Academy, 350 East End Center, Wilkes-Barre
When: Open house starts 5 p.m. Dec. 9, music starts 7 p.m. The academy will also be open Saturday and Sunday afternoon for open house events
How Much: Free to watch or play, but interested participants should arrive early to sign up for a slot