NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – North Salem has two new student rock bands who will soon perform for friends, family and fellow rockers at the Middle/High School for the benefit of the Baumler/Robson families.
“My sons’ friends were coming over and practicing and when I heard them, I thought, ‘Isn’t anybody getting these kids together?’” said North Salem resident Roman Tytla. A graphic artist by profession, Tytla has played guitar for more than 20 years, composes and sings as well, so he decided to give the boys a few pointers.
“I pictured myself as Jack Black in ‘School of Rock,’ though probably not as crazy,” said Tytla. “I approached Assistant Principal Dr. Bovino and he was excited about the idea. We opened it up to anyone who wanted to join and we got 11 kids altogether, not a single girl.”
Tytla divided the boys into a six-man group, calling themselves What-the-Funk (WTF), and a five-man group, called Rhetorical Countdown.
The youngest rocker is 11-year-old Eddie Fiscella, who lives in Somers and is in sixth grade at North Salem Middle School. Eddie plays piano and his favorite star is Van Halen. “I love 70s rock,” he said, “and I love playing with WTF. But I don’t like the name.”
“My favorite band is Led Zeppelin,” said 10th-grader Austin Garafola, 15. “I grew up on it. It was the only thing my dad ever played. My favorite song is ‘Good Times Bad Times.’”
“My favorite song is ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon,” said Liam Gorbutt, who emphasized his preference by wearing a t-shirt featuring a reproduction of the late Beatle. “John Lennon was the best. He was a very composed person.”
“The band rehearses together once a week,” Liam continued, “and I rehearse on my own three times a day.” Liam concluded the interview because it was time for him to take the mike and belt out “Superstition” a la Stevie Wonder.
The North Salem Rock Fantasy Show will take place on Jan. 25 at North Salem Middle/High School. It starts at 7:30 p.m. There will be two sessions with an “unplugged session” in between. Among the guests will be Mark Rivera, sax player for Billy Joel.
Donations will be taken at the door. The suggested donation is $5 per person. All earnings will go to the Baumler/Robson relief fund.