Gene Lazowicki has been teaching drums and percussion at Fretz Music Center for the past 24 years. He has also taught in various school settings, teaching instrumental music and drums/percussion. Gene has performed throughout southeastern PA with various orchestras, concert bands, jazz combos and big bands. While in junior high school Gene began taking private lessons with Alan Kinsey, and continued through high school and college, acquiring a well-rounded education. At a young age he studied snare drum, tympani, mallet percussion (xylophone, vibraphone) and drumset (jazz, rock, latin). This period of time was when Gene was inspired to become a professional musician and teacher.
Gene graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education/Jazz. At Temple he studied with Glenn Steele, who further developed Gene's knowledge of classical percussion. He was also influenced by his studies in jazz improvisation/vibraphone with Curt Harmon. Another important influence was jazz arranging teacher Dennis DiBlasio's approach to improvisation, theory and arranging. Gene developed much of his teaching skill following the teaching methods of music learning theorist Dr. Edwin Gordon. Along with his formal education, he further developed his jazz drumset and ensemble playing skills from the "on-the-job training" he received with jazz pianist and FMC founder Rollie Fretz, and later in a trio with Rollie and Henry Zajac on sax/clarinet. Gene says he will always be grateful for the teaching and performing opportunities as well as the mentorship he received from Rollie Fretz.
In 2016 Gene purchased the store and continues to operate it on the principals instilled by Mr. Fretz - great products, great service, great prices, great instructors and great atmosphere.
Bassist/Guitarist Bill Sharrow began performing in clubs in 1965 at age 13 with the band The Originals. In his 40+ year professional career Bill has played just about every style of music including Blues, Country, Gospel, Rock, R&B, Funk and Jazz. Influenced by the Beatles and other bands of the time, Bill began studying guitar and bass privately with Ralph Chreiman and later studied Harmony and Theory at the New School of Music. In 1969 Bill began teaching private lessons at Collingdale Music Center and then at Fretz Music Center in 1973. Bill worked with The Curtis Brothers and others until 1976, playing the Philly, Jersey and Shore Points circuit. Bill has since played with numerous bands including Newbourne, Mixx, Reaction, The Basin Street Boys, Vital Link and The Johnston Bros. Band, and with such local notables as Mike Dugan, Craig Thatcher, Mary Hawkins and Mark Walsh, to name a few. Bill's current projects include Rollin' the Dice Duo with Mike Guldin and duo work with Gene Gallagan and Joe Triglia, the Dave Consono Rock and Roll Trio and the Flamin' Caucasians.
Bill is also at home in the studio, having played on several albums, radio and TV spots and demos including Mary Hawkins "Black & Blue" and The Johnston Bros. "Life and Passion" and "Psalm 150". Recently Bill has moved to the other side of the "glass", working as mixing engineer on Rollin' and Tumblin's "Roadhouse Rhythm" and as producer and engineer on The Johnston Bros. "You Asked For It" and "Psalm 150". In 1988 Bill and his wife Marcy purchased Fretz Music Center from Roland Fretz. In 2016 Bill and Marcy sold the business to Gene Lazowicki keeping the store "all in the family"! The store, now in its 63rd year, continues to be the area's musical "center", serving the needs of aspiring and professional musicians alike.
Mark has been a guitar and bass instructor at Fretz Music Center for twenty-five years. Mark began teaching while only eighteen years old during his first year of study as a Jazz Guitar major at Bucks County Community College, later continuing his studies at Temple University.
Mark's debut solo CD "From The Top" received national airplay and was featured at Tower Records listening posts nationwide. As a composer, Mark received a special award from ASCAP.
As a session player, Mark has recorded with artists who have multiple Grammy nominations and Gold and Platinum album sales. Recently Mark worked with legendary R&B producer Kashif, whose producing credits include Whitney Houston, George Benson and Kenny G. Mark is a producer in his own right, having produced Mary Hawkins' CD "Black and Blue", which received recognition by blues legend B.B. King.
Mark's performing credits as band leader include many high-profile concerts at Camden's Tweeter Center, The Keswick Theatre and Philadelphia's Penn's Landing. Mark has shared the stage with Boney James, Al Jarreau, Dave Koz, James Ingram, Brian Culbertson, Jonathan Butler and other Jazz greats. He has also been a guest artist with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops Orchestra.
Mark is currently a recording and touring member of Sister Sledge, whose hit single "We Are Family" remains a pop standard. Also he will be performing with the band Chic, whose hits include "LeFreak", "Good Times" and "Everybody Dance".
As a teacher, some of Mark's objectives are for students to be well rounded in different styles of music, to be strong readers and to have an understanding of music theory. Mark has helped many students pass their auditions for school Jazz bands as well as college entrance auditions and theory exams for Jazz Guitar and Piano. This reputation is why he is recommended by many local Jazz Band Instructors. No matter what style of music you want to play: Rock, Blues, Jazz or Funk, Mark can show you how to meet your goals.