Kamellot, the high-energy R&B dance band comprising members of the Kennedy High School alumni, will play a series of performances over the winter at the Savoy Tavern to help inaugurate the new Club Savoy, a club on Friday and Saturday nights that will feature local music from singer-songwriters to guest DJs to local bands.
“Kamellot plays a lot of outdoor venues during the spring and summer months and has developed a solid following,” remarked Dave Feldman, proprietor of Suburbia Meats who is also publicizing the band. “Taking up residency will now enable the band to reach out to its fan base and allow them to see and hear the band on a more regular basis,” he continued.
Merrick resident Eliot Negrin, who played lead guitar for the Long Island band Mazerin for some 30 years, has joined the band’s core of steady players to help maintain the rhythm and the energy the band emanates. Other core members include Alan Levy, Steve Finkelstein (also of Funk Filharmonik), Morgenstern, Negrin and, occasionally, Ben Abruzzo.
Al Schonfeld, new general manager of the Savoy whose children attended Mepham, told Your NewsMag that Kamellot was tapped to inaugurate the new Friday-Saturday night club to enable their fans to see the band during the winter months while it helps develop an energetic environment for a mature 35-to-60 age group looking to dance, drink and enjoy a fun social scene.
“We would like this club to become a destination where mature people and couples of all ages can come to socialize, dance and meet new friends,” said Schonfeld. He hopes it can also become a place where local musicians can call home.
The club, which opened on Wednesday, November 19, with a guest DJ, will feature Kamellot as its first live band on Friday, November 21, beginning at 10 p.m.
Gary Morgenstern, organist and percussionist of Kamellot and a core member of the band, said the band was simply “paying it forward” to the community with these performances for all the support it has given throughout the years. “This band reflects the generations of Kennedy alumni and encourages other younger alumni who are musicians to come down and play with the band,” said Morgenstern.
He said the focus of the band was indeed to develop new levels of interaction with up-and-coming Kennedy music students so they can participate and celebrate music by being in the band.
With the band thriving as a fertile community oasis to help develop new Kennedy alumni talent, Morgenstern said Kamellot was in early plans to perform at the Kennedy High School in the future, and hoped to bring alumnus Tito Batista into the mix. Batista is front man for his band Tito & His Orchestra – The Black Rose Band, a big-band swing band that sings everything from Michael Buble to Sinatra to Latin swing.
Morgenstern said he was working toward getting musical students at the high school to participate with the band as it plays the high school venue , so they can experience the sense of excitement of playing in a real band.
Kamellot’s exposure to its fan base isn’t limited simply to its high-energy R&B sounds, however. The band’s performances help to fund the Kennedy alumni scholarship foundation, which gives funding to promising students in the names of former alumni who have passed, and helps give back to the school with purchases of new signs and development of memorial sites, to name two.
The band will begin recording material in Negrin’s studio in Long Beach in the near future, Morgenstern said.
Schonfeld told this magazine that Club Savoy would begin weekly Friday and Saturday night operations by clearing out the tables in the restaurant to provide open room for mature men and women to dance or mingle, and enjoy the spirit of the moment with persons of similar interests.
Kamellot will play once a month into March.
For information on Club Savoy, call the restaurant at 506-7717. For information about Kamellot visit their facebook page at Kamellot. To learn about the scholarship fund, visit http://bellmorejfkalumni.org/.