Jon Brooks, with Fred Gillen, Jr.
- Common Ground Coffeehouse at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings-on-Hudson NY
Members of the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, a Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, created the Rock & Soul Revue to play at Common Ground Coffeehouse in the fall of 2005. The initial performance was a wild, joyous success, and since then, the group has taken on a life of its own, growing in size, and inspiring and attracting new members from the congregation. Keyboardist-bandleader Ray Castoldi notes that `revue’ really captures the band’s capacity for change; different guest performers and new regulars keep the sound fresh and fluid. The band also offers a spiritual venue for creative self-expression, fun and community building, “though we don’t play traditional church songs”. Our sound reflects “the deep, religious fervor and emotion that is the driving force of soul”, Castoldi explains, but ” we play the songs of this world—not the next.” And to hear those songs, you can’t help but get up and dance! Rock & Soul members come from all walks of life. High school students, filmmakers, graphic designers, scientists, Jungian analysts, speech pathologists, teachers, and computer programmers make up the band’s unique voice. The band is always ready to embrace original tunes and arrangements, and favorites such as Iko Iko and Shake a Tail Feather have inspired members to challenge themselves musically.
Common Ground Community Concerts is a grassroots music production and event planning organization based in Westchester County NY. For the past 13 years, Common Ground has produced its flagship Common Ground Coffeehouse series, sponsored by (and hosted by) The First Unitarian Society of Westchester, in Hastings-on-Hudson NY.
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