Posting Date: November 24, 2009
Meet Danny Bermel: Preparing to teach and preserving his musical heritage
By Jarmea L. Boone
Photograph by Linda Tincher
A junior at Kennesaw State University, music education major Danny Bermel cultivates a love for several music genres through his academic studies and in performance.
His story begins when he started playing the violin at 11 years old. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Danny moved to Georgia with his family when he was 14. He stayed in his schools’ orchestras through middle and high school. While in high school, one of Danny’s teachers, Jim Palmer, formed a fiddle group through which Danny refined his skills before coming to KSU.
As a student, he volunteers his time with orchestras at local schools. He also works with the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra. “I like to think that I have the privilege of passing on music to the next generation of musicians and the responsibility of being the best musician and teacher I can be.”
He looks to his KSU professors as examples of the teacher-artist he wants to become. Danny appreciates Assistant Professor of Violin Helen Kim. He says, “Not only is Prof. Kim a great musician and teacher, but I admire how humble she is as a person.”
Outside of campus, Danny is a member of the “Jot’em Down Boys,” a professional-level, bluegrass band consisting of members playing the mandolin, dobra, guitar, bass, banjo and Danny on the fiddle. “I keep bluegrass close to my heart,” he says. “The folk music is an important part of America’s musical heritage. I think I have a responsibility to be a good advocate for it and to make sure it isn’t forgotten.”
The “Jot’em Down Boys” perform throughout the metro Atlanta area and have played at events for several nonprofit organizations in recent months, including the kick-off dinner for the Friends of Cobb Symphony Orchestra and The Trust for Public Land. The “Jot’em Down Boys” are also the house band for the Kennesaw Opry, which they host every first Saturday of the month at the Cherokee Arts Center in Canton.
When describing his work ethic, Danny says, “If you really love what you do, then it doesn’t feel like work. I have the most fun when I am playing. I can have an instrument in my hand up to 12 hours a day, depending on what is going on at the time. Right now, I have school during the week. On Friday nights, I practice with my band. I have gigs and teach lessons on Saturdays. I’m with GYSO all day on Sundays. I keep so many things on my plate because I never know what is going to be helpful to me down the line, and I don’t want to miss any opportunities.”After graduation, Danny plans to teach for a couple of years and then go to graduate school.