Written by Betsy Abraham Saturday, 16 August 2014 00:00
Sewanhaka High School alum Vince Scuderi took over the Metropolitan Room in Manhattan this past Sunday with his group, the Out of the Box Big Band.
“The concert went well, with just the right amount of fulfilled expectations and controlled and chaotic surprise to keep the audience and the musicians on the edge of their seats and always wanting more,” said Scuderi.
The Out of the Box Big Band is made up of 17 pieces, which includes five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, a piano, guitar and string bass. Sometimes, they also had a vocalist to the mix.
He says what appeals to him most about big band is its powerful sound and the variation in texture and dynamics.
“It’s hard not to be moved by it because it’s just such a big sound,” says Scuderi. “My treat is when I hear the big band go from a soft, church-like feel to something loud and blaring and brassy. When we encompass those two sounds in one piece or an evening, that’s what I enjoy.”
Scuderi grew up in the area and his childhood love of music was fostered and encouraged by his teachers at Sewanhaka.
“I was fortunate there to have some encouraging music teachers and I’m in touch with some of them to this day,” said Scuderi. One of his past teachers, Leo Ursini, even played lead alto saxophone with the band during Sunday’s show.
While big band may not be the most well-known type of music, last Sunday’s show is just one example of how Scuderi is trying to help people become more familiar with it.
“It’s a matter of exposure. We have to try as much as we can to get orchestras and big bands to go to where people don’t normally hear them. It has to be brought to the people. And more people will be wanting to find out where they can hear it. Generally if you leave it in a concert hall, it’ll become like a museum relic. We have to think of new ways to gain the public’s attention,” says Scuderi.
“Live music is exciting to people. It resonates with people in a way that digital recording doesn’t. It’s nice to have music pop up in unexpected places,” he said.
This past winter, Scuderi joined the Greater Westbury Council of the Arts, encouraged by its mission to promote the arts.
“The arts council helps do something about putting more arts into people’s lives,” he said. “One of the things that attracted me to the arts council is that we can create events that people can hopefully be interested in and enjoy.”
Find out more about Scuderi and the Out of the Box Big Band at www.outoftheboxbigband.com