The nearly 4,000 spectators who attended the free 10,000 Maniacs performance at Peoples Natural Gas Park on June 14 may have been impressed with the famous alternative rockers.
However, they may not know, playing alongside the band, three area musicians showed off their musical talents as well.
Saxophonists Greg Maiocco and Jennifer Shuty and trombonist Bryan Anton were invited to play with the Maniacs after being recommended by the local musicians union, Maiocco said.
“A lot of groups come into a town like this, and they’ll add a horn section,” he said. “We were contacted about two weeks before they played.”
The 10,000 Maniacs were a popular college band in the ’90s, Maiocco said, but they have lost some of there popularity.
Once they were contacted to play, Maiocco said the trio received emails with the music and instructions for the concert.
After doing some research, he said he was excited to perform.
“I had to dig through some old recordings and YouTube videos,” he said. “I was impressed.”
Shuty said she too had forgotten about the band, but, once she was reminded, she was excited to be a part of the performance as well.
“I kind of forgot about them, and then I heard them and said, ‘Oh yeah, I remember,’ ” she said. “I was totally honored and kind of taken back by it.”
Though Anton admitted he had played before bigger audiences, he said he was impressed with the show’s size and organization.
“For an outdoor kind of rock ‘n’ roll thing, that was a good sized show,” he said. “They had a real professional band for what they wanted to do, and they had great tunes.”
Before the show, Maiocco said the trio met for a short rehearsal with the band.
“Rehearsal itself was only about 20 minutes,” he said. “It was very professional. These people were very easy to work with.”
Shuty agreed and said the band members were appreciative and easy to talk to.
“I was nervous going into it,” she said. “I was expecting divas and stuff like that, but, when I met the members, they were really down to earth. I was just pumped to play.”
Though rehearsal went well and the band members were easy to get along with, Anton said he was still a bit nervous.
“You always get a little nervous for those things.”
Maiocco said he also felt nervous before the performance, but quickly shed his nervousness when he stepped onto the stage.
“These guys have been doing this forever, and they’re depending on you. We are representing the musical community of Johnstown. You want them to say, ‘Hey, I wouldn’t mind coming back and playing with you again.’ ”
Shuty said she was impressed with both the Maniacs and the trios performance and said the most rewarding part was seeing the audience.
“Seeing the crowd’s reaction was just overwhelming,” she said. “I wish more acts like that would come to town so others could have this awesome opportunity.”
Maiocco said he too was pleased with the end result and was reassured when several Maniacs personally thanked him.
“When I heard them on Saturday night, they did a phenomenal job,” he said. “It’s nice to get that feedback. If they called again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
Maiocco said he also performs with Candle in the Wind, a local jazz band that plays mostly private parties.
Similarly, Anton said he plays with the Altoona Symphony and the In Your Face Big Band, and Shuty said she plays with Flood City Brass.
The trio played well, Anton said, adding that he wouldn’t hesitate to collaborate again.
“It was a pleasure to play with Jen and Greg and the 10,000 Maniacs,” he said. “I feel like a Maniac now.”
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