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Saturday, November 15, 2014

EXCLUSIVE Q&A with The Salvatones Part 1

This Q&A was my first done live. I thoroughly enjoyed this as Sal and Daniel of the Salvatones were such personable persons and our interview was great fun. We were thrown out of PJ Clark's, where I intended to conduct the interview (well, not really, but you can't have a table there and order only coffee). So, we ended up at Toasties across the street, on the upper east side, which the guys liked and so did I. An auspiciously down-to-earth environment for a couple of down-to-earth guys, the founders of The Salvatones. The final edit I did was too long for one post, so I've split it into two parts. The Salvatones' The Many Sounds of Christmas will be performed on December 21st and 22nd at historic St. Peter's Church.

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: You're both so much younger than I expected! Do you mind if I ask how old you are?
Salvatore Diana: 39.
Daniel Brondel: 44, actually, so we're middle-aged.
DBB: Daniel, do I detect a European accent?
DB: Yes, I was born and raised in France.

DBB: Holiday season's upon us and, with it, The Many Sounds of Christmas. What can you tell us about your show?
DB: As the title implies, it's a concert with different manifestations of Christmas music also featuring organ, a string orchestra along with our vocal ensemble.
SD: There are so few downtown offerings in lower Manhattan, so this is something unique.
DB: Something fresh and new downtown.
SD: Which is experiencing a major housing and business boom right now, so it's a perfect time for our show.

DBB: I understand your first cd is also about to be released.
SD: "Wonderful World" is the title of it. We cover that classic Louis Armstrong song on it in a totally fresh, new style. The album captures all our signature repertoire with something for the holidays. All things classical, jazzy and songs about New York City (arranged by Daniel). He reconstructed "Sidewalks of New York...."
DB: There's currently no sheet music...
SD:  Reconstructed it from an existing NYC Public Library copy of the refrain and listened to various singers throughout the 1920s-40s and arranged the whole thing for acapella choir.
DB: It's eclectic and a perfect introduction to the group. All of our singers are classically trained.

DBB: When and how did your group come together?
SD: It was founded by Daniel and I. My day job is creative director at an ad agency. My boss was looking for a small vocal group and I pulled one together. I needed to name it, expecting it would be a one-night thing.
DB: We had such a blast, we decided to keep doing this.
SD: This was all about five years ago. And we had such positive feedback, we decided to bring in a few more singers and build our repertoire. This year, we became a non-profit organization.
DB: Ours was a creative experiment to cross the barrier that makes classical a niche market.
SD: We've also, partnered with other ensembles. Like, this year, the string orchestra.

DBB: You also do private parties and corporate events. How does the experience of performing at these various functions onstage differ from being in concert?
DB: Good question. It depends on the event, I think. For example, we sang at two weddings where we were to be heard but not seen.
SD: Trying to create an experience, not to star at these events.
DB: Music has so many different functions in our lives.

[More to come in Part 2. Not to be missed!]

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