Local musician shares his passion in many ways

By Victoria Martinez

Musician, teacher and composer Dewey Roberts spends his days surrounded by music. Whether he’s helping others learn or creating his own sound, Roberts is passionate about his craft.

“I love it all,” Roberts said.

His love of music began at a young age.

“There was an old organ in our house. My mom played it in college. She wanted me to learn, and I hated it. I was probably 10 or 11. She said, ‘If you aren’t going to learn from me, I’m going to sign you up with a teacher,’” he recalled with a laugh.

His mom signed him up for a summer music camp where there were not enough pianos for all the students. When the teacher asked him to play the bass guitar instead, he was hooked. To his mother’s chagrin, they were shopping for his own bass the next day. He started writing his own music by the time he was a freshman in high school.

Since graduating from high school in 2013, Roberts has kept his love of music at the forefront of his life in numerous ways.

After doing some music instruction through Arts Outreach and Solvang Arts and Music, Roberts became a music specialist at Solvang School a little over a year ago. He teaches three music classes a day to fourth- through eighth-grade students and sponsors a Wednesday lunchtime singing club for both boys and girls.

“I love my job, and I love the kids at Solvang School,” he said happily.

He credits Solvang Arts and Music (SAM) and the Solvang School administration for encouraging the arts and making his job there something he can be passionate about.

“The person of art is standing up at Solvang School,” he said.

On Sunday evenings, Roberts takes on the role of music director for Bethania Lutheran Church’s 5 p.m. service, where he leads worship with his friend and musical partner Lillian Street. When Roberts saw that Bethania was looking for a musician to take on their Sunday evening worship service, he reached out to Pastor Chris Brown. Both Roberts and Brown quickly realized they were on the same page when it came to their vision for the worship service.

“Our mission is to love people, to look through that lens, and we wanted to find a musician that reflected that,” Brown said.

Roberts also teaches guitar, vocals and even ukulele to private students around the valley. He’s had more than 25 students, both children and adults, over the past few years, and is actively trying to grow his private lesson clientele.

“My number one priority in teaching lessons is to adapt to each child’s or adult’s learning style,” he added.

Last summer, Roberts completed a project that was a long time in the making — releasing his own album.

After many requests for a CD when he would play local gigs, Roberts created a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to fund his first album. He worked with local musician and producer Bear Erickson to create “Common Essence.”

“Common is something we can relate to, and essence is certain kind of quality,” Roberts said.

Each song in the album is different from the next, and the varied styles allow varied listeners to find something they like.

Though he thoroughly enjoyed the process of making his own album, Roberts has no concrete plans to make a second album.

“I’m focusing more on composition rather than songwriting right now,” he said.

Roberts’ varied roles in the world of music mirror the way he views himself as a musician.

“I try to be as versatile as possible and try to help others be as versatile as they can also,” he said.