Gloucester, VA (PRWEB) April 19, 2009
In the winter of 2005, The Syn's founding member, songwriter, and lead vocalist Steve Nardelli participated in a phone interview with his good friend and elementary school teacher Steve Sikes-Nova. Sikes-Nova had taught in the rural Gloucester County, Virginia, public school system for over 10 years at the time and had met and befriended Nardelli through contacts via Sikes-Nova's internet radio station. Despite being in San Francisco for a concert, Nardelli committed to share his belief in the importance of music in a well-rounded education with Sikes-Nova's internet radio audience through talking with Sikes-Nova, his school's community education coordinator, and his school's music teacher. Nardelli promised then and there that, should The Syn return live to the east coast in the future, the band would play a benefit concert for music and arts education in Gloucester County.
"The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of the nation, is close to the center of a nation's purpose - and is a test to the quality of a nation's civilization." -- John F. Kennedy
Fast-forward three years. On April 27 & 28, 2009, at the beginning of an intensive tour schedule that takes The Syn cross country and back, Nardelli makes good on his promise. The Syn, whose core 2009 lineup consists of Nardelli, Francis Dunnery (It Bites; The Robert - Led Zeppelin - Plant Band), and Tom Brislin (Yes' Symphonic Tour - sat in for the legendary Rick Wakeman on keyboards; Spiraling) and joined by both Brett Kull and Paul Ramsey of prog rock's Echolyn, play Gloucester High School's 800 seat auditorium. It turns out that Nardelli's promise to Sikes-Nova - now in his 15th year of teaching in the Gloucester County Public School System - could not have been realized at a better moment in time. In this tough economy, and with the local newspaper sporting a headline which read 'Bleak Picture given of County's Finances' (Gloucester-Mathews Gazette Journal, 3/5/09), the money raised by these two benefit concerts might just make a substantial difference in the opportunities available for students of music, arts, and media education at Gloucester High School in 2009.
The Syn to Work Directly with Students in Unique Interactive Workshops
In addition to the two evening concerts, Nardelli and The Syn will also deliver music history, music performance, songwriting, and even business education content to the students of Gloucester High during the day on April 28th. The band is very excited about participating in these intimate workshops and about talking with GHS students in small group settings. The band even plans to eat lunch with GHS students in their cafeteria!
Besides being world-class musicians, both Nardelli and Dunnery own their own media companies - Umbrello Music Entertainment, LLC, and Aquarian Nation Records, respectively - which opens up workshop topics to include both the artistic and business aspects of making and distributing music in the new millennium. Steve Nardelli states, "Francis, Tom, Brett, Paul and I are really looking forward to talking about all of what we do directly with the students."
Nardelli's own sessions will also provide a unique window into what it was like being at the center of events during the formative years of modern rock 'n roll as he will no doubt tell about The Syn opening for Jimi Hendrix, The Pink Floyd, and other iconic British bands at the famous Marquee Club in London in the late 1960s.
The Gloucester performances and The Syn's 'Big Sky Tour 2009' will feature songs both from the eclectic new 'Big Sky' album and from The Syn's 2005 classic CD 'Syndestructible'. Segments of both the concerts and the interactive student workshops will be filmed for eventual broadcast on Nardelli's cutting-edge HD-IPTV portal, Umbrello.tv (http://umbrello.tv).
The Syn are also scheduled to perform live and unplugged on Gloucester County's WXGM-FM radio morning show and will both perform and act as guest DJ's on WRRW-FM Williamsburg, VA's public radio station's 'Revolutionary Radio' show.
Steve Nardelli's lyrics say it best, "I've got love right here in my heart, and I've got hope that won't fade away; I've got faith that stands me apart, and I've got dreams to show me the way." Steve Nardelli, Big Sky, 2009, Umbrello Records.
Review of 'Big Sky' by The Syn - Music and Education as Partners for Positive Change
The Syn's new 2009 album 'Big Sky' takes the band's benchmark 2005 offering 'Syndestructible' to the next level with both a new thematic urgency and a broader and more widely accessible melodic direction. Syn founding member, lead vocalist, and songwriter Steve Nardelli stays true to his classic themes of the power of dreams and aspirations; to his belief that everyone has worth and that everyone matters; and to his conviction that hope and love spring eternal. However, although "There is a bigger sky, there is an ocean wide, and it's waiting" there is now "a city burned" and it is " time for renewal, no hesitating." The songs that Nardelli wrote for 'Big Sky' flow seamlessly into each other and form a coherent, positive, yet increasingly alarmed and alarming impression about the direction that the world around him is taking. While Nardelli sings that action must be taken now rather than later lest we lose our "chance to get it right," he also sings in songs like 'Madonna and Child' and 'Milo' about his and everyone's need for shelter from the storm.
A lot has happened to both the world and to Nardelli personally since The Syn's first full album and the band's first music in almost 40 years, 'Syndestructible', almost broke the Billboard top 100 in 2005-6. For 2009, Nardelli has put together a totally new band and although progressive rock fans will find much to really enjoy here, The Syn have definitely moved in a new direction which lies much closer to Nardelli's musical roots in the late 1960s. 'Big Sky' showcases Steve Nardelli's top-tier singing with his smoky voice and his confident phrasing, but its broader 2009 palette now reflects the influences of Motown, jazz, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan. Before Yes there was The Syn, but now in a much more subtle way. And this is a very good thing. For even though there is enough musical firepower in this new lineup to vie for the lead position with Nardelli's inspired songwriting with both guitarist Francis Dunnery and keyboardist Tom Brislin as core members of The Syn, Dunnery's excellent production keeps the focus squarely on Nardelli, his voice, and his lyrical and thematic vision. And the addition of backing vocalist Dorie Jackson - who asked to come on board the project late after she heard some of 'Big Sky's songs performed live - is simply brilliant.
As a special, general, and gifted educator with over 15 years of teaching experience in Virginia's public schools and as a social work clinician who has provided clinical and counseling services to vastly different populations and ages in diverse settings, I find 'Big Sky' to be music that supports, inspires, at times comforts, at times confronts, yet primarily provides an important reality-focused wake-up call to all of us that the time for sitting on the sidelines is well past. Our world is hurting and requires both focused energy and direct, positive action taken by both our youth and our mentors. For while the Steve Nardelli of 2005's 'Syndestructible' told young people that "in the City of Dreams, dreams come true" and that "nobody will fail", 2009 has Nardelli penning an album-length challenge which states that although we can still "find a new reality and realize our dreams" we are clearly "living in dangerous times."
When all is said and done, it is Steve Nardelli's 1960s-in-the-1990s message of hope and love that really shines through in 'Big Sky', however. For while the "Devils and Demons" of a world in crisis are inescapably here to "try and drag us under", Nardelli sings
"I've got love right here in my heart
And I've got hope that won't fade away
And I've got faith that stands me apart
And I've got dreams to show me the way"
"Through the thunder and the lightning and the storms of life
Through the battles and the fighting
And the struggles and the strife
Through the winning and the losing
It will be all right
In the darkest tunnel
There will be light."
'Big Sky' concludes with the beautifully penned and sung
"Love is the reason
Love is the reason we survive;
Love is the reason, we're alive."
'Big Sky' by The Syn on Umbrello Records, 2009; a clear and compelling 10 out of 10.
-- Steve Sikes-Nova, M.Ed., M.S.W.
Steve Sikes-Nova - firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Hill - email@example.com
Gloucester H.S. Benefit Concert Ticket Information:
Tickets sales will begin as of 8 AM on Tuesday, April 14, 2009.
Ticket contact person: Diane Lofurno, Gloucester High School Bookkeeper, 804-693-7680
Special Benefit Concert Prices:
$5 for GHS students (with the presentation of a valid GCPS student ID card),
$10 for general admission
100% of the ticket price will go to music and arts programs @ Gloucester High School.
The Syn 'Big Sky' Tour 2009 Sponsors:
Classic Artists Today