SAW offers a unique experience in learning how to play instruments through writing and producing music.


MISSION: Our mission is to provide a platform for people to obtain better mental health which will in turn help cultivate the arts community in Chicago.

We are located in South Chicago, a forgotten neighborhood on Chicago's South-East side that borders Indiana.  While teaching a music video program to 4th-6th graders at Jane Addams Elementary, JoVia Armstrong learned that there was an absence of music in the community.  JoVia has been dedicating her life to music since the age of 12 and as an adult, has devoted her time to mentoring students.... young and.... adults.  As she passionately assessed the benefits of music for her students, she understood  the detriment of the absence of music in a community.  She created Sounds About Write to offer an healing escape to folks who need it.


Our Instructors

 
 

Vinnie Roofe, Guitar 

Vinnie Roofe, Guitar & Songwriting Instructor

Vinnie Roofe, Guitarist — Vinnie Roofe is a guitarist/producer/songwriter.  He started studying Jazz in high school.  In College, where he attended Columbia, he became a film score major.  Along with jazz as a core of his musical passion, he gravitated to gospel, R&B, funk, hip-hop, soul & probably more prevalent, reggae music.  Born in the U.S.A in Chicago, his parents and elder sibling were born in Spanish Town Jamaica. Reggae is his roots.  He has worked or performed with Syleena Johnson, Carl Thomas, K Michelle, Mike Manson, Alfonzo Hunter,  Steve & Candy Laflora, Corey Wilkes, Vince Davis, just to name a few.  He has had the opportunity to work with production teams in Jamaica at Anchor Studios and Junior Reed Studio.  “My number one goal is to allow the music to express itself clearly, in its own form...... Whatever form that maybe”. 


 

Pia Renee, Bass & Vocals

Pia Renee, Bass & Vocals

Pia Renee, born and raised on the “Westside” of the global community — an analogy she uses as a dual reference to her rearing in the United States and on Chicago’s Westside.
Her musical roots are not ostensibly deep; they are not planted in the soulful soil of generations of musical juggernauts she can call mother, father, aunt or uncle. Nonetheless, they are so audibly profound that the current ground would be unable to comprehend her sound anyway, for she is a walking singing revolution.

It wasn’t until her early twenties that she began to pursue the path of a professional musician. At the age of 23, she enrolled in the music program at Harold Washington College. It was there that Pia met Andrew David, an Asian-American artist/producer that she collaborates with regularly. After studying bass guitar for a year, she began playing with a local reggae band. Shortly thereafter, she sang background for Zeleke Gessesse, and in 2007, during her time as a bassist and background vocalist, she auditioned for American Idol. Two weeks prior to the Hollywood round she was asked to travel to Addis Ababa Ethiopia to sing background for Ethiopian Pop artist, Teddy Afro.


She considers herself fortunate to have travelled to many states and countries as a part of his staff on the strength of her God-given talent. She’s also contributed to live and studio projects of local hip-hop and spoken word artists.

Currently, Pia has released two albums, her music is available on Soundcloud, I-Tunes and Bandcamp. There will be more to come.


 

Alec Lehrman, Guitar

Alec Lehrman, Guitar Instructor

Alec Lehrman is a full-time working musician that, in 2016 alone, has toured Southeast Asia, Europe, and all of the United States. In January and February of 2016, Alec toured the Midwest and gave Guitar Master-Classes to seven college universities, a dozen high schools, and a half-dozen elementary schools and middle schools. Alec is an experienced performer and teacher at all levels, ages, and genres, including Jazz, Rock, Pop, RnB, Soul, and Blues. 


 

JoVia Armstrong, Percussion

JoVia Armstrong, Percussion

Daringly innovative, percussionist and educator JoVia Armstrong is a well-traveled musician and a regional Sabian endorsed artist.  Detroit bred, she is winner of the 2014 Best Black Female Percussionist of the Year through the Black Women in Jazz Awards.  She received the 3Arts Siragusa Foundation Artist Award in 2011 for her work as an educator.  She is a member of Chicago soul group JC Brooks the Uptown Sound and a member and writer behind World /Jazz group Musique Noire.  Their debut CD Good Hair in 2008 was nominated for three Detroit Music Awards.  They recently won the 2015 Best Black Female Jazz Group through Black Women in Jazz Awards.  She released her debut album, Fuzzy Blue Robe Chronicles in 2009. She has performed with El DeBarge, Rahsaan Patterson, Maysa, Eric Roberson, Frank McComb, Res, Omar, The Impressions, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, Malian musicians Ballaké Sissoko, Babani Kone, Joe VasConcellos and Martha Reeves.


 

Felton Offard, Guitar & Songwriting

Felton Offard, Music Composition & Theory

Felton Offard is a guitarist/composer/producer and educator. A versatile artist working with diverse acts, from Barry Manilow to jazz Clark Terry.  He was house/touring guitarist for several Broadway shows including Hamilton, Motown The Musical, The First Wives Club, Oprah Winfrey’s Presents: The Color Purple, Jersey Boys, The Addams Family, Standing/The Shadows of Motown Live with Peabo Bryson and Leelah James, Crowns and numerous others.  Felton’s music has been featured in myriad TV shows. He teaches guitar at Chicago State and Guitar Ensemble at University Of Illinois Chicago.


 

Greg Artry, Jr

Greg Artry, Jr., Drumset

 

Gregory Allen Artry Jr. was born on October, 17 1984 in Pamona, California. His father, who was a professional session drummer, exposed Greg to the drum set at a very early age.

At age 10, Greg and his family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. It was here that the evidence of his talent began to unfold, and Greg was accepted into the fledgling Performing Arts Magnet Program. This initiative allowed him to study a variety of instruments formally, including the cello and voice. After graduating from Broad Ripple High School with honors, Greg was accepted at the University of Louisville (KY) on scholarship. 
Upon finishing there, Greg returned to Indy and began his professional career, working with some of the finest musicians in the world: Melvin Rhyne, Pharez Whitted, Bobby Broom, Slide Hampton, Bobby Watson, Charles McPhearson, Claudio Roditi, Donald Harrison Jr., Syl Johnson, Steve Turre, Victor Goines, Willie Pickens, Sonny Fortune, and many others in cities throughout the United States.

Mr. Artry continues to hone his craft and pursue his dream of sharing his gift with the world.