Band on the run: Morristown talent show kids get break from Apollo Theater

Art of Play at the Apollo: (L-R) Domenico Randazzo, T.J. Coon, Ricky Webber and Tyler Volk. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Art of Play at the Apollo: (L-R) Domenico Randazzo, T.J. Coon, Ricky Webber and Tyler Volk. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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The eighth-grade quartet Art of Play won’t have to choose between hometown glory and the Big Apple after all.

Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater has pushed back the band’s next competition there so the boys can compete in Morristown’s Got Talent! on Feb. 29.

Art of Play  won its first round in the Apollo’s $10,000 amateur night contest last week–advancing to a second round that was scheduled for the same night as the Morristown show.  Tanya Webber, mom of keyboard player Ricky Webber, said the Apollo agreed on Tuesday to postpone the return engagement until May 9.

“I was really happy and relieved,” said guitarist Domenico Randazzo, who enjoyed playing at the Apollo yet did not wish to abandon hometown fans at MGT.

“We wanted to play there again. We were confident playing in that environment,” he said of the Apollo. But if push came to shove? “You gotta establish your fan base before you branch out.”

    Art of Play at the Apollo: (L-R) Domenico Randazzo, T.J. Coon, Ricky Webber and Tyler Volk. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Art of Play at the Apollo: (L-R) Domenico Randazzo, T.J. Coon, Ricky Webber and Tyler Volk. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The Apollo stage helped launch careers of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson…and Whitney Houston, the Newark sensation who died last weekend at age 48.

A music video of Whitney recorded at the Apollo now strikes Domenico as “kind of creepy, kind of weird.”

The band experienced a few butterflies before last week’s show, he said, but “once we got onstage, it clicked.

“To tell you the truth, it was all just a blur. I went out there and tried to get the crowd involved, too, so they would vote for us later.”

Domenico, Ricky and T.J. Coon–classmates at Frelinghuysen Middle School in Morris Township–and their drummer Tyler Volk of the Randolph Middle School will be vying with 15 other finalists for the $1,000 top prize at Morristown’s Got Talent!

At Morristown’s Mayo Performing Arts Center this month, Art of Play plans to push the envelope with a five-minute medley of Come Together by the Beatles,  Oh My Gosh by Usher and Lose Yourself  by Eminem. Domenico, who drums in his school jazz band, will trade his guitar for drums midway through the medley so Tyler can take center stage.

That’s a lot of moving parts.

“It’s really risky,” Domenico acknowledged. “But that’s part of our gimmick. We try to show that we’re versatile, and can do different things at different times. That adds to our show. It’s going to be our X-factor.”

MORE ABOUT MORRISTOWN’S GOT TALENT 2012

MORRISTOWN’S GOT TALENT 2011

 

 

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. These kids are awesome. I am a musician from Morristown and it’s great to see what they’ve accomplished so far. I love watching kids play music because they remind us seasoned pros how it’s supposed to be done: with passion and fun!
    Keep it up, Dudes! You are already stars in my eyes.

  2. BTW….if you check out the band on YouTube and do some research you will see they have original songs that are amazing! Check them out.

  3. Frank get a clue. they are eighth graders. I don’t see you winning anything- Yes I know you are going to tell me you won all sorts of contest, uh huh sure. Bitter much? These guys rock

  4. It’s sad that these kids are so aware of their own gimmick. This would be great if they wrote their own music instead of doing some Glee-esque mash up of other artists work. Doesn’t anyone write their own stuff anymore? Win a contest doing that. It’s a lot harder.

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