“As a bandleader, I’ve tried to create a space where we can all contribute to the sound of the band in a personal way that features our creativity and passions." - David Sherman
While all five of our bands at Arlen Music are built on a model that has proven successful — a vast repertoire ranging from Motown to Top 40, high-energy performances, and the perfect mixture of fun and elegance — each band offers a unique flavor. Recently, I had the chance to sit down with David Sherman, the bandleader of Front of House, to discuss what makes his band so distinctive.
“As a bandleader, I’ve tried to create a space where we can all contribute to the sound of the band in a personal way that features our creativity and passions,” says David. “Several years ago, I discovered a band called Girl Talk that performed mash-ups of Motown and rock songs by adding electronic dance beats and hip hop onto the original tracks. I was inspired by that sound and worked with the rest of the band to incorporate it into our repertoire.” Bret Zwier, the drummer of Front of House, was up to the challenge of creating such an effect. Using a state-of-the-art sampler, Bret searches for new beats to layer onto standards like Don’t Stop Believing and You Shook Me All Night Long. The result, according to David, is something that’s “familiar but also a little bit unexpected.”
Like Bret, other members of the band find unique and personal ways of approaching the repertoire, such as our vocalist LeTroy Jackson adding an original rap verse in a rock song, or our guitarist Don Stiernberg showcasing his bluegrass mandolin playing on occasion. “When the band is excited about the music they’re performing, the audience can feel it, and it creates a synergistic feedback loop that is contagious to everyone in the room,” says David.
Considering this mix of raw talent and enthusiasm, it's no wonder Front of House has been selected as the entertainment for high-profile events like the Peninsula Chicago New Year’s Eve Gala for four years running (2010-2013). The band has also performed at countless weddings, corporate events and fundraisers over the last 8 years. When I asked David if he has any goals for the future of the band, he said, “My main goal is to make sure that each performance is unique and exciting for both the musicians and the audience. I feel that each party is the most important party I’ve ever played, so it’s important to me that the band stays, current, vibrant, authentic and fresh.”