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Gypsy Soul returns to help high school music department

MATT JAMES Of the Record staff

Independence has its virtues. Just ask Gypsy Soul. It remains unattached to a major label, and because of that, the acoustic duo can choose exactly where it wants to go.

"We’re the masters of our own destiny," said Roman Morykit, the group’s jack-of-all-trades musician.

That means Gypsy Soul the husband-and-wife team of Morykit and singer Cilette Swann can avoid the myriad radio-station sponsored "Jingle Ball" concerts that inevitably occur around the holiday season. Instead, the group can play some shows for the benefit of others. This December, three of the group’s nine shows will be fund raisers for local organizations; one will be in Park City.

This Tuesday, Gypsy Soul will come to the Eccles Center to play a benefit concert for the Park City High School Music Department.

"We specifically are independent because we have not been able to find a situation where we’d be able to do this," said Swann.

A third of the proceeds from the show will go to the music department, helping to pay for the band’s trip to Boston for a competition, the Festival of Gold.

"Only the bands that got a gold rating at other festivals get to go to this one," said Dennis Harrington, the orchestra director at Park City High School.

Harrington said the band earned a place at the festival with its finish at the competition it attended last year in Anaheim, Calif. At the Boston festival students will have a chance to play in Symphony Hall and attend seminars with members of the Boston Symphony.

The benefit concert this Tuesday is important for one reason, Harrington noted; going to Boston is a little more expensive than going to Anaheim.

The show came about after the group played a show at the Egyptian Theatre this past June. There, they met David Hallock the production manager for the Eccles Center, who called the band a few months ago with the idea for the Eccles Center show.

"It struck me as a unique cross-over," said Hallock. "We thought, ‘We want to come up and do a show; why not make it into a benefit?’" said Morykit.

Gypsy Soul has some experience working in schools; according to Swann and Morykit, the group frequently teaches workshops for college students talking about how a person can make a living as a professional musician.

With the high school students, the group will take a more direct approach. On Friday, Morykit and Swann were scheduled to play a rehearsal with the band, and on Tuesday, a few students will have an opportunity to join Gypsy Soul on stage.

"We’re having some of the students come up and play on a few songs," said Swann.

She and Morykit said that experience would be a new one. While the group has taught classes, they have never included students in a show.

"It’s an experiment from that perspective," said Swann.

Hallock said the group was a perfect fit for the show.

"They were great people, just really nice people, [and] being able to work with students was a huge part of it," he said.

For the concert, the group will play two sets with some traditional holiday songs and some of the group’s original songs, which feature a folk-rock sound with Celtic and American influences.

"They have sort of an interesting blend of folk and rock and jazz," said Harrington.

According to Swann, the program should have something for all members of the Eccles audience.

"I think one of the beauties is that young people can appreciate the music," she said.

Both Swann and Morykit said they had an extremely positive response to their June show at the Egyptian, which helped influence their decision to make a return trip. They also said they’d be happy to see the music department fundraiser become an annual event.

"We’d love it," said Swann. "If it works out great and the kids like it, we’d love to do it again,"

Morykit echoed those sentiments.

"If we can afford to come out and do it, we’d love to do it," he said.

For now, Harrington said he just hopes people will be excited about the show.

"We’re just hoping people want to come out," he said.

Gypsy Soul will play the Eccles Center in a benefit show for the Park City High School Music Department on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door, with discounts available for students and seniors. Tickets are available through SmithsTix at 1-800-888-TIXX or online at http://www.SmithsTix.com.


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