|Thursday, July 19 Fairview Avenue|
Due to the illness of Jody Sandhaus, her concert on July 19th has been cancelled. To Jody and Pete Malinerverni: "Get well and God Bless both of you from all of us in Norwood and Potsdam" - Joe Liotta
Update: Jody Sandhaus passed away at Sloan-Kettering on Tuesday, July 17th. Her memorial service is Thursday, July 19th, the day she was scheduled to perform in Norwood. Our sincere condolences are offered to her husband, Pete Malinverni and to her family.
Fairview Avenue features two distinct lead singers, harmonies from two-part to four-part, passionate instrumental picking, original tunes from almost every member's pen, and a professional and fun stage presence. They also play some non-bluegrass songs in decidedly bluegrass fashion with tons of enthusiasm and energy. The band features Scott Hopkins on banjo and harmony vocals. Scott writes for the group and keeps the band running like a well-oiled 5-stringed instrument. Tony Califano plays the mandolin and is the band's primary lead singer and song writer. Tony's vocal style and musical approach bring an edge that is different but complimentary to the styles of the other band members. Brig McCutcheon plays rhythm guitar, sings lead and harmony vocals and lives around the corner from Scott. Joe Gumpper is a classically trained violinist and jazz fiddler and uses his great tone and intonation while bringing his own unique style to the group. Members of the band share playing bass.
Scott Hopkins began playing the tuba, bass and banjo at age 15. Shortly thereafter he realized that music was his future and that he wanted to have a career in music. After immersing himself in music study throughout high school, he went on to the Crane School of Music as a tuba major but formed a Bluegrass group to continue his banjo development. Hopkins was a winner of the Crane Concerto Competition on tuba in 1995-96 and graduated in 1996 with a degree in music education and a certificate of tuba performance. Shortly after graduating college, he joined the Vermont based Bluegrass band, Breakaway, and his real Bluegrass career began. During his five-year tenure with Breakaway, Hopkins contributed original banjo instrumentals on two recording projects and became an integral part of the band's sound. After moving to the Albany, NY area in 2006 he decided he wanted to start his own Bluegrass band and the plan for Fairview Avenue was born.
Tony Califano has been a musician since the age of 8, beginning with piano lessons, adding saxophone in the fourth grade and finally taking up the guitar in middle school. He spent his high-school years playing along with classic rock CDs in his bedroom and making demos on his home computer. Following High School, Tony pursued a Bachelor’s degree in music studio production at SUNY Purchase. While at Purchase Tony worked as a student engineer/producer, recording various groups and individuals in a variety of styles. He also produced a full length CD of his own music. And it was in this world of expanding horizons that he first fell in love with the music of Bill Monroe. After returning to the Capital District in 2005, Tony decided to pursue a career as a music educator and began studying full time to work towards this goal. He honed his skills as classical pianist, playing bass with an eclectic folk trio, and fronting a rock group on the side. In 2008 Tony responded to a ‘musician wanted’ ad placed by Scott and the rest as they say is history. Though he was originally playing guitar with the group, after Morrie was brought on Tony switched to the Mandolin and has been improving steadily over time.
Brig McCutheon was born and raised in Altamont, NY on Lincoln Avenue (just down the road from Fairview Avenue) to music loving parents whose tastes gave him an appreciation for multiple genres. While Dad blasted classical and jazz every morning, Mom was singing off-key to Roberta Flack and the Beatles after school. Brig started playing the alto sax in fourth grade and sat first chair in band through his senior year. After graduating from college with a teaching degree, he loaded up everything he could carry on his back at a dead run (including an acoustic guitar) into a 1984 VW Vanagon and moved to Salt Lake City, UT. On Sunday mornings as most of the state was attending church, Brig would head to the mountains to ski, hike, or mountain bike depending on the season. It was during these adventures that he discovered the radio program, "Bluegrass Express" hosted by the "Old Man" on 90.9 KRCL FM. Amazed by the virtuosity of the musicians, the tight vocal harmonies, and the energy of tunes, he became an instant fan. Digging out that old acoustic he had stashed away, he began to teach himself the basics of bluegrass guitar, in addition to devouring the bluegrass catalog from the traditional high, dry, and lonesome crooners, to newgrass and jamgrass. Brig moved back to Altamont to start a family in 2008 and met Scott and Liz soon thereafter. In addition to sharing in the experience of raising two young children, they also bonded over bluegrass music. When Scott asked Brig to join the band in 2011, he went from being a fan of the band, to a member, and the rest is Fairview Avenue history.
Joe Gumpper decided he loved classical music when he was in the sixth grade, and thus began his violin career. Later, when he started to learn the Bach E major violin concerto in high school, he knew he would make a life with music. As a student at the Crane School of Music, Joe began to broaden his musical tastes by playing other styles of music including Jazz, American folk, and Latin American folk music. After college Joe began to teach full time and play with local groups such as Wiley Dobbs, Iowa 80, and Red Haired Strangers as well as the odd wedding or orchestra gig. Although he has spent much of his time playing and conducting classical, blues, country, and roots music, he has fallen in love with the clean stylings and the vocal sonorities of bluegrass. When he was poached by Fairview Avenue in the beginning of 2011, he decided it was a great opportunity to immerse himself into the genre. Currently, in addition to playing with Fairview Avenue, Joe teaches orchestra full time at Shenendehowa High School where he conducts three orchestras. He also has a private studio of string students and conducts the Empire State Youth Orchestra String Ensemble.
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