Monroe Music Festival to showcase local talent

Members of Between The Keys are, from left, Andrew Whitney, Alan Kristie, Jess Kumar, Ryan Kristie and Ryan Tedesco.

MONROE, CT — Ryan Tedesco, 23, of Monroe plays the drums, bass and guitar at different venues with his cover band Between The Keys. On Saturday, May 27, the member of Masuk High School’s Class of 2017 will perform in his hometown during the Monroe Music Festival at Wolfe Park.

Tedesco, who also plays in two other bands, while teaching lessons at the Creative Music Center in Monroe and the School of Rock in Milford and Fairfield, organized the festival, which will feature a lineup of local musical talent that will entertain audiences at the Bicentennial Picnic celebrating the town of Monroe’s 200 year anniversary.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a show,” Tedesco said during a recent interview with Dr. Paul Moyse, a Bicentennial Committee member, at his chiropractor office on Monroe Turnpike.

Moyse said his son, Chris, who graduated from Masuk in 2006, went on to become a singer/songwriter in Nashville, Tenn.

“He would have loved this,” Moyse said. “This would have been a great way for him to get exposure too. It was great to see Ryan take this and run with it. It’s going to be a great show.”

The Creative Music Center, 701 Main St. in Monroe, is the sponsor of the first Monroe Music Festival, which Tedesco hopes will become an annual event. The live music is scheduled to be from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Between the Keys started out playing classic rock and the blues, before branching out to add alternative rock, pop and punk songs to the mix. Tedesco will also perform with If Not When, a pop and punk band, and Olivares, an indie rock band.

Other band members on Between The Keys include Jess Kumar on vocals, Ryan Kristie on electric guitar, Alan Kristie on keyboard and Andrew Whitney on electric guitar. Tedesco said the band will be onstage throughout the show, performing by itself and providing backup music for other acts.

The Monroe Music Festival will also feature:

  • Ann Mesinger with Ethel Flying Solo and Fred and Ethel
  • Chris Strachan, a solo act and playing with Smerkk
  • Joe Strolin performing with the bands Cadmium and Esmer
  • Alex Dima, a musician with the Creative Music Center
  • Joe Turiano of If Not When
  • Tati Castillo of If Not When and Cadmium
  • Andy Cohen of Olivares
  • Ryan Collins, a solo performance

“My goal was to get Monroe and Masuk people to perform,” Moyse said, while crediting Tedesco for setting everything up.

Tedesco said the festival will give bands the chance to showcase some of their projects. Though many local musicians who grew up in town are well-known, Tedesco said a lot of their friends and former classmates don’t know what they’ve been up to in their careers.

“The whole idea is community, to show people what you can do,” he said. “Everybody gets their chance to shine.”

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