Friday, August 31, 2012


Pairing rock bands with symphony orchestras is nothing new.  The Moody Blues were one of the first to do so in the ‘60’s, and bands have been adding string arrangements in various formats for years.  But seeing a local band do it with their local symphony is not an everyday occurrence.  And that’s exactly what Kent band The Speedbumps will be doing when they take the stage for one night only with the Canton Symphony Orchestra at the Canton Palace Theatre, 605 Market Avenue, North in Canton, on Friday, October 26 at 8:00 p.m. to present a contemporary collaboration of their award winning songs (with special guest Ashley Brooke Toussant). Recognized as a fast rising star on the national music scene, The Speedbumps incorporate a combination of hollow-bodied instruments like cello, upright bass, ukulele, and acoustic guitar to create an eclectic but approachable sound, perfect for blending with a full orchestra.

The idea was hatched when the Symphony’s Executive Director, Michelle Mullaly, saw The Speedbumps at Panini’s in Canton.  “It was actually my husband's idea,” said Mullaly.  “We were listening to them play at Panini's in Canton and he said, ‘You know, these guys would be great with the symphony.’” That put the idea in my head. I'm so excited to have them perform with us.”

Mullaly says the Symphony musicians are excited as well.  “They think it's so cool and original and they're glad to see us thinking outside the box,” she said.

The band is also looking forward to the show.  “As a songwriter, having the opportunity to bring my songs to life like this is something I never thought I would be able to do, said singer and songwriter Erik Urycki.  “It humbles me that the band is going to get to experience this.” Urycki added that his bassist, Kevin Martinez, arranged the music to synch with the symphony.  “To perform your own songs with a high caliber orchestra such as the Canton Symphony is a once in a lifetime opportunity, said Martinez.  “To be the one who arranges those songs for the orchestra is undoubtedly the highlight of my career."

Tickets are available by calling the Symphony Box Office at 330-452-2094; ordering online; in person at the Box Office in the Cultural Center for the Arts at 1001 Market Ave. N - Canton weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; or at the Canton Palace Theatre box office one hour prior to the performance. Prices are $18, $24 and $28. A $5 discount is available for seniors & students.  There will be a post-show party as well, and $10 tickets for that (includes beer, wine and appetizers) will be available for purchase along with show tickets. 

The Speedbumps are dedicating the performance to the memory of Joe Hawkins, the dad of drummer Patrick Hawkins, who passed away suddenly this past January.  The elder Hawkins had long been a part of the Canton community.  “He really thrived on Catholic education for us kids and he always gave back to the community,” said Patrick.  “He was part of the Ex-Newsboys of Canton; The Men’s Club of Our Lady of Peace School; and The Knightliners of St. Thomas Aquinas. My father was a big city guy (originally from Brooklyn, New York) who came to the small town of Canton and fell in love with the city and community. He loved it so much that he wanted to raise a family and spend the rest of his life there. Big Joe was loved by all and made a lasting impression to anyone who had met him. I think he would be very proud of me and the Bumps for performing with the CSO.”

About The Speedbumps
Maintaining a high level of instrumentation and honest songwriting, the Speedbumps incorporate a combination of hollow-bodied instruments like cello, upright bass, ukulele, and acoustic guitar to create an eclectic but approachable sound. The band’s intelligent yet organic feel has given them the opportunity to perform with Amos Lee, Matt Nathanson, OKGO, Chrissie Hynde and Andrew Bird, in addition to selection at the One Movement For Music Festival (OMFM) in Perth, Australia.  The band’s latest album “The Moon Is Down” has received acclaim from some of the music industry’s brightest tastemakers. Erin Gellert of Q Prime Music (The Black Keys, Nickelcreek, Joshua Radin) said, “In the era of auto-tune and single-based artists, the Speedbumps give you a reason to believe in the album again. Organic, brilliant, emotive music.”

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