The Crescents to play Fest of All finale
By G. Michael Dobbs
CHICOPEE A show band that has been a favorite in the western New England since 1979 will stage a reunion for the finale of this year's Fest of All in Chicopee.
The Crescents will perform on July 6 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. under the tent in the center of the festival grounds at Szot Park. Admission is free to the event.
Band member Ted Hamel explained that what makes this show special is the appearance of singer Danny Lopes with the group. He will be joining original members James Taylor, Bob Boutin, Gil Rock and Bob Lagimonier on stage, Hamel said.
Hamel sings with the group as well, which he said has been playing in western Massachusetts, northern Connecticut and southern Vermont for almost 30 years.
The group focuses on the music of the 1950s and '60s, especially songs that allow the group to practice its doo-wop harmony. From time to time, Hamel added, they do sing songs out of that era, but mostly stick to "the roots of rock and roll." To listen to the group, log onto its Web site, www.thecrescents.org.
Hamel said that while there is a nostalgic appeal to the music they perform there are plenty of younger people attending their performances as well. At a recent show, he said the crowd ranged from people in their twenties to those in their sixties.
The members dress in 1950s's style coordinated outfits, and Hamel said, "This is not a jeans and tee shirt type band."
The group will be performing two one-hour sets with a half-hour break, which is a typical performance, Hamel said. They prepare to perform 24 songs and try to get through the entire play list.
Hamel said that performing today is a "labor of love and a part-time hobby." None of the members rely on performing a job, he said and instead a gig a week, the bands performs about once a month.
"It's not so much now that we're older, Hamel said with a laugh. "That's [a monthly performance] about all we're looking for."
With the exception of Lopes, who lives in Florida, Hamel said the singers and the band members are all residents of Chicopee, Holyoke, Granby and South Hadley.
"People pay us for this, but we would do it for nothing," he said.