University of Pittsburgh

Johnny Walylko Wins Battle of the Bands

Music Major Johnny Walylko will kick off live music for Saturday’s Fall Fest after winning Pitt Program Council’s “Battle of the Bands.” Fall Fest and Pitt Arts Fest are also coordinating this year, giving students and opportunity to find out about Pittsburgh’s rich cultural life while enjoying live music, free cookies, and a color blast among many other activities. Following Walylko’s opening act, Fall Fest will feature Rae Sremmurd, FRENSHIP, and NAWAS.

In a preview of Fall Fest, The Pitt News describes Walylko's music as combining,

"…precise acoustic guitar work with his bright tenor voice in a style reminiscent of his inspirations: Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. His lyrics deal with human issues and romance, detailing experiences many people take for granted like walking to school and hanging out with friends."

When Johnny Walylko first set foot on Pitt’s campus he had no formal music education. He had just graduated from Army Infantry Training and transferred from Pitt-Johnstown (where he also wrestled and fought Mixed-Martial-Arts). As Walylko put it, “I could not have named the notes on the treble clef. However, I had been writing and singing songs on my guitar for years, using my ear, and felt inclined to check out Pitt’s Music Building.”

A chance encounter with one of the department’s majors, jazz guitarist John O’Brien, convinced Walylko to explore majoring in music himself. A meeting with Professor Adriana Helbig, the music department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies, convinced him. He recalls how Professor Helbig, “welcomed me with a big smile and encouraged me to pursue a degree in music.”

Walylko now takes courses in Theory, Musicianship, and Global and Popular Music. He studies privately with Richard Teaster (voice), Joe Negri (jazz guitar), and Jim Ferla (classical guitar). When asked about his experience as a Music Major at Pitt, Walylko is effusive. “The more I interact with the music department, the more I fall in love with music.”

Fall Fest and Pitt Arts Fest kick off this Saturday, September 17 at 12:30 outside of the William Pitt Union. Don’t miss a chance to have fun, connect with Pittsburgh’s vital arts community, and hear great live music, including our own Johnny Walylko.

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