Grieving For Grace: Local Rock Band
by Derek Grosso
Grieving For Grace is (from left) Jay Miller, Brett Stephani, Rob Fleming and George Montenes. Jay is on lead vocals, and plays guitar and saxophone; Brett also rocks the guitar, vocals and synth strings; Rob leads the rhythm section on the drum kit; and George rounds out with bass guitar, vocals, auxiliary percussion, and trumpet. Jay and Rob met in the Sycamore Elementary School jazz band. Then in high school, George came along. The trio had been playing jazz together for some time with band director John Leddy. It was after high school that the three began playing rock. Grieving For Grace was born in December of 2002. About a year later, they found Brett when he was shopping at Jay's workplace -- Alan Howard Sherman's Piano Outlet in Medford.
Where were you all born and where do you currently reside?
Brett: My hometown is Patchogue, but I currently live in Mastic, NY.
Jay: I live in Bohemia and I was born at North Shore Hospital.
George: Right now I live in Ronkonkoma, NY.
Rob: We're all Long Islanders. I was born on the Island.
What is the significance of your name, Grieving for Grace?
Rob: It took us so long to find a name...
Jay: The loss of innocence and the acceptance of adulthood.
Rob: Since the time of the ancient Greeks, the "loss of innocence" theme has been used so often in popular literature. The idea is that everybody has to experience some kind of tragic "fall" and abandon the grace of childhood before entering the "real world."
What genre of music does the band identify with the most?
Tell us about what can be found on your upcoming album, and how is it different from your last CD, "The Things You Thought Were Real?"
Rob: [laughs] The music was mediocre at best, the quality was horrendous.
Brett: It's like night and day.
Jay: Better written songs, better production.
So what is in store for GFG fans in 2005?
Brett: Lots of great, new material.
Jay: New songs, great performances, better venues.
Rob: I think this is going to be a very good year for us. Things finally look like they're moving along. We've met so many great people that have helped us tremendously.
What's the best thing about being in a band?
Brett: I'd have to say free beer. Sometimes.
Rob: [laughs] There's nothing like being on stage.
Jay: Performing original music.
What's the worst thing about being in a band?
Brett: Driving to band practice, because that's a long way for me...
Rob: How about driving to Manhattan in a blizzard?
Jay: Having to bring all our equipment to the shows.
What's the wildest place you've played a show on Long Island?
Jay: Our 2nd show ever -- at Chili Pepper's Pub. [laughs] It was a bizarre night.
Rob: Yes, it was the infancy of GFG.
What is your favorite restaurant?
Jay: We take advantage of Applebee's.
Brett: I don’t really have a favorite website.
Favorite exit on the L.I.E.?
Brett: Exit 57-Vets Highway. It's closest to band practice.
Rob: The last one. I love Eastern Long Island.
Favorite local sports team?
Brett: I don't really give a sh*t.
Jay: Can they print that? My favorite team of all time is the NY Jets.
Favorite place on Long Island?
Brett: Longwood Estate -- It's a very old house. It's pretty neat. I've heard noises, like little children laughing, but there was no one around when I looked. The place has been there since like 1630 or something. I think it's haunted.
Jay: I'd have to say the Arboretum in Oakdale.
Rob: Maybe Shelter Island.
Historic figure you would most like to meet, living or dead?
Rob: Either Rasputin or Jim Morrison.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Jay: The Goo Goo Dolls, The Beatles, and Third Eye Blind have had the greatest influence on the writing of our music.
Rob: I've been heavily influenced by the work of the Dave Matthews Band's percussionist, Carter Beauford, as well as Radiohead's experimental stuff. John Densmore (percussionist from The Doors) has also had an effect on my performance.
Brett: John Mayer, John Petrucci, Al Dimeola and Pat Metheny.
George: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Bob Marley and the Wailers, and John Mayer's bassist, De La.
Most dynamic duo, real or fictional?
George: Lennon and McCartney
Who would you like to see run for President?
George: Junkyard Dog
Rob: Who is Junkyard Dog?
Jay: I don't know man. A wrestler.
You can play a gig anywhere in the country. Where is it and give us the details.
Jay: Jones Beach. I've been going to concerts there for years and I've always dreamed of playing there.
What has been the band's greatest/proudest accomplishment thus far?
Jay: Working together on great music with our talented awesome producers and managers.
What makes Long Island special?
Jay: The beaches, the bars, and the eastern end of the island.
Rob: The history. Most people don't realize how much history is here. Open a frigging book, man!
New Personal Chef Service Adds to the Flavor in Bellmore
The Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores held a Ribbon Cutting ceremony earlier this month in celebration of welcoming Lia Soscia, Personal Chef and owner of Home Cooking Consultant Personal Chef Service, to the community and their membership.
Soscia has been cooking for almost 30 years for friends and family. Having grown up with her Italian grandparents, she had much exposure to good home-cooked food, and spent most of her childhood working on new culinary creations. After graduating Hofstra University with a degree in Music Business (Soscia is a professional soprano and still sings with the Bel Canto Chorale in Wantagh), she spent over 20 years in various jobs. Every free moment during that time, though, was spent scouring new cookbooks, preparing meals for family holidays and friends, and learning about regional foods in her travels throughout the country.
She started the company as a way to extend her cooking talents to others.
"It's very energizing to finally focus on a long time passion and be able to share my love for food with others," said Soscia. "Corporate America, to me, was so uncreative and stressful. Continuing my chef studies, cooking for others, and giving lessons to those eager to learn new techniques, has given me a great sense of well-being and a chance to enjoy living and meeting interesting people."
Her services include home meal preparation, cooking lessons & parties, recipe research, modifications and testing, personal cookbook publishing, and kitchen organization & design consultation. She was recently certified in Serv Safe food safety by the NY Restaurant Association, and has also received a certificate from the Wilson Tech School in Dix Hills for Professional Culinary Arts & Catering. Soscia has also studied under Long Island's Chef Armand Vanderstigchel and is looking forward to continuing her culinary studies well into the future.
Chef Lia Soscia is available for free personal chef consultations by calling (516) 826-3169 or you may visit her on the web at www.cheflia.com.
President Clinton to Keynote at Awards Ceremony in Woodbury
The International Partnership Awards raises critical funds to support the students and faculty of SUNY College at Old Westbury. Most visibly, funds raised through this program to date have enabled more than 150 students and faculty of the College to study abroad in China, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Africa, South Korea, and Spain. Since 1993, the International Partnership Awards program has honored Long Island businesses that have succeeded in the international marketplace. This year's honorees are American River International, Ltd. of Melville and J. D'Addario & Co., Inc. of Farmingdale.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that raises funds to support the College's academic and student service offerings. For ticket information to attend this special event, which is expected to sell out, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at SUNY College at Old Westbury at (516) 876-3207 or visit www.oldwestbury.edu.
Islandwide Events this Weekend
THREE AT THEATRE THREE
This weekend, the following performances are at Theatre Three, located at 412 Main Street in Port Jefferson:
FRIDAY NIGHT FACE OFF
Friday, March 4 at 10:30 p.m. A zany competition between two talented teams as they field suggestions from the audience to create hilarious scenes.
Saturday, March 5 at 11:00 a.m. The legend of Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Friar Tuck, and Little John comes to life in an original Children's Time Traveling Musical.
Sunday, March 6 at 3:00 p.m. Country singer Patsy Cline is celebrated in this salute to her life and career. The show is told through the eyes of a fan as "Patsy" sings many of her hits (including Your Cheatin' Heart and Blue Moon of Kentucky).
Call (631) 928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com for more information on the above shows.
TEXAS HOLD 'EM
The card-game fad that has taken over the nation comes to Jillian's of Westbury and Farmingdale. A Texas Hold'em Tag Team Poker Tournament starts this weekend. Free to play. Win house prizes. Please 21 & over only! Call (516) 542-8501 for starting times and check out Jillian's online.
TRINITY IRISH DANCE COMPANY
The Trinity Irish Dance Company and Different Drums of Ireland have united to reintroduce Irish tradition as revolutionary performing art. The show takes place at the Staller Center for the Arts, Main Stage, Stony Brook University on Saturday, March 5 at 8:00 p.m. Call (631) 632-7233 or visit Staller Center online.
Long Islanders to Put Their Best Foot Forward for DDI
Combining fun with a heartfelt cause -- promoting community support for children and adults with developmental disabilities -- the family day event will feature several special guests including author and World Wrestling Entertainment star, Mick Foley; Brookhaven Town Supervisor and Walk Host, John Jay LaValle; and radio personality David Weiss of WLIE 540 AM, who is the event's Master of Ceremonies. In addition, Walk participants will enjoy an array of entertainment that will include guest deejaying by DDI student Josh Stewart, as well as amusing and informative exhibits at Holtsville Park's Green House Animal Preserve. Catering sponsor Outback Steakhouse will also be providing complimentary lunches to registrants.
In appreciation of his steadfast support of DDI, this year's Honorary Grand Marshal is New York State Senator John Flanagan. His efforts have yielded significant results in obtaining grants to fund much needed equipment and construction projects at DDI's Hollywood Drive Campus, which included the first air conditioning unit for the site's gymnasium and the renovation of four classrooms.
Pre-registration is encouraged and should be submitted by Monday, April 11th. To obtain a pre-registration form or a brochure on the Walk, call (631) 366-2978 or visit www.ddiinfo.org and click on the DDI Foundation link. Registration will also be available on the day of the Walk beginning at 9:00 a.m., with the event "stepping off" at 10:30 a.m.