After moving to Morton last October, David McDonald is ready to show the town what his academy can do.
McDonald, the owner of the Academy of Fretted Instruments, is planning his fourth annual “Teasin’ the Frets” concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Bertha Frank Performing Arts Center.
“This year is kind of a homecoming concert letting the town I grew up in see the things that we do,” McDonald said. “We have a wonderful concert where we have 17 songs that we are doing.”
The cost of the concert will be $10 a person, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Morton High School marching band.
“I’m hoping with a 450 seat theater at $10 a head, it will be a nice, healthy check,” he said.
McDonald said he wanted to work a partnership out with the MHS band and have director Jeff Neavor perform the sax solo during Pink Floyd’s “Money,” but Neavor unfortunately is not able to make the concert due to a weekend tourney with the Morton Blaze soccer team in town.
Instead, Steady Flow, a band founded by Tanner and Ky Brown, two alumni from MHS, will have their band’s saxophonist, Cody Ward, and organist, Nick Bruketta, join the students on the evening’s encore.
The band will also play two original songs from their first EP, “The OneOff Sessions.”
The concert will feature 22 students playing a variety of songs from Adele, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Little Big Town and more.
Out of the songs played, McDonald will provide vocals for only four of them, with his students singing the rest.
Video previews of some of the students and their songs can be seen at the AoFI’s Facebook page, available at http://tinyurl.com/9wpudtl.
McDonald, who previously taught K-4 music for seven years at Peoria District 150, hosted his first “Teasin’ the Frets” concert at Bradley University’s Dingeldine Music Center, where more than 400 people attended. After a “Bluesology” production at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, the following two “Teasin’ the Frets” concerts were put on at the Apollo Theatre and were done more for the students and their families rather than for the general public.
However, McDonald moved his academy from its original location on Water Street last year to Morton after the landlord gave him a six-week notice his lease would not be renewed after seven years.
“Seeing that the majority of my students came from the other side of the river and seeing that this is my hometown, I thought ‘You know, maybe it is time to go ahead and move it on over,’” he said.
Since moving to Morton, McDonald said his schedule has filled up with lessons.
“As much as I want to let people know I’m here, as of today, I have a completely full schedule,” McDonald said. “However, students come and go — so don’t hesitate to inquire if interested.”
He currently teaches guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele. His other instructor, Brandon Mooberry, a Morton graduate as well, teaches upright bass, electric bass and piano.
In addition to helping the MHS marching band with funds, McDonald also plans to use some of the money to help outfit the studio with soundproofing and to get rooms ready for more instructors in the future.
“I don’t want to be just a guitar teaching studio. I teach all the fretted instruments and, eventually, we will have teachers offering percussion and fretless string instrument lessons,” he said.