This year’s Greenwich Town Party the all-day, family music festival set for Saturday, May 27, at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, is shaping up to be a true collaborative celebration, from educational initiatives with local schools to the first-ever GTP Parade and Party in the Park on May 23, to the big day itself.
This year’s New Orleans theme provides the town of Greenwich with a taste of the vibrant, music-filled streets of the Big Easy. Throughout the day, the performances will rotate from the Main Stage to the Town Stage, where seven local bands with Greenwich roots will perform, including Bennie Rose, Brunswick Music Improv, Drew Angus, Greenwich High School Jazz Ensemble, Herman & Company, Kings Highway, and Pete Francis, GTP organizers announced on Tuesday.
Representing the Color Guard, the Ninth District Veterans Association will kick off the day’s festivities at 11:00am, and from the United States Military Academy, the National Anthem will be performed by the West Point Band’s musical trio, followed by The Melody Men, singing God Bless America.
The Main Stage performances will start in the early afternoon with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Mavis Staples, The Revivalists and the “Preservation Hall Super Jam,” a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration of the best of New Orleans music. Specially curated by musical legends Ben Jaffe of Preservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB) and multi-Grammy Award winner Eric Krasno, this star-studded special event will be a party both on stage and in the crowd.
Created to celebrate talent within the Greenwich community, the Town Stage offers local musicians of all ages, backgrounds and styles the opportunity to open for world-renowned artists. This year, the GTP introduced a new educational experience, which will add a celebratory element to the Town Party and further strengthen community spirit. In April, the Preservation Hall Brass Band engaged in an education initiative with music students at Greenwich High School and Brunswick School. These award-winning musicians taught a master class in brass music, performed at all-grade assembly days and spent invaluable time sharing musical knowledge and demonstrating instrument-specific techniques with students.
These students will then participate in GTP’s first-ever, New Orleans-style Parade procession on May 23, followed by performances at the Party in the Park at Havemeyer Field, both free and non-ticketed events.
At the party on May 27, the GTP Town Stage will host a musical collaboration featuring Preservation Hall Jazz Band members and local students.
Town Stage Band Bios
Bennie Rose Growing up, Bennie Rose was constantly surrounded by music. She wrote her first song when she was 11 years old, and she says she hasn’t put the pen down since. She described her songs as telling her life’s narrative and hopes her listeners feel emotions within her lyrics, whether it be joy, heartbreak or acceptance. In addition to songwriting and performing, she loves teaching music students in Greenwich, and she and her bassist, Kurt Stoodt, will run a music camp this summer at the Greenwich Teen Center on Arch Street.
Herman & Company is a group of four experienced musicians — Herman Lammerts (keyboards), Ward Jennings (bass), Joe Taddunis (vocals and guitar), JoJo Roberti (drums) — two of whom have 45 years of combined experience in public service and private industry in Greenwich. They specialize in “high-energy classic rock,” which includes timeless classics from the 60s to the 90s. Their repertoire includes a variety of unforgettable singles ranging from intense rock to soft rock, suitable for all occasions.
Kings Highway Kings Highway formed more than eight years ago through local Greenwich friendships. Bas Hartong (lead vocals, keys harmonica), Greg Azrak (saxophone), Gerhard Gnaedig (guitar), Amory Fiore (bass guitar), Nick Barile (drums, vocals, conga), Tammy Grimes (vocals, percussion) and Chris Zadik (back-up vocals, second keys, percussion) have played almost exclusively around Fairfield County, with a diverse library containing over 93 songs. This diversity allows them to play everything from classic rock to Motown to current popular music with equal enthusiasm.
Brunswick Music Improv Led by Brunswick Upper School music teacher Shane Kirsch, Brunswick Music Improv is a group of talented young musicians on the rise. Brunswick School’s instrumental music program offers many exciting opportunities for experienced and aspiring student musicians and encourages students to embrace improvisation and composition. “We are proud and fortunate to have been involved with this festival since its inception,” says Kirsch. “It is something music students aspire to do at some point in their Upper School years.”
Greenwich High School Jazz Ensemble The Greenwich High School Jazz Ensemble is a premier group 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. They have also been selected to perform for the Connecticut Music Educators Association Convention. This group was invited to tour China, Cuba, England, Greece, and Ireland.
Pete Francis A Greenwich native, Pete Francis first came to fame in the late 1990s as a founding member of alternative roots powerhouse Dispatch, whose remarkable rise from Middlebury College to Madison Square Garden helped rewrite the rulebooks for modern indie bands. Pete is now touring in support of his most recent studio album PTRN SKY! Additionally, Pete and his wife Katie Heimbold operate a group called Dragoncrest Collective with the mantra of Community, Collaboration and Creativity.
Drew Angus Drew Angus found his love for music growing up in a house filled with the sounds of artists like Tom Petty, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. These voices, combined with Ben Rector, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and his own city life experiences, relationships and obstacles give Angus a unique and dynamic sound in today’s pop rock/singer-songwriter world, which he describes as “the intersection of Americana and Rock ‘n Roll with a little bit of Funk and Retro Soul.” He has appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and was a finalist on “American Idol.” His band includes Greenwich resident and guitarist Jeremy Goldsmith.
ABOUT THE GREENWICH TOWN PARTY
An IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Greenwich Town Party is privately funded through generous contributions from residents and businesses and, in part, through ticket sales. In the spirit of mutual generosity, the GTP encourages everyone to contribute as much as they can so the General Admission ticket prices can remain at $85. One generous Greenwich resident matches all contributions, and 75 percent of the cost of each Community ticket is generously funded by individual and corporate sponsors of the GTP. The GTP has no cost to the Town of Greenwich and is not funded by taxpayers. To stay up-to-date on the latest GTP news, please sign up for the email list on the GTP website.