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Past & Present III Annual Music Festival Brings Students and Alumni Together on Stage

Past & Present III Annual Music Festival Brings Students and Alumni Together on Stage
Kelly Slonaker

The Canterbury community gathered in Maguire Auditorium on Thursday, March 5 for the third annual Past and Present Music Festival. Always a highly anticipated event, the concert offers an opportunity for students and alumni to share the stage and play music together. 

This year’s returning alumni included Willy Tully ’06 on drums, Nick Cabrera ’09 on guitar and vocals, Paul Deedon ’09 on electric bass, and Nick Yost ’08 on piano and keyboards. The four performers joined together with current Canterbury music groups including Contemporary Music Band and Jazz-Rock-Pop Ensemble to deliver a program of old classics and current favorites, during the two-hour show. Just some of the well-known hits performed included “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5, “Idontwannabeyouanymore” by Billie Eilish, “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder.

Students in each of the bands spent the past several months preparing for the show. Members of the Contemporary Music Band included Nick Graham ’21 on drums, Mark Foster ’22 on tenor sax, Fatima Nda-Isaiah ’21 and Ali King ’22 on vocals, Xavier Leone ’23 on alto sax, Sebastian Tseng ’21 on piano, Kevin Wang ’20 on guitar, and Andy Xu ’21 on trombone. The Jazz-Rock-Pop Ensemble was composed of students Ryan DeSantis ’22, Conor Koh ’23, and  Bryce Stone ’23 on trumpet; Mark Foster ’22 on tenor sax and soprano sax; Xavier Leone ’23 on alto sax; Sebastian Tseng ’21 on piano, and Andy Xu ’21 trombone.

Each of the returning alumni has forged a career in the music world and was able to share their experience and perspective with current students enrolled in music courses. Will ’06 is a member of the rock and roll band Des Rocs and has toured internationally since graduating from Canterbury. Des Rocs recently opened for the Rolling Stones at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd has asked Des Rocs to open for them at Madison Square Garden in the near future. Will has performed at Lollapalooza, Hyde Park London, and Firefly and played with big-name bands like Fall Out Boy, Weezer, and Panic! At the Disco.

Since graduating from Berklee College, MA, Nick ’09 has recorded his own full-length album (Castles, 2015), released an EP (Fools Good, 2017), and has performed in countless venues across the East Coast. He is an established solo artist based in New York City and plays at some of the city’s top venues.

Paul ’09 has shared the stage with Rick Ross, Joe Perry, Richie Sambora, Orianthi, George Benson, Ne-Yo, and countless other musicians since pursuing music following his years at Canterbury. He has performed across the United States and spent several years on the West Coast immediately following Canterbury committing to his career as a musician. Paul later moved back to Connecticut and currently performs with several groups, including critically acclaimed 18-piece funk band, MOJO, alongside fellow alumnus Nick ’08.

“I am honored and humbled that Canterbury Music Alumni return to campus to share their talents and work with current students,” remarked Dave Overthrow, Director of Music. “I am also impressed with the passion and commitment that both the alumni and current students have in making exceptional music for this annual event. I can speak for all of the performers in saying that we are grateful to the Canterbury community for their support.”