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Hamburg resident opens music room to area musicians

Skip Zintz (pictured in his music room) has been playing music since the 1960s. After moving back to the Village of Hamburg last summer, he decided to open his music room to the public.
Local musicians who lack a place to play their instruments now have an option after village resident Norman “Skip” Zintz decided to open his music room up to the public three weeks ago.

“I’ve been doing it for months for people I know,” Zintz said about opening his music room. “So I thought, why not open it further?”

Zintz, who moved from Hamburg to Ohio when Bethlehem Steel shut down to start his own business, returned last July to the home he grew up in on South Buffalo Street. Now retired, Zintz has the time to dedicate to the things he loves.

“We’re getting to the point, the people of the 60s generation, where we’re all retiring,” he said. “What could be better to do than something like this to keep busy. No offense to the television networks, but I can’t stand the thought of sitting all day watching daytime television.”

Growing up in the 1960s, Zintz had trouble finding a place to learn how to play guitar. At the time, schools weren’t offering instructions, and his parents didn’t quite understand what he was doing.

“School said the guitar was not a real instrument,” he said. “I can tell you that every parent was like, ‘That’s not music, that’s just noise.’”

While Zintz acknowledges that music these days is different, young musicians still face the same problems. Finding a place to play can be difficult, and finding a place to play loud can be even harder.

“It’s the same idea, even now,” Zintz said. “A lot of times they don’t have the room and the music today can be quite loud.”

Zintz laughs when he hears his peers complain about modern music.

“It makes me wonder, if when my parents turned on big band in the 1930s if their parents said, ‘That’s not real music,’” he said.

The music room contains a full drum kit, keyboards, bongos, microphones and microphone stands and other musical instruments. The room was designed to produce high quality sound, with acoustical foam strategically placed on the ceiling and walls.

“It has just about everything you’d need to play music,” Zintz said. “If someone wanted to donate a saxophone, I’d keep it stocked with reeds.”

Zintz would like to get to the point where older, more established musicians would be available to help out younger musicians in the space. He’s started reaching out to area high school music teachers to let their students know the space is available.

For Zintz, who also runs a hotdog cart called Big Norm’s Dogs in the village, opening his space up to musicians is about more than just helping out.

“It’s my love of music,” he said. “It’s my way of giving something to the music industry.”

Those interested in using the room can contact Zintz by stopping by 22 South Buffalo St. and making a reservation or by calling Zintz at (937) 307-5209.
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