Classically trained pianist Peter Favilla loves a challenge.
At last year’s Morristown Onstage contest, he was a finalist with three competing acts. He played a soulful ballad with one singer, a swinging pop number with a combo… and, as a last-minute replacement for an ailing accompanist, he delivered flawless backing for a chanteuse doing a hit from Showboat.
How do you top that? Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
Favilla has assembled some of Greater Morristown’s top talent–a group he calls the Morris Music Coalition–to perform the classic 1979 album this weekend, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, at the Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre in Morris Township.
He can’t wait.
“Making music is the best feeling in the world. Nothing beats it,” said Favilla, who turns 26 on concert day.
He only discovered The Wall– a rock opera ranked No. 87 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 albums–four years ago. A friend played the recording for him.
“I said, ‘What was that?’ I made my friend play it for me again,” Favilla recounted.
Loosely based on Pink Floyd members Syd Barrett and Roger Waters, the story’s protagonist, Pink, explores the wall-like isolation of a jaded rock star.
“The character was ambiguous, yet seemed so personal…I was so emotionally invested in this, it’s ridiculous,” said Favilla, a Penn State graduate and former instructor at the Original Music School in Morristown.
His hand-picked Coalition began rehearsals in March. The concert includes costumes and special lighting, incorporating elements from the 1982 movie version of The Wall, he said.
Doors open at 1 pm, with the five-piece Ray Milici jazz ensemble kicking off the show at 1:30 pm. The Wall starts at 3:30 pm. All the $50 seats are sold out, but some $80 V.I.P. tickets remain. They include admission to an 8 pm rehearsal on Friday, Oct. 25.
Some of the Coalition players will be familiar to patrons of Morristown’s restaurant- and open mic scenes.
Sharon Brackelmanns and Dawn Shaw Patrick are from Soular Bone. John Soward (Spare Tire Band), Karen Klineberg Rosen (Big Radio) and Dan Baldan have competed in Morristown Onstage.
There is Wayne Lyle from Golden Boyz, Cristina Palazzo Cappi of the Str8up Band, David Benson from Divided Sky, and Marc Kaufman of the Sideshow Kings. John McCormack, Drew Nagel and Riley Seiders round out the band, with Billy Tanglewood and Lennie Del Duca handling the sound.
Favilla, a semifinalist in the 27th World Music Competition in Vienna last year, envisions a rotating roster for future productions of the Morris Music Coalition. Look for a Phish tribute by Divided Sky this winter.
“I want to combine local venues, businesses and talent, and let the town see we have very special artists, and can put on big events like this,” Favilla said.
Of course, this requires performers who love a challenge.
“I want to help them reach a larger musical audience,” Favilla said. “I want everyone to be able to feel like a rock star.”
The Morris Music Coalition presents Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, at the Morris Museum’s Bickford Theater. V.I.P. tickets: $80. Doors open at 1 pm, with the Ray Milici jazz ensemble opening at 1:30 pm and The Wall at 3:30 pm. At 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morris Township, (973) 971-3706.