A Cappella Ensemble

Strike A Chord members include, kneeling: Doug Sham and Nasithy Kry; back row: Dan Spedding, Jen Phaneuf, Tor Somlo, Beth Domanoski, Nate Luscombe, Natalie Goodale, Dan Scheys, Cathy Schane-Lydon, Mark Schane-Lydon and Jenn Dziok.
Passion for singing keeps former classmates in harmony

By Lori O'Brien, Correspnodent

SPRINGFIELD A passion for singing and a love of bowling brought together 14 Springfield College graduates who have since formed a unique a cappella ensemble who are capturing the hearts of young and old alike.

The ensemble's name Strike A Chord derives from the members' love of singing together and their camaraderie for bowling, according to Nate Luscombe, spokesperson for the group. When performing as an ensemble, their 'uniforms' are bowling shirts to reinforce the idea of a bowling league. Each member also has a distinct name on the back of their shirt, harking back to the "Happy Days" era.

Strike A Chord members and their stage names include Luscombe, known as "Biff"; Mark Schane-Lydon, "Monk"; Dan Spedding, "Chester"; Dan Scheys, "Skip"; Adam Salomon, "Mo"; Doug Sham, "Chip"; Nas Kry, "Bogey"; Beth Domanoski, "Betty Boop"; Natalie Goodale, "Laverne"; Jen Phaneuf, "Trixie"; Erin Finkle, "Shirley"; Cathy Schane-Lydon, "LuLu"; Tor Somlo, "Merle," and Jenn Dziok, as "Roxy."

During the days when Strike A Chord members were performing as the Springfield College Singers, they would often go bowling as a group after a rehearsal.

"Very few of us are any good at it, but we always enjoyed going, and actually preferred to go to the 'Disco Bowling Nights,'" added Luscombe. "We would bowl and sing whatever song the DJ would play."

As the Springfield College Singers, members traveled across the United States and Europe performing and were able to hone their musical skills which provided them with a unique basis to take their music to another level. As the Springfield College Singers, members traveled extensively but not as an a cappella set.

During an interview with Reminder Publications, several members of the ensemble took time out from their weekly Sunday rehearsal in Springfield to reiterate what they like most about being a member of Strike A Chord.

"We keep it on a fun level," said Cathy Schane-Lydon, who also acts as director, adding "we have a great time and perform well together." She stressed that none of the members were music majors while at Springfield College.

Luscombe echoed those sentiments and added that on a personal level, the performances give members the chance as a group to "get back into something we've not done in awhile."

Jenn Dziok said she joined the group since everyone is "down to earth and animated," adding "we're here to have fun."

Approximately half of the ensemble live in the Springfield area while the others live in the Berkshires as well as Bennington, Vt., Troy, N.Y., and New Haven, Conn.

"We've been meeting once a week on Sunday afternoons for rehearsals," said Luscombe, adding it is the easiest time for everyone since all members are professionals and some have to travel good distances to get to the rehearsal site.

"I feel energized after every rehearsal," said Mark Schane-Lydon. "It is all about having a good time."

This fall, Strike A Chord members plan to release a CD of their current repertoire and also launch a website. Their repertoire currently ranges from traditional and gospel songs to tunes by Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Queen, ELO, George Michael and The Temptations.

For the younger set, the group recently performed a host of camp songs and conducted skits and workshops at Camp Bonnie Brae in Otis. To show their appreciation to members of Strike A Chord, the girls designed a giant thank-you card which the members proudly display and share with others.

"We ended their set with 'Change the World' by Eric Clapton," said Cathy Schane-Lydon, adding "it was an exciting performance."

Schane-Lydon said the ensemble doesn't pigeon hole themselves into a certain genre. Ensemble members added they just love to make music together and hope that enthusiasm shows during performances.

"Basically we're a group of people who just love to sing," said Luscombe. "When you can put a smile on your face, and the faces of the people you sing with, you've got something special. Our goal is that we are able to put smiles on the faces of people who show up to see us."

For more information on Strike A Chord, e-mail can be sent to Luscombe at strikeachord@gmail.com.



 
 
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