Tag Archive | "music"

Pierson Senior Selected out of Thousands to Sing at All-State Festival

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By Tessa Raebeck

When Megan Beedenbender sings, everything in the room aside from her voice disappears. The listener becomes mesmerized, further enthralled with each captivating note.

“It’s my way of expressing myself,” Megan said on Wednesday, December 17, in between classes at Pierson High School. “Through music, I feel like I communicate my emotions well.”

Megan’s singing has become more than a form of self-expression for the high school senior, it is now an official point of pride for the Sag Harbor School District. As a result of a perfect score in last year’s auditions, Megan, an alto who can also sing soprano, was selected to perform in the Women’s Chorus at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) All-State Festival, December 4 through 7.

The Sag Harbor student was chosen from among 6,000 students who auditioned across the state. Of those, nearly 900 students were chosen for eight different performing groups; she was one of about 120 in women’s chorus.

With a love for singing that began when she as a toddler singing along to Disney songs, Megan started honing her hobby in the third grade, as part of the small chorus at Sag Harbor Elementary School. Since sixth grade, she has been working with Suzanne Nicoletti in Pierson’s middle and high school choruses.

“Megan’s first year,” recalled Ms. Nicoletti of the then sixth grader, “I handed her a NYSSMA sheet and I said, ‘You’re doing this,’ because I saw potential and I knew she could greatly improve.”

Since that day, Megan has performed at festivals and solo competitions, “and has always been kind of like the rock of whatever section she’s in,” added Ms. Nicoletti. “I always could depend on Megan to know her part, to be there both with a positive attitude and with the right frame of mind to just do her best. And it’s been wonderful having her in chorus all these years.”

Ms. Nicoletti and Megan bonded over their shared love for what some may consider a broad musical taste: Classical greats like Bach and Mozart mixed with Def Leppard, Journey and other 1980s hair bands.

“If you don’t really care about singing, then it’s not going to be your thing,” said Ms. Nicoletti, adding that somewhere in between her sophomore and junior years, Megan seemed to decide, “Yes, I’m really moving forward with this and this is going to be my thing and my focus, and it was very inspiring. When she started taking private lessons, then things really got even better.”

Megan took her music a step further last year by adding private lessons with Amanda Jones in East Hampton in both voice and piano. She also performs with the Choral Society of the Hamptons, which recently awarded her with a scholarship for vocal training.

As a junior last spring, Megan earned a perfect score of 100 at the NYSSMA Solo Festival in Level VI, the highest class. The score enabled her to apply for the all-state festival, but her position was solidified by character recommendations from Pierson faculty and her participation in local music groups.

“NYSSMA requires a lot of outside time, it requires a lot of self-direction, self-motivation, private lessons, practicing at home—it’s really college-level,” Eric Reynolds, a music teacher at Pierson, said of his student’s accomplishments. Mr. Reynolds, who taught her as a junior in IB music last year, now teaches Megan in AP Music Theory.

“In theory we’re going to start composition, but I love being handed a piece and I love being able to interpret it in my way,” Megan said.

While singing in English is a feat in and of itself for many people, Megan can also sing in German, Italian, French and Chinese.

“I love singing in German, which is really weird. It’s really random, but I like taking those kinds of songs and just making it my own,” she said.

Known for its guttural, deep sounds, German is “just a powerful language,” she said, “and being an alto, when you have a powerful, deep voice and a powerful language—it’s just so good together….what I enjoy about singing in a different language is that when someone’s listening, they’re not focusing on the words, they’re focusing on what it sounds like.”

When she sings, be it the ‘sh’ syllables of Chinese or the flowery rhythms of Italian, Megan’s strong voice is showcased first and foremost.

Her teachers, who she said, “know my voice, which is really cool,” have helped her to focus her breath and tone quality, shape her mouth and sing from her diaphragm. “It’s almost singing from the heart,” she said of how her voice has matured.

Although she was just selected as one of the top singers in New York’s high schools, Megan is not dwelling on her accomplishments. Like most high school seniors, she is more concerned with getting into college than giving private concerts in German.

Through “discovering how much I really loved music,” she has figured out which path to pursue after Pierson, and is well on her way to becoming a music education teacher. She has already been accepted to one of the country’s top music programs and will audition for a different program at her dream school in February.

“I’ve been given so much love through music, so I just want to share my love with everyone else through music, that’s a big thing—and I can’t picture myself doing anything else,” she said.

“Music has been my therapy,” Megan continued, as she sat, surrounded by instruments in Mr. Reynolds’s office at Pierson, “like my guiding light, it’s gotten me through everything…basically, it’s like music speaks when I can’t.”

Why Here? Musicians on the Influence of the East End: Nancy Atlas

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Nancy Atlas performed with special guest drummer Chad Smith during the first of her Fireside Sessions at the Bay Street Theater on Friday, January 3. Photo by Michael Heller.

Nancy Atlas performed with special guest drummer Chad Smith during the first of her Fireside Sessions at the Bay Street Theater on Friday, January 3. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Michael Heller

Nancy Atlas spent her childhood in Commack. The daughter of an avid fisherman, she began coming out to the East End with her family from the time she can remember. Eventually, her family bought a house at Lazy Point when she was 7. “We spent any day off there we could,” she says, laughing. “It was literally 1970’s jump into the station wagon, pee in the mayo jar and head out east.” At 17, she moved to England to attend Cambridge University, where she studied art and art history, with an eye toward a career as a graphic artist in the advertising business.

 

MH:  So after graduating college in the U.K., how did you end up back in the United States?

NA:  That was a very rough time… It was 1991, and I came back around the time that O.J. Simpson was being followed, so I had a complete and utter nervous breakdown….I couldn’t process moving back into the United States.

 

MH:  Did you move directly here?

Singer-songwriter Nancy Atlas. Photo by Michael Heller.

Singer-songwriter Nancy Atlas. Photo by Michael Heller.

NA:  I did. As soon as the option presented itself for me to choose where I would live, it was a no-brainer. I always knew I’d live out here in some capacity. My brother was renting a house right near the Quiet Clam, and that was the first place, but I’ve lived in almost every town: I’ve lived in Southampton, Amagansett, Sag Harbor—for about  seven years—Springs, for four years, over by Louse Point…

 

MH: So what inspired you to pick up a guitar? Did you have any musical background?

NA:  I wrote songs from a very early age. My musical education is that I did a year of piano when I was 10, and then I studied 10 years of viola—a lot of people don’t know that—but then I wrote on piano from the time that I was about 11 years old. That was around the era of Debbie Gibson—Remember her? I wasn’t trying to be Debbie Gibson; it just came naturally that I would write my own songs, so there are videos out there, lurking somewhere, of an eighth-grade talent show of me singing a song I wrote with seven girls singing three-part harmony. When I look back, of course I would have been a songwriter. So when I got into high school I was still doing the viola, but I started to take graphic art more seriously, and that was the price it paid: the music kind of veered off a little bit. But I was still known for music, like in high school I was Best Musician—Commack High School, 1989. There’s probably a good photo floating around of that too! (laughs) But I think that when my life choice came, in college and when I was becoming a young adult, I really had to stick to it, and once I picked up a guitar, I knew that I could die for this; I knew that there was a commitment to the music that I didn’t have with the art. There was always an insecurity with the art… I always kind of wasn’t sure, and with music I’m very, very confident; I don’t really write for anyone but myself. And I think as an artist you go through periods where you have to learn how to not write for people again.

 

MH:  So at what point did you realize that playing guitar was the thing?

NA:  I was very depressed before I came home—truly depressed, not just sad, but clinically depressed—and I couldn’t find a job, so I decided that I had to do something to get myself out of the funk. So I just went down and bought a used guitar on Portabello Road for 60 quid, and started learning Van Morrison songs and tablature stuff—totally self-taught, and I never looked back. I started going to open mics, and I started writing songs within three weeks of picking up a guitar. It was immediate because I had had that background of the piano from when I was younger. And when I went to the Stephen Talkhouse I think I was playing guitar a total of three months, and a producer said, “Who the hell are you?” (laughs) So I started working with a producer, and got sucked into the many dreams of rock ’n’ roll stardom…and here I am, still going!

 

MH:  So what keeps you here on the East End, when your career may have taken off if you had perhaps moved to a bigger city like L.A. or Nashville?

NA:  That’s a very layered question, because the things that keep me here are starting to disappear… and I might disappear. I’m getting tired of a lot of the crap that’s going on in this town right now.

 

MH:  “Right now” notwithstanding, what continues to keep you here?

NA:  Well, I don’t mean to be existential, but that depends on your definition of “making it.” Because I feel like I’ve “made it.” I’m a successful songwriter who has a gorgeous house a block from the ocean, a beautiful vintage car and three great kids, and am still doing it. I really don’t mean to nitpick, but people say that to me a lot, like, “Geez, do you ever get upset that you haven’t ‘made it?’” And I’m like, “Well, what’s ‘making it’?” Because is ‘making it’ playing Jones Beach, or having a song on the radio? Would I like that? Sure! Would I love to play Red Rocks and be on tour? Sure! But it’s all relative. I really, truly believe that, and if I really wanted to do that, I’m the type of person that would move to Nashville and see my kids on the weekends—I’m an A-type; I don’t talk about stuff, I get it done. But the raw beauty, the quiet… as an artist I’ve always felt that the East End calls to a certain type of artist, in that it delivers, and I draw off of the raw beauty—that’s the short answer.

East End Weekend: Highlights of August 22 to 24

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Dean Taylor Johnson, MARILYN. Courtesy Monika Olko Gallery.

Dean Taylor Johnson, MARILYN. Courtesy Monika Olko Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

Sick of the beach? That’s strange, but luckily there’s ample else to do around the East End this weekend. Here are our weekend highlights:

 

Introducing his latest body of work, Dean Johnson will show “Living Legends” at the Monika Olko Gallery, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 23, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The show, which features iconic figures in “living pieces,” of mixed media, always changing LED light panels composed of plexi-resin, pigmented inks, film and encaustic wax dyed with oil paints. The Sag Harbor gallery is sponsoring a fundraising event to benefit the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center‘s Southampton office as part of the opening reception.

The Monika Olko Gallery is located at 95 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call Art Curator and Gallery Manager Wafa Faith Hallam at (631) 899-4740.

 

Dougenis, Abstract Rubber Plant (Blue), c. 1977, watercolor on Arches, 25 x 13 inches. Photo by Gary Mamay.

Dougenis, Abstract Rubber Plant (Blue), c. 1977, watercolor on Arches, 25 x 13 inches. Photo by Gary Mamay.

At the Peter Marcelle Project in Southampton, Miriam Dougenis will show her early selected watercolors, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 23, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Known primarily for her contemporary oil on canvas landscapes, characterized by her unique style and the use of familiar locations around the East End, the local artist is also an award-winning watercolor artist. The exhibition, on view from August 23 through September 9, showcases examples of her earliest watercolors from the 70′s and 80′s.

The Peter Marcelle Project is located at 4 North Main Street in Southampton. For more information, contact Catherine McCormick at (631) 613.6170.

 

Before you head to Sag Harbor Saturday, stop by Marder’s in Bridgehampton where there will be free, live music from 3 to 5 p.m. A string trio in the garden will play classical music featuring Vivaldi, Bach and select composers. The concert is free of charge and all are welcome.

Marder’s is located at 120 Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton. For more information, call (631) 537-3700.

 

Stages presents “The Wind in the Willows” at the Pierson High School auditorium this weekend, with performances on Friday, August 22, at 7 p.m., Saturday, August 23, at 4 p.m., and Sunday, August 24 at 4 p.m.

Based on the English children’s classic by Kenneth Grahame, “The Wind in the Willows” follows the comedic story of Mr. Toad and his friends, McBadger, Rat and Mole, as they go on the classic, hilarious adventures.

Mr. Toad in his infamous motor car.

Mr. Toad in his infamous motor car.

Helene Leonard will direct the full-length musical production, an original version of the script that was written for television by her late father, Jerry Leonard. Mr. Leonard wrote the music and lyrics along with John Petrone, and there is additional music by Larry Loeber.

All tickets are $15. For reservations, call (631) 329-1420.

 

 

At Duck Creek Farm in East Hampton, Amagansett artist Christine Sciulli will show “Quiet Riot,” an immersive site-specific projection installation presented by the John Little Society.

The installation will be open to the public by appointment and Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m. through September 20.

In her primary medium of projected light, Ms. Sciulli “asks us to consider the potential of simple geometry by projecting these forms onto a network of materials that fragment and expand on their structures.

The installation will be in the John Little Barn at Duck Creek Farm, located at 367 Three Mile Harbor to Hog Creek Road (enter and park at north access to Squaw Road) in East Hampton. For more information on the artist, visit sound and vision or vimeo.

 

BLACKOUT at Bay Street. Photo by Lenny Stucker.

BLACKOUT at Bay Street. Photo by Lenny Stucker.

In the second installment of the new BLACKOUT at Bay Street, Bay Street Theater will feature a cabaret evening of performers from its latest hit, “My Life is a Musical,” on Friday, August 22 and Saturday, August 23.

The cabaret performance is complimentary for those who attend the 8 p.m. Mainstage production of the musical and $15 for those only attending the cabaret at 11 p.m.

BLACKOUT, an evening of cabaret and comedy, will feature the performers singing both musical theater and rock songs. For more information on BLACKOUT at Bay Street, call the box office at (631) 725-9500.

iPod Drive Supports Music & Memory Programs to Fight Dementia

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A patient with dementia receives music and memory treatment. Photo courtesy Music & Memory.

A patient with dementia receives music and memory treatment. Photo courtesy Music & Memory.

By Tessa Raebeck

While most of us use our iPods when we’re jogging or mowing the lawn, the devices can be used for a purpose greater than bringing constant One Direction ballads to your preteen: beloved music can renew the memories–and lives–of those suffering from dementia.

Starting August 23, GeekHampton in Sag Harbor, will accept iPod donations for Music & Memory, an organization that uses beloved music to renew lives lost to dementia.

The organization creates personalized playlists for people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, using the memory of beloved times and past events in their lives to improve their quality of life today.

By visiting the Music & Memory website, you can learn more about how the program works and see videos showing how people’s spirits can be lifted by the music from their past.

The iPod drive runs through September 6 at GeekHampton, located at 34 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 723-3660.

Why Here? Musicians on the Influence of the East End: Jim Turner

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East End musician Jim Turner plays at a local benefit for Haiti. Photo by Michael Heller.

East End musician Jim Turner plays at a local benefit for Haiti. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Michael Heller

Born in New York City and raised in Northport, Jim Turner is the product of musical family: His mother, brother, and sister were all musically oriented, and his father was a trumpet player in college, so it was only natural that at age 14 he picked up the guitar. His brother showed him a riff called “John Henry,” and then a friend in school showed him how to play “What I Say” by Ray Charles. “And from there it kind of just grew,” he says. “I wasn’t going to be a musician. It was just a side thing.” He moved back to New York City at age 21 to study acting, and before long found himself being cast in major roles in Broadway musicals, including Joseph Papp’s Public Theater production of “Blood” and opposite Nell Carter in a production called “Dude” with the cast members from “Hair,” while all the while continuing to play gigs in restaurants and coffeehouses. In 1978, he moved out to the East End.

 

MH:  So what was it that made you decide to come to live in Sag Harbor?

 

JT:  I was really in the guts of the New York professional world. I look back at that now, and I realize that I was around the big time. I wasn’t the big time, but I was around it, so I saw what the high level of competition and the high talent, and how disciplined and how professional you had to be in that world—you had to go out for a lot of auditions on Broadway stages, and it was terrifying. I got cast and I was around these people. There I was in this Broadway show with top talent like Nell Carter and a lot of other famous people, and it was like the big time, it was shocking, I was really honored. But I continued playing music, and you know, I was in that New York world and here I had been in that Manhattan jungle for so long, that I finally got to the point where I—and it’s really kind of mundane, what I’m going to say—I just got a longing to live in the country. I wanted to switch gears…. Suddenly I just did not want to do the urban thing. I look back and I had spent almost 12 years, including college, in New York, and I just got this longing to be in nature—almost like a Thoreau—and I was looking to go a hundred miles away, because I didn’t want to cut the cord. I didn’t want to leave New York, because New York is a universe. But I met a woman, and she lived out here and I visited out here, around 1978. She was going away the following summer, so I rented her house out in Sag Harbor for the summer, and I was smitten by this area. I had this huge, romantic thing: I wanted to be with clean water…. my life was a concrete jungle, and the city was so challenging to live in, so bang I rented her house and later on I moved out here.

When I came out here what happened was I was able to get the music going, playing music out here, right away. Playing music out here was suddenly so much easier than in New York. In New York you finish playing a gig and you’re on the subway, or on the street. Here, I came home to my cottage I rented and I’m out here with the crickets and the night and I’m thinking, “This is relaxing! This is healthy!” Since I’ve been out here I took off and formed my own band in 1988…. I backed up a lot of people for years and played solo, and it took off pretty much in the late ’80s. I did concerts at Guild Hall, I got a role for Time-Warner doing an ad for Optimum, and since then I’ve just been out here doing hundreds of gigs.

 

MH:  So what keeps you out here, seeing that this is not the music capital of the world?

 

JT:  One of the answers to that is that it’s kind of easy living here, in a country-life kind of way. Now, it’s not easy financially because it’s gotten very expensive, but I’ve kind of lucked into something that I wouldn’t have been able to do in New York. I get a lot of work out here, especially May through September, so rather than be on the road as a musician—and it may not be as romantic—I can actually have a life and not be out in motels travelling the country. What I found in New York as a struggling artist was that it was very difficult to make money and to be in the city; out here it’s still hard, but it’s easier: I come home to this home, and I have peace and quiet. I do get hired, and I’ve done well, and gotten paid pretty well. But on the other hand, I agree that in the off-season it’s kind of dead, and that’s the downside to it.

I once heard something in a music seminar, and that was, “Don’t get addicted to the local music scene, because that can shortcut your career.” I might have done that. I might have been someone who went to L.A. or Nashville, or could have had a big career… and yet, at the same time, I’m not sure I was looking to be a star; I think I just wanted to play music and have a relaxed, healthy life—it’s as simple as that.

Review: “My Life is a Musical” at Bay Street Theater

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Photo by Lenny Stucker.

Brian Sills, Wendi Bergamini, Howie Michael Smith, Danyel Fulton and Adam Daveline in Bay Street Theater’s production of “My Life is a Musical.” Photo by Lenny Stucker.

By Dawn Watson

The musical is one of those things that theatergoers either love or hate. For some, there’s nothing more transcendent than immersing themselves in the combination of spoken dialogue, singing, acting and dancing. For others, the entire construct rings false, somewhat hokey and attempts and fails to push beyond the limits of suspending disbelief.

“In real life, people don’t burst into song,” a character critical of the genre said early in Act One during the sold-out Saturday night performance at Bay Street Theater. Exactly.

“My Life is a Musical,” making its world premiere in Sag Harbor, is one show that is guaranteed to make a fan of everyone who sees it. Gently poking fun of the genre, the musical comedy tells the story of Parker, played by Howie Michael Smith, a likable but shy everyman who hears and sees people excitedly singing, dancing and carrying on instead of what they are really doing, which is talking, walking, and acting normally. The rub: Parker hates musicals.

Turning the Broadway form on its ear, “Musical” allows those who watch it to feel very much that they are in on the joke.  Charming, clever, and full of heart, style and verve, the Adam Overett (he brilliantly wrote the musical comedy book, music and lyrics) and Marlo Hunter (she directed and choreographed) production is sure to be a smash. I predict that it will be the next big thing to hit the Great White Way.

The writing is tight and laugh-out-loud funny. The musical numbers are catchy and enthusiasm provoking. The pacing between serious and outrageous scenes is impeccable. The characters are likable and relatable. And the cast, of which there are no bold-faced names, is absolutely superb.

Smith in particular, a talented triple threat that looks like a blend of Jason Biggs, Ben Stiller and Bradley Cooper, is perfection as Parker. He’s the socially awkward underdog who audience members find themselves rooting for before he even opens his mouth, and then that much more so once he does.

Playing JT, his love interest, Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone is pitch perfect as a tone-deaf rock and roll band manager. She’s plucky and full of passion, just what Parker needs in order to grow and accept himself and his perceived flaws. Monteleone, who has a phenomenal voice, particularly shines in “Someone Else’s Song,” where she beautifully belts out that she can’t sing a lick.unnamed-2

Deeper level fun poking comes in the form of The Zeitgeist’s band lead singer, Zach, a pretty-boy hack who is the recipient of Parker’s musical-inspired songwriting talents—a Christian de Neuvillette to Parker’s Cyrano de Bergerac if you will. Justin Matthew Sargent, who starred in Broadway’s “Rock of Ages,” totally nails the intellectually challenged rock star persona, to great comic effect. He’s thoroughly watchable.

The most entertaining character was Randy, an overly dramatic 1940s-era film noir-esque gumshoe, who had the best lines and the funniest setups of the entire play. Robert Cuccioli, a veteran actor with considerable stage experience, hammed it up in a way that was beyond brilliant. Think Adam West playing himself as the Mayor on “Family Guy.” His fast-talking antics included insisting that Parker meet him at 1 a.m. at a bar called “Midnight” and at another called “The Corner,” which was located in the middle of the block. Cuccioli’s portrayal of Parker’s foil had me laughing so hard that I was crying many, many times throughout the night.

The multi-talented supporting cast—which includes Wendi Bergamini, Adam Daveline, Danyel Fulton, and Brian Sills—was amazing. Keeping count of the dizzying number of characters (though my favorite was Sills’s bellhop) and super hot quick changes was impossible but each was memorable and mesmerizing. And each and every one of actors in the show gave it with gusto.

Every single detail of this production—from the cheeky set to the cleverly utilized musicians, and far, far beyond—is an absolute winner. And judging from the very enthusiastic response of the audience on Saturday night, I’m definitely not alone in my thoughts. As the entire cast sings in the musical finale, “It’s the kind of show that I love.” Nobody could say it any better than that.

Tommy Keys at Tweed’s

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Tweed’s Restaurant in Riverhead is hosting musician Tommy Keys on Saturday, August 9 and throughout the rest of the summer season.

Tommy Keys is a blues musician whose style encompasses New Orleans jazz, funk and boogie-woogie. The Long Island native has performed all over the United States and internationally, from the Pigs & Peaches Festival in Georgia to the Burghausen Jazz Festival in Germany. In 2012, he was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame and he most recently released the CD “Devils Den.” He will perform regularly at Tweed’s Restaurant into even after the summer ends.

Tweed’s Restaurant, located on Riverhead’s Main Street, is believed to be the oldest continuing restaurant, bar and hotel in the town of Riverhead, according to the restaurant’s website. The restaurant regularly hosts live music and is serving their signature Lobster BLT throughout the summer. Tweed’s is open seven days a week. To make a reservation, call 631-208-3151. For more information on upcoming events, visit tweedsrestaurantriverhead.com.

Why Here? Musicians on the Influence of the East End: Inda Eaton

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Musician Inda Eaton. Photo by Michael Heller.

Musician Inda Eaton. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Michael Heller

Singer/songwriter Inda Eaton found her way to the East End 10 years ago after spending the majority of her life living in southern California, Arizona and Wyoming. She is a child of parents who always wanted her to be a musician — which never seemed to be a question (“I just knew,” she says.)

 

MH:  So, coming from Wyoming and the West, how did you end up here in Amagansett?

IE:  My music manager at the time was in New York, so I would come to New York quite a bit for music, and it was through friends and connections that I would come out here to visit. I went to school in Boston — I went to BU to study journalism — so I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the east; but I really didn’t know about Amagansett or East Hampton. In fact the first time I came I was completely shocked—I didn’t even tune into my “Great Gatsby” history lesson of the Hamptons; I really didn’t come here with any stars in my eyes at all, I was just coming to visit, and I was really utterly surprised in the most pleasant of ways. Growing up in the West anyway I could never have stereotyped that a place so close to New York City—which is like Gotham City—would have so much beauty.

 

MH:  The Hamptons are not the hotbed of the music industry like Los Angeles, New York or Nashville, yet after 10 years you’ve stayed here. What has kept you here, even though it may have been harder for your career?

IE:  The reason I was able to dig my heels in was because I did some voice-overs and I did some music-computer interactives for the children’s museum when it was being built, so that was the first reason to be here: “This is a project I can do.” I wasn’t even thinking that this would be my final resting spot; I’m here for this project. And then some other opportunities opened up, one after the other, and I thought to myself, “Hmmm, I think I’ll get more involved in the production side.”

There are some really great people out here. You can’t throw a rock out here without running into somebody who writes or makes music. That’s been very stimulating and interesting to me. And not only their work, but the camaraderie of it, the music community. I travel a lot; I go back and forth between the West, I do a lot of education work. I do a lot of playing. But somehow when I come back here, I feel very nurtured. The music scene, the music community…I think the landscape lends itself to some major creativity that’s probably beyond what I can even articulate. I know it’s obvious when we talk about visual art, and how that can happen through color and light and landscape, but I think it’s often overlooked when we talk about music as well. I couldn’t articulate to you right now, at the kitchen table, how I think that’s changed my writing, but I know that it has.

And I think there’s an edge, I think on Long Island, the history of rock and roll on Long Island is huge, and there’s a tremendous contribution to rock and roll in edginess from Long Island. You would think that that wouldn’t be out here because it is so calm, and everything out here is so “chill,” but having said that I think our year-round community… we give that appearance in our flip-flops, but I don’t know of anybody out here who doesn’t have to figure out some way to exist; maybe that’s the edge. We’re in our flip-flops, but we’re all clinging on to our reserves to figure out how to stay in this beauty. This is not a place where you can go work at the plant, or have abundant work, really; you really make your own existence here, and it has to be a very creative existence. And I don’t know of anybody out here—in the arts or not—who doesn’t have to think twice or three times how to pull their act together to put food on the table…maybe that’s the edge. Amidst all this beauty, we’re trying to develop our own situation.

Interestingly enough, if you ever get invited to a benefit you should go, they’re great shows. They’re great shows because different musicians come together who maybe don’t play together often, and all of a sudden this party happens. But if you looked around and said, “How are these musicians pulling this off?” you really don’t want to ask them that; the reality is that it’s scary. You wouldn’t want to look at their ledger sheets; their ledger sheets don’t balance, really. You want to talk about the leap of faith? I know that’s in every artistic community, but it’s comical, because here we’re doing the benefits, and the truth is we could be having a benefit once a month for all of the brothers and sisters in music. And I think that’s the edge, I really do. That’s the edge.

Why Here? Musicians on the Influence of the East End: Joe Delia

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By Michael Heller

Montauk resident Joe Delia–known for his band, Joe Delia and Thieves – has been a musician for most his life, having studied and performed music ever since he was 12. He was one of 12 children in an Italian family in Rockland County, New York, and at age 15 he and his siblings gained notoriety as they hit the charts in the mid-1960s with a family act called The Brothers.

“We were signed to RCA records,” he says, “Sid Bernstein was my manager when I was 15 years old, so I had a lot going on professionally as a child.” Not long after, because of his proximity to New York City, he met studio musicians in Rockland County who helped him get his foot in the door in the so-called “closed shop” of the New York City clique of studio musicians.

 

MH: So how did all of this lead you out to the East End?

JD: While I was working in the city, I studied arrangement and film scoring with Don Sebeski, who was just a great orchestrator and great educator, and that was really a good part of my training professionally. Sebeski was a real key to my professional work; I worked as an arranger and a pianist in studios. Then I met director Abel Ferrera [“King of New York,” “Bad Lieutenant”] in the late ’70s, early ’80s and scored films for him for 20 years, and that’s what really got me into the business.

In ’92 Abel was out here for a week or two, staying in Hither Hills. I came out and said, “I just want to live here,” and a year or two later bought the property and built a house. I had the house for a few years, then met PJ [his wife], ended up getting married and moving upstate. Sold the house here, and life took on another path. It’s been almost 20 years now; we had a son, Jake, and it became a whole new thing.

After not having the house in Hither Hills, the headquarters became the house in Rockland County, and as PJ and I were getting on with our lives we would come out and rent and spend basically a week or two. But we were out a lot, and maybe five years ago this rental came up for us, and so we said, “We’ve got to do it.” So we’re basically in and out of town commuting to Montauk.

 

MH: So what keeps you here, and why do you keep coming back, even though it might be considered by some to be a detriment to your career?

JD: It’s a great question. I think it has to do with the fact that I’ve had a long career that was New York City and L.A.—mostly New York City—but was really an international career; all of the films I’ve made have played all over the world and I’ve made records, etc.  I’ve had a mainstream career in that sense, so that this is another chapter. It’s not a matter of trying to break into the mainstream, obviously, it’s not about coming out here and getting a major record deal and advancing my career in that sense. I think it’s … well, not a “postscript” to my career, but another chapter.

 

MH: How would you describe that chapter?

JD:  It’s wonderful. I would characterize it as doing something that I haven’t done a lot of for 20 or 25 years, which is writing songs and performing them. I’ve been writing themes and background scenes for years and years in the studio. I’ve done some interesting touring over that period—I was with David Johansson and Buster Poindexter for five or six years, and in between I toured with Dave Edmunds—I toured the United States and Japan with them, and so that was great—So I’ve been around, but it’s been in and out of my basic career as a musician writing themes and film music. So I characterize it as really something new; writing songs and performing them. It’s thrilling, and it keeps me coming back. And I think the fact that there’s been a certain amount of acceptance and that people seem to like what we’re doing and that there are songs that people know is really wonderful too. To play, and have people out there who know the songs is really cool.

 

MH: So what keeps you going? What drives you now, to keep writing and doing this?

JD: It’s that feeling of when it does connect. I’m a terrible golfer, but I think the metaphor is the same: you can be a terrible golfer, but if you hit one good one, you get out on the golf course the next day. And I think that it’s a little bit the same with doing this: If you have a really good show and get that input back that you get from the audience. It’s really about the audience; if there’s an audience, it will really get me there. And Montauk’s a great audience. There’s really a nice, vibrant music community out here, a lot of great musicians and wonderful people.

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do July 25 to 27

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The Montauk Project, Chris Wood, Mark Schiavoni, Jasper Conroy and Jack Marshall, performs at Swallow East in Montauk on Friday, February 28. Photo by Ian Cooke.

The Montauk Project, Chris Wood, Mark Schiavoni, Jasper Conroy and Jack Marshall, performs at Swallow East in Montauk on Friday, February 28. Photo by Ian Cooke.

By Tessa Raebeck

From fast-growing local bands to slow food snail suppers, there’s plenty to do on the East End this weekend. Here are some highlights:

The Montauk Project is playing at Swallow East in the band’s hometown of Montauk Saturday, July 26 at 8 p.m. The local beach grunge rockers, who were born and bred on the island and are steadily gaining more recognition by music critics and enthusiasts alike, released their first full-length album, “Belly of the Beast,” in March. The band, which consists of East Hampton’s Chris Wood and Jack Marshall, Sag Harbor’s Mark Schiavoni and Jasper Conroy of Montauk, will be joined by hip hop/rock hybrid PUSHMETHOD, who were voted the best New York City hip hop group of 2013 by The Deli magazine.

Eastern Surf Magazine said of the East End group, “The Montauk Project is far tighter than every other surf-inspired East Coast rock band to come before it.” Swallow East is located at 474 West Lake Drive in Montauk. For more information, call (631) 668-8344.

 

Also on Saturday, People Say NY presents an open mic and art show at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton, starting at 8 p.m. In addition to featured grunge pop artist Adam Baranello and featured performer Danny Matos, who specializes in spoken word and hip hop, performers of all ages are encouraged to participate.

According to its mission statement, People Say NY “brings art back to the fundamentals, so we can remind ourselves why artists and art lovers alike do what we do.”

The night of music, comedy and poetry has a sign-up and $10 cover and is at the Hayground School, located at 151 Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton. For more information, visit peoplesayny.com or check out @PeopleSayNY on Twitter and Facebook.

 

In celebration of the release of the “Delicious Nutritious FoodBook” by the Edible School Garden Group of the East End, Slow Food East End hosts a Snail Supper at the home of Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, located at 39 Peconic Hills Drive in Southampton. The supper will be held Friday, July 25, at 6 p.m.

Guests are asked to bring a potluck dish to share that serves six to eight people and aligns with the slow food mission, as well as local beverages. Capacity is limited to 50 and tickets are $20 for Slow Food East End members and $25 for non-members. The price includes a copy of the new cookbook. Proceeds from the evening will be shared between Slow Food East End and Edible School Gardens, Ltd. Click here to RSVP.

 

Some one hundred historians will converge upon Sag Harbor to enjoy the Eastville Community Historical Society’s luncheon and walking tour of Eastville and Sag Harbor.

The day-long event starts at 8:30 a.m. with a welcome at the Old Whalers Church, located at 44 Union Street in Sag Harbor, followed by a walking tour at 9:30 a.m. to the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, the Sag Harbor Custom House and the Sag Harbor Historical Society, which is located at Nancy Wiley’s home. A shuttle bus is available for those needing assistance.

From 11:15 a.m. to noon, guests will visit the Eastville Community Historical Society Complex to see the quilt exhibit “Warmth” at the St. David AME Zion Church and Cemetery. A luncheon catered by Page follows from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Old Whalers Church in Sag Harbor.

 

The Hilton Brothers, "Andy Dandy 5," 2007, 36 x 48 inches, pigment print. Image courtesy Peter Marcelle Project.

The Hilton Brothers, “Andy Dandy 5,” 2007, 36 x 48 inches, pigment print. Image courtesy Peter Marcelle Project.

The Peter Marcelle Project in Southampton will exhibit the Hilton Brothers, an artistic identity that emerged from a series of collaborations by artists Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg, from July 26 to August 5.

Their latest collaboration, “Andy Dandy,” is a portfolio of 20 digital pigment prints. The diptychs combine Mr. Makos’ “Altered Image” portraits of Andy Warhol with images of flowers from Mr. Solberg’s “Bloom” series.

“Andy wasn’t the kind of dandy to wear a flower in his lapel, but as ‘Andy Dandy’ demonstrates, sometimes by just altering the image of one’s work or oneself, a new beauty blooms,” the gallery said in a press release.

The gallery is open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment.