The sounds of live music coming from Roger Sherman Baldwin Park can only mean one thing: Greenwich Town Party is once again kicking off Memorial Day Weekend. For the ninth consecutive year, the GTP will showcase the talents of legendary bands, as well as local musicians of all ages. This year, seven bands with Greenwich roots and familiar names will perform on the Town Stage at the annual Greenwich Town Party (GTP), the all-day, family music festival set for Saturday, May 25 at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park. The local bands are: Greenwich High School Jazz Ensemble, RipChord – Rock Ensemble of the 102d Army Band, Mare Andrews, Basso & the New Frogs, Rusty Gear, Sun Kings – A Beatles Tribute, and Charlie King & the Next Big Thing.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd will headline the event from the Main Stage. Fellow Hall of Famers The Beach Boys; Grammy-nominated, New Orleans band Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue; pop-country singer/songwriter Caroline Jones; and local classic rock favorite 8Track Band will also perform on the Main Stage.
The annual event brings multiple generations of Greenwich residents together to celebrate town pride and the spirit of giving through live music, local food favorites, and family-fun activities. The second stage at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, the Town Stage, was created to celebrate the diverse and abundant talent within the Greenwich community. The Town Stage offers the opportunity for local musicians of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels to have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to open for world-renowned artists.
“Year after year, we continue to be impressed by the wide range of musical talent we have in our town,” said Ray Rivers, co-president of the GTP. “Friends, families and neighbors pack the park to see these awesome bands perform on the Town Stage throughout the day. We can’t wait for this year’s line-up of talent.”
Greenwich High School Jazz Ensemble The Greenwich High School Jazz Ensemble is a premier group that has been nationally recognized for performing at a high level of excellence. Their ability to master an extensive repertoire representing different historical jazz eras and styles has impressed judges and audiences alike. The Jazz Ensemble has received many honors throughout its long history. Some highlights include performances in Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Rose Hall as finalists in Lincoln Center’s National Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition.
RipChord – Rock Ensemble of the 102d Army Band
The RipChord – Rock Ensemble of the 102d Army Band is the official band of the Connecticut National Guard comprised entirely of citizen soldiers whose vocational backgrounds include professional musicians, students, teachers, law enforcement personnel, and business professionals. These 10 soldiers, including Greenwich resident Staff Sergeant Felix Guiffra, train together one weekend per month and two weeks per year to prepare for concerts where they perform classic hit songs from the 1970s through today’s Top 40. RipChord honors all soldiers and veterans who have served and are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Two members from RipChord will launch the day’s performances by singing “The National Anthem” from the Main Stage at 11 a.m.
Mare Andrews is a 21-year-old singer-songwriter who was raised in Greenwich. Her single “Our Night” was released internationally last year, and her EP will be released this summer. Andrews’ vivacious, upbeat dance tunes can also be transposed into slow, melodic piano ballads, making every performance unique, with hints of covers and a capella as well. Andrews attended the University of St. Andrew’s School of Business Management, and will attend the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music in the Fall to continue pursuing her career in music.
Basso & the New Frogs
Basso & the New Frogs is an eclectic rock band formed by brothers Mark and Mikey J. Basso. With a little help from their friends Tom Alpert, James Berge and Dan Abaroa, and sister Lisa Basso Mangan, the band put together an exciting musical adventure performing, what they call, “the best frog rock in Connecticut and likely the world.” Their progressive rock concept album, Frog Songs, blends musical influences from classic rock, jazz, funk, and heavy metal. The players have performed everywhere from small clubs to NFL stadiums, featured in bands with the likes of Jaimoe of the Allman Brothers, David Spinozza, Lou Marini, and opened for acts like The Breakfast.
Rusty Gear Rusty Gear, a Greenwich resident, is a singer-songwriter who leads a collaboration of great musicians to create and record original country, blues and southern rock music. His first album, Happy Ending, was released early in 2018. After his first single, “Wondering Why,” was released in August, it peaked at number one on Europe’s Hotdisc Top 40 country chart and reached number 54 on Music Row’s country breakout chart.
Sun Kings – A Beatles Tribut
A Beatles-inspired band, Sun Kings performs fan-favorite songs from one of the most influential bands of all time. Sun Kings will perform the Beatles’ top hits as well as some of their lesser- known tunes spanning their 1963-1970 recording career. The band, including Greenwich residents Frank D’Andrea, Frank Riccio, Joe Roberti and Gary Kristoph, is known for their attention to detail duplicating the Beatles’ tight harmonies, fancy guitar work and solid backbeat.
Charlie King & The Next Big Thing
King is a lifelong resident of Greenwich who has played in local cover bands since his debut at Hegarty’s on Railroad Avenue in the mid-1970s. King has also pursued his passion for writing and recording his own songs. King’s music varies from bluesy rock to electric funk to ballads. His band, The Next Big Thing, is comprised of friends who are all professional musicians. Drummer Stu Stahr grew up in Greenwich with King and they started playing in Greenwich bands together when they were 15, more than 40 years ago. Stahr and fellow band members Joe Meo and Damon Grant all teach music to students in town.
From April 24 to May 10, the Greenwich Town Party will host its fifth annual Community Heroes Campaign for the people who help make Greenwich great. The GTP encourages residents to nominate someone who goes above and beyond, inspires others and has had a positive impact on the community. It can be anyone who lives, works or volunteers in Greenwich. All hero nominations will be reviewed upon submission and featured on greenwichtownparty.org. Fifty heroes will be randomly selected to win a pair of general admission tickets.
Neighbor and Sponsor passes can still be purchased at greenwichtownparty.org. In order to purchase passes, one must be a Greenwich resident, Greenwich business owner, or employee.
For additional event information, to sign up for email updates about the Greenwich Town Party, or to make donations, please visit greenwichtownparty.org