Shared from the 10/23/2017 Mon Valley Independent eEdition

Twin Coaches Junior Stage Band rehearsing for debut

The youth ensemble will perform Nov. 5 at the Twin Coaches Orchestra Project dinner dance in Stockdale.


Submitted Members of the Twin Coaches Junior Stage Band rehearse with director Joe Campus. From left are Joseph Hodges, Campus, Alexie Dalrymple and Eli Alfieri. The 17-member ensemble’s first performance will be Nov. 5 in Stockdale.

The Twin Coaches Junior Stage Band has one more rehearsal before it takes the stage for the first time Nov. 5 at the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department banquet hall.

When the 17 students in grades eight through 12 perform that day alongside their mentors, the combined orchestra will represent five generations of musicians working to keep alive the spirit of the iconic former Rostraver Township supper club.

The young musicians are Nick Marucci, Jocelyn Bentley, Liz Muchesko, Brenden Brzozowski, Josh Cuss, Aiden Bradley, Warren Hammond, Max Siegert, Bryce Haynes, Devon Allen, Maya Volpe, Luca Keresko, Eli Alfieri, Alexie Dalrymple, Emily Sypolt, Justin Schumaker and Joseph Hodges.

Alexie, a Belle Vernon Area Middle School eighth-grader, has played drums for about two years, but isn’t new to the stage.

In addition to playing in her school band, Alexie has performed with Pittsburgh-based acoustic duo Perry’s Union, and she frequents local open mic nights to provide percussion accompaniment for performers.

She tested several instruments before finding her niche.

“It just seemed natural and felt like the best choice for me,” Alexie said of drums.

Although she usually sticks to pop and rock music, Alexie calls the classic Twin Coaches sound a learning experience.

Joe Campus, who began playing trumpet at the Coaches when he was 15, leads the Junior Stage Band, but Alexie is also learning from John Schmidt, who handles rhythm and percussion duties.

“It has been good and really fun so far,” she said. “I am most looking forward to the big performance.”

Alexie is the daughter of Ashley and Steve Dalrymple, who agree the junior stage band has allowed her to grow as a person and musician.

“I am most looking forward to the big performance.”

“Having her learn from these musicians is the most amazing thing,” Ashley said. “I don’t think she really grasps what she is involved with.”

Ashley said her mother and grandmother spent a lot of time at the Twin Coaches, “so it is exciting for me to have her be involved with this. It is a really big deal.”

Joseph Hodges, a Woodland Hills Junior High School seventh-grader, has been playing the piano for six years. He and his parents, Emily and Jacob, recently moved to the area from Texas. Before the move, Joseph was involved with his high school jazz band – the only underclassman in the ensemble – and the Junior Stage Band plays a similar style of music.

“It has been fun and is going really good,” he said. “I was nervous at first, but on the first day of rehearsal the piano instructor really helped me out a lot, so it made the next week a lot easier.”

Andy Yaltch works with Joseph.

Joseph’s parents, Emily and Jacob, were worried Joseph would lack musical opportunities in the Pittsburgh area.

“He has been interested in music for a long time,” Emily said. “It is a part of who he is. We were worried it might not be the same for him here, but I honestly think he has more of an opportunity to do what he loves.”

Emily said formation of the band was perfectly timed.

“We are really appreciative of the opportunity,” Emily said. “It came along at a time when it really mattered and been something that made Pittsburgh feel a little more like home.”

Mon Valley Academy for the Arts president Mark Smith said seeing the students learn from veteran musicians is important.

“This is achieving our mission of saving the music and passing it on to future generations,” Smith said of the Twin Coaches sound. “The span of music from young Joe (Hodges) to Joe Campus is five generations. That is what it is all about.”

Smith said he has been humbled by the experience.

“You can tell Joe enjoys sharing his music and talent with these kids, especially with the trumpet players,” Smith said of Campus. “I think he can really see a little part of himself in these students.”

Smith said the young musicians are impressive.

“They came in with a phenomenal reading capability, and that is a credit to their band teachers, private instructors and their own natural talent,” Smith said. “Our job was to try an expose them to actual playing conditions.”

Smith said the students are getting “the whole experience.”

Each junior stage band member will receive a $200 scholarship stipend during the Nov. 5 Twin Coaches Orchestra Project’s “Night at The Coaches” dinner dance in Stockdale.

The Junior Stage Band will perform at 3 p.m., followed by the Pete Daley Mon Valley Rockers and the Twin Coaches Orchestra featuring John Paterra, Kylie Santoro and Dr. Douglas Pepper.

Doors will open at 2 p.m. for the bring-your-own-beverage event, which will feature a buffet, music, dancing and Stoney’s Beer.

Tickets are $25 and are available in Charleroi at the Vic Vitale State Farm or Maple Creek Distributors, in Rostraver Township at Mar-Bill Jewelers, in Belle Vernon at Strive Performing Arts or by calling Smith at 724-309-0249. For information on Facebook, go to The Twin Coaches Orchestra Project site or Twin Coaches Jr. Stage Band site.

Sponsors are Frick Tri-County Federal Credit Union, Mon Valley Community Credit Union and Valley 1st Federal Credit Union.

“It has been fun and is going really good. I was nervous at first, but on thefirst day of rehearsal, the piano instructor really helped me out a lot, so it made the next week a lot easier.”

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