Emmaus boy is a Singer, Guitarist and Songwriter.

Article By Mary Youtz of the Emmaus Patch

Article Posted on August 12, 2011


The young man singing and playing guitar on the stage of the Performing Arts Pavilion during the recent Emmaus Community Day didn’t look nervous.

Does he ever get nervous while performing? “Not really,” Joel Shimer says, “because I’ve been doing it a long amount of time.” Joel, 12, lives in Emmaus with his parents, Chas and Melanie Shimer. He performed for the first time at age 4, singing a Christmas duet with his father at Faith Presbyterian Church in Emmaus. “He surprised us as well as everybody else with his fearlessness,” Melanie Shimer recalls. “It seemed very natural.” Since that time, Joel has not only performed, he also has written some songs of his own. “He just seems to have the ear,” Chas Shimer says. “He can hear where the fingers (on his guitar) are supposed to go.”

      “Song writing isn’t something I decide to do,” Joel says. “It just happens. I sit back with a guitar and play chords and if they go together, it’s a song.” His songs include one about Abraham Lincoln and an anti-war tune, called “Maybe,” that he played at a church talent show. This past year, he wrote “A Boy’s Song,” using the poetry of James Hogg in the book, “Norman Rockwell’s Four Seasons.”

Joel has performed at several retirement communities in the Lehigh Valley, including Luther Crest in South Whitehall, and Westminster Village and Devon House in Allentown.

This fall, Joel will be in 7th grade at Lower Macungie Middle School. While in 6th grade, he sang in the auditions-only Cadence Choir while playing instruments in the orchestra and jazz band. He owns six guitars.

     Joel takes bass guitar lessons with Stephen Andrusysyhn of the Emmaus Lesson Center and upright bass lessons with Lower Macungie Middle School teacher Connie Arnold. But Joel also has learned a lot on his own since getting his first guitar at age 5 or 6. He prefers classic rock – music that plays a lot in his parents’ home – and his fantasy is that he would one day play with Paul McCartney, “by far my favorite Beatles.” Joel hopes to one day be a studio musician or a music teacher, but for now he focuses on playing guitar, singing and writing songs. “We try to do everything we can for him,” Chas Shimer says, “to keep it going

All About Joel

Photo Credit: Jenae Holtzhafer