Friday, June 22, 2018

MusicFest 2018: Just Voices

Just Voices is an 11-member a cappella group, based in Monroe, CT, that has been performing since 1990. We sing varied styles of music, including barbershop, sacred and spiritual songs, Broadway tunes, and holiday and popular music spanning many generations. Just Voices performs at community events and activities, churches and nursing homes, and private parties. Bringing a smile to our listeners’ faces, seeing them enjoy the music and the memories or feelings it may evoke, and sharing our love of music gives us joy!  Co-directors and founders Mike Pellegrino and Mike Pfalzgraf started the group 18 years ago to bring friends with a love of music and singing together. Bass/baritones Alex Carlson, Jim Williams, and Mike Pfalzgraf provide a strong foundation for 4-part harmonies by tenors Todd McElwee and Mike Pellegrino, altos Barb Pellegrino and Jennie Pellegrino, and sopranos Kim Champion, Debra Pereira, Barb Hall and Laura Carlson. The group’s membership and size has changed over the years but the love of a funky chord and heartfelt lyrics endures! What can we sing for you?

MusicFest 2018: Larry Wissink, cellist & Donald Alfano, pianist

Cellist Larry Wissink returns to MusicFest. Larry studied with Steve Stalker at SUNY Binghamton, and with Andres Diaz at Boston University. He has been active in chamber and orchestral performance in the Boston and San Francisco areas. 
Pianist Donald Alfano maintains an independent piano studio in the New Haven area, as well as teaching Music History, Latin & Caribbean Music and Music in America from Jazz to Rock at Housatonic Community College. Dr. Alfano studied at Boston University, Manhattan School of Music and Case Western University, and has performed as soloist and in chamber music recitals in North America and Europe.

MusicFest 2018: Goldrush Band

The Goldrush Band was founded in 2002 by Mary Beth and Gary Sippin, of Sandy Hook Connecticut. Mary Beth and Gary have performed together for over three decades and have appeared on many national stages, such as the Grand Old Opry, TNN, and hundreds of local concert venues. 

Basically the Goldrush sound is a blend of music that crosses many boundaries of American music, but is rooted heavily in traditional country, bluegrass and American folk music. That being said, Goldrush is well known for taking great songs from many other genres and giving them a new life powered by a broad array of acoustic instruments that portray these beautiful songs in a different light. Goldrush music is also simply based on the stuff that we really like to listen to! 

 Our musical range is very wide mostly due to the fact that the musical tastes of our musicians is equally broad. Overall, our sound is acoustically pure, energetic and harmonic. We are fortunate to have the flexibility with our sound mostly due to the fact that we have a lot of different instruments to choose from. Among the instrumentation are several styles of acoustic guitar, five string banjo, mandolin and tenor mandolin, dobro, pedal steel guitar, acoustic bass, piano and organ.  

The Goldrush sound is also distinguished by our soaring vocals, featuring our founding band member Mary Beth Sippin. Her vocal range includes everything from high-energy rockers to the most intimate ballads. Our repertoire also features a significant volume of original material written by many of our band members.

Friday, June 15, 2018

MusicFest 2018: Silver Steel Band

The award-winning Silver Steel Band is a Steel Drum Band based in Bridgeport, CT, directed by Jim Royleof Jim Royle Drum Studios. You can find Silver Steel playing many of your favorite Caribbean favorites as well as Soca and Calypso styled music from Trinidad and Tobago. Silver Steel delights audiences with infectious rhythms resulting in spontaneous dancing, uncontrollable joy, and perpetual smiles.

MusicFest 2018; The Nicole Pasternak Trio


Vocalist NICOLE PASTERNAK has built an appreciative audience in the Northeast and beyond with her honest, swinging voice and effortless attitude. In the spirit of singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Rosemary Clooney, and Peggy Lee, she shines on traditional Swing songs, renders heartfelt ballads, is a natural improviser and performs her own compositions, as well. She is at ease with everything from duo to big band, giving her broad artistic range. The Norwalk Hoursaid she has “an almost uncanny ability to reach out and pull listeners into the music and make them want to stay there." Ms. Pasternak performs monthly with the Hartford Jazz Orchestra under the direction of the great pianist, composer, arranger and famed musical director, DONN TRENNER, who will accompany her at Monroe Music Fest, along with the renowned bassist, JEFF FULLER. The trio is honored to be returning to perform at MMF, where past audiences have enjoyed the warmth of their music-making.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

MusicFest 2018: Back by Popular Demand: The Beekeepers

3 woman + 13 instruments + rich “honeyed” vocals + "mesmerizing" vocal harmonies – "The BeeKeepers are the best buzz in town."  

"The BeeKeepers's voice-forward production technique is perfectly conceived; their honest lyricality is impossible to resist, and their melodic instincts are well-articulated by the guitar as well."  (Akademia Magazine)

Winners of the May 2017 Akademia Music Awards for Best Folk/Singer-Songwriter EP, Amanda “Mandy” Sullivan, Sylvie Abate and Phred Mileski “display dense and diverse instrumental ability”" on guitar, classical guitar, bass, u-bass, merlin, banjo, accordion, piano, hand-percussion, ukulele - everything in the kitchen sink!  (Sylvie Abate is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music; Mandy Sullivan is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music and Phred Mileski graduated Connecticut College.  All three women are classical trained musicians.
"Stylistically, The BeeKeepers, billed as alternative folk music, amalgamate a variety of stylistic flavors into their sound, including folk, pop, alt rock, bluegrass and blues. This blending of genres, along with gorgeously tight vocal harmonies, results in a hearing-secret-harmonies effluvium that goes beyond delightful and enters the realm of fabulous." (The Huffington Post) 

Each woman is a songwriter, arranger and producer in her own right and together The BeeKeepers write, record, produce and perform original music influenced by Americana, Acoustic-Rock, Folk and Blues.  In addition to their original songs, The BeeKeepers also pay tribute to the female artists who influenced their careers, performing cover songs by Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin and Odetta  to name a few for a truly captivating musical experience."

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

MusicFest 2018: Meet The Bossa Nova Project

The Bossa Nova Project was founded by Brazilian singer-songwriter/pianist, Isabella Mendes, with the intent to bring people together to share happiness through music. The project was inspired by the original Bossa Nova movement which took place during the Brazilian "Golden Era" in the 60’s, when Brazil was booming, culturally, socially and economically. Bossa Nova brought people together through the music.  It began as a collaboration between friends and musicians, coming together without pretense or ego but more with a genuine interest in the new music.  Musicians such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Nara Leão, Carlos Lyra, João Gilberto and others, would gather at each other's apartments to play and sing songs that celebrated the beach, beauty, "Carioca" life and nature while speaking of Love and Happiness.  The goal of the Bossa Nova Project is to replicate that original intent: to share beautiful music with others in order to bring people together and to bring Happiness to the world. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

MusicFest 2018: Meet OPEN ROAD

In the quiet New England woods of Weston, Wilton, Redding and New Milford CT, music has brought together five folks who resonate a true love of quality acoustic music and original lyrics.  OPEN ROAD is Sue Broudy, Nancy Burger, Scott Weber, James Allen and Dan Berg – five musicians and songwriters who found each other while working their craft and giving back to their communities.
Excellent musicianship and well-crafted lyrics are a trademark of OPEN ROAD, but you’ll also hear great harmonies.  OPEN ROAD collaborates regularly, their music is authentic, joyful and uplifting.
OPEN ROAD performs regularly bringing their unique blend of soulful original tunes.