Immersed In Music Alumni Are Making Waves in the Central PA Music World

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Immersed In Music is getting ready to wrap up its sixth year of giving Harrisburg area students the chance to play music in bands, having fun with the camaraderie within those bands, and learning to grow as musicians. Along the way, we have added Live and Studio Sound Engineering, Songwriting, Music Theory, Individual Lessons, and Summer Camps. Some of the students who have come through our programs are beginning to move out on their own and spread their musical wings. During the coming months, we plan to feature several of these musicians and engineers and highlight their growing list of artistic successes.

One of IIM’s longest running bands is The Watergate, A variety of experiences and projects have evolved for the past and current band members since they left the program at the end of last year.

Patrick Hemingway, the group’s original drummer left two years ago to dedicate more time to his passion for swimming. The IIM staff has found that one of the benefits of our program is that the experience of learning how to work in a band produces benefits well beyond the music. Patrick has found that the self discipline, commitment, and communication skills that he practiced while playing in The Watergate translate to his achievements with his swim team. As he continues to succeed with swimming, he also continues to play drums in his limited free time because he found that he was missing it.

Patrick Schmitt, The Watergate’s next drummer, was instrumental in helping to write much of the music they composed during his tenure. Last summer, he left the band and, along with Christian Witmer and Ben Miller, founded Whit Waltman,, a Central PA art collective. Witmer and Schmitt have now added guitarists Noah Smull (from The Watergate) and Nate Deitch, along with Mikayla Shirley (IIM 2016-17 bassist in the American Canadians) for live performances. Whit Waltman also now includes artistic collaborators Nadia El Mourli and Sarah Verrecchia. Nadia has produced artwork for other Immersed In Music bands, including an early CD cover for Look Out For the Train, one of the first two IIM bands.

As of March 15, Whit Waltman has just released “Now, Now,” a five-song EP of original music, which is already garnering positive reviews. Check out this 2019 Hector Records release on Spotify!

The Watergate currently is comprised of Alex Valsing, Noah Smull, and Graham Cramer, all of whom were a part of IIM bands for three years or more, and Chance Cole-Stephens. Alex, bassist extraordinaire, was a member of one of our original two bands back in 2013, and has sometimes played in two bands. Noah joined IIM in 2014, and Graham came in the year after that. Graham, The Watergate’s keyboardist, is still playing in this year’s The Breads… as a drummer! After The Watergate left IIM at the end of last year, they recruited Chance, a CASA student, as their new drummer.

The Watergate’s newest project is to compose the original score for the Gamut Theater’s production of “As You Like It.” They are currently in rehearsals for the play, which will be held April 12-14, 2019 at the Gamut Theater,

We at IIM are so proud of all of our alumni as they continue to pursue an ever growing list of musical accomplishments!