Duo brings jazz blend to Hancock

January 22, 2012|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Zupe, left, on keyboards, and Dave Nichols on guitar perform Sunday afternoon at the Hancock Community Center.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HANCOCK — Nationally recognized musicians Zupe and Dave Nichols brought their blend of jazz, funk, blues and rock to Western Maryland on Sunday as part of a monthly program hosted by the Hancock Arts Council.

The duo was recognized last year during the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, where their song “Step On It” was nominated for best instrumental composition.

“We walked the red carpet at the Kodak Theatre,” Zupe said before taking the stage. “We got to hang out with Smokey Robinson.”

Zupe and Nichols traveled south from their homes in Pennsylvania to play for two hours in front of about 50 people Sunday afternoon at the Hancock Community Center. The concert was part of a monthly program that the arts council offers to promote arts and entertainment in the town.

Zupe said he and guitarist Nichols have been playing together for about a quarter of a century, but they only recently decided to take their show on the road.

“We’re just starting out,” he said. “We’ve been playing together for so long that we just anticipate what the other is going to do musically.”

Sinclair Hamilton, chairman of the arts council, said the organization holds fundraisers and accepts donations to help raise the $3,000 it costs to put on 12 shows per year. The council is gearing up for next month’s Winter Festival, an event that features log fires, hot food and a snow-sculpting contest.

He said the arts council relies heavily on the community’s support to make the monthly programs a success.

“You can’t get anything done in a small community unless people help,” he said. “We’re hoping to turn Hancock into one of the great small art towns in America. I think we’re on our way.”

Nate Turner, 15, and his girlfriend, Kaleigh Cook, 17, said they read about Sunday’s show on Facebook and decided to check it out.

Turner said he performed last summer in one of monthly shows with his band, BAND-ANA.

The Hancock Community Center “is a nice place to play,” he said. “The acoustics are nice.”

He said he would like to see the arts council schedule acts more often than once a month.

Chris Knight, 52, of Martinsburg, W.Va., attended Sunday’s performance with his wife, Kathy, and their 7-year-old daughter, Christina.

“It’s real nice. There’s a lot of variety,” he said.

Knight said he appreciates the council’s efforts because the organization offers wholesome entertainment for the entire family.

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