June 23, 2018

It's a Heritage Days Homecoming Party

Townies to Rock the Crowd


"I am so excited to be returning home with my new band, The Pete Silva Project. When I was first approached about the opportunity, I said yes without even looking at a contract. I knew in my heart that it would be a “Townie Homecoming” for me, one that I’ve thought about over the years," said 1975 EPHS graduate Pete Silva. Silva, of the Pete Silva Project, was invited to perform in the revamped East Providence Heritage Days Festival this summer. "I was thrilled when Alba Curti, the incredibly talented event organizer, asked me to participate. I said, 'are you kidding? Of course! I’m honored!' And that’s how I feel about playing the Heritage Festival. I am truly honored and blessed," said Silva.

Pete Silva has stayed busy since high school, mostly associated with music. "I’ve done a lot of things since high school. My dad taught me to keep moving, stay productive, and to make a difference, so I’ve always been busy with opportunities. I spent a lot of time doing studio work, and I’ve been a weekend jock at 94HJY for almost 27 years. I teach high school English and Media Studies as well," said the writer/musician/teacher.

Silva has vivid memories of his years at EPHS. "I’m a proud Townie graduate of the class of 1975, though I’m not so sure they were as proud of me as I am to be a Townie," Silva joked. "In high school I played in every group and at every opportunity I could find. In my junior year I joined a band with guys who graduated a few years before me. We were called Justus, and we did pretty well. I was playing nightclubs while still in high school (thankfully I looked older and no one checked my ID!). They waited for me to graduate and we ended up going on the road for quite some time."

The Pete Silva Project has several other Townies in the popular band. Drumer, Paul Furtado, keyboard player Bruce Zarembka and Riverside Middle School music teacher John Baldaia are in the band. Baldaia was a recent inductee in the RI Music Hall of Fame. "We call Bruce (Zarembka) the 'Mayor' of the band," smiled Silva. Rounding out the band is the talented guitarist Bill Lehourites from Cranston, and singer and bass player Kimberly Hallman from North Kingstown.

"My personal favorite genre of music is tough to pinpoint. I love everything. But when all is said and done, I always go back to my roots. I call it the Four B’s: Beatles, Bruce (Springsteen), Bacharach (Burt), and Bossa Nova. Ultimately, I’m a Beatle fanatic, though," Silva added. The band plans a show of originals, rock & roll classics and Springsteen, Stones, Beatles, etc. that will keep music fans dancing away at Pierce.

Pete Silva expressed gratitude toward his EPHS teachers. "Their love and the lessons taught have stayed with me to this very day. Mr. Burke, our principal, was so kind to me. Mr. Ramos was the disciplinarian, but you never doubted that he loved you! I might not have made it to graduation without the unwavering support of my guidance counselor, Mr. Sprague. Mr. Donovan in the AV department really fired up my love of all things radio. And the music department, what can I say? I had three really beautiful, kind, nurturing teachers in Mr. Pavao with his love of all things musical, and his hilarious sense of humor; and Mr. Fairbanks and Ms. Fontes for their extraordinary support for a daydreaming kid like me. As a matter of fact, I still use Mr. Fairbanks’ words of wisdom with voice students. When I went to him for singing lesson, he asked me why I wanted them. I replied, “Because I can’t sing.” He said, “Nonsense! If you can talk, you can sing!” That really struck home with me. His wisdom stays with me every day," said a grateful former student.

Silva, who now lives in Hope Valley, RI, is in East Providence often. "I never ever forget my roots. My band practices in a facility in East Providence, and my mom still lives in the city. So really I’m always “home,” so to speak. I’d miss it if I couldn’t be. I’d always find some reason to sneak back into town to see all the friends and familiar places that have helped shape my life."

The Pete Silva Project has been generating lots of interest on social media for their Heritage Days appearance. "What a thrill it is for me and the band to come home for the Heritage Festival. It's going to be an incredible Townie Weekend, and we look forward to seeing you all soon," the singer, writer, teacher said wistfully. The Pete Silva Project will perform on Sunday, July 16th at 7 pm. A Townie Homecoming weekend for sure.

Townie Pat Lowell To Perform
Popular acoustic guitarist/vocalist Pat Lowell will kick off Friday night, July 14th at 7 pm. Lowell, a 1995 EPHS graduate, has been playing acoustic guitar and singing for 15 years in venues across the region. Lowell has an eclectic range of oldies to top 40 to reggae, blues and everything in between. "Pat will get you up dancing for sure," said Alba Curti of the Heritage group. "I am honored and excited to be playing music at the field where I grew up hanging with friends and playing baseball," Pat Lowell told The Reporter. "I appreciate the invitation to play. Thanks to the committee and to Crushed Velvet.

Crushed Velvet
After Pat Lowell, Crushed Velvet will perform at 7:30 pm on Friday night. "We play all the music your parents told you not to listen to! Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Foghat, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Queen and more," says the band's promo for the festival.

Black & White Band
Rhode Island's premiere swing-blues / roots-rock trio, will kick off Heritage Fest on Saturday, July 15th at 5pm. Since 1990, the band has adorned the stages of venues throughout New England, bringing forth their unique blend of high energy swing-blues and roots rock & roll. Among their achievements, Black & White have performed at the prestigious Boston Blues Festival, and have had the honor of sharing billing with some of music history's top performers. Additionally, the band was nominated in the 2000, 2002, 2003 & 2005 Providence Phoenix Best Music Poll - Best Blues/R&B Act Category.

Merchants Of Cool
This band was an idea that came about in the spring of 2011 to guitarist Mike Silva. He was looking for another project that would entertain people, make them dance and give them a lot of good memories. With Bad Company and Foreigner's vast array of hit songs, it seemed like a great idea. The band plays at 8 pm on July 15th.

The Kelly Girls
In celebration of our Celtic/Irish/Scottish roots, HeritageFest 2017 will feature The Kelly Girls on Sunday, July 16th at 4pm. This all-girl group is comprised of seasoned musicians skilled in banjo, bodhran, guitar and harmonica. Their humor and brilliant harmonies compliment their tremendous virtuosity.

Island Breeze
Island Breeze with Becky Bass on steel pan and vocals is an amazing combo of talent and good vibes that will transport you to the Caribbean. Catch this dynamic trio as they perform fun reggae, calypso, and popular tunes as well as original music on Sunday, July 16th at 5:30pm.

Violin River Band
The Violin River Band with members of the locally famous RI Music Hall of Fame band - RIZZZ, explores the acoustic & electric sounds of the Grateful Dead. They perform at 10 pm on July 15th.

David Tessier's All-Stars
The multi-talented David Tessier and his band of All-Star Stars, with keyboardist, Townie Jon Patrick Brennan, will close out HeritageFest 2017 on Sunday, July 16th beginning at 8:45pm. In addition to his acting skills David was the former music director at both Trinity Repertory and the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre and is the present music director for King Richard’s Faire. The band will perform some great originals and covers.

Heritage Fest Music Schedule

Friday, July 14th, Festival Hours 6-11pm
7:00-7:30pm Pat Lowell (Acoustic)
7:30/9:30pm Crushed Velvet

Saturday, July 15th Festival Hours 3-11pm
5-6:30pm Black & White
7-7:30pm Bellydancing Sarah and Company
8-9:30pm Merchants of Cool
10-11pm Violin River

Sunday, July 16th Festival Hours 3-10pm
4:00-5:00pm The Kelly Girls
5:30-6:30pm The Island Breeze
7:00-8:15pm The Pete Silva Project
8:45-10:00pm David Tessier All-Stars



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