‘Not-to-be-missed’ concert worth the wait

Erma Kyriakos sings to Gilroy's Andoni Bundros' accompaniment on

The high notes splash like rain. The music gradually builds into
waves crashing against a stony shore, watery fingers flying high
into the air and then falling back to sea … the tide dies down
and recedes slowly until it is almost completely silent. Andoni
Bundros leans in closer to the piano keys as the final notes
resound, leaving traces of ocean foam behind.
The high notes splash like rain. The music gradually builds into waves crashing against a stony shore, watery fingers flying high into the air and then falling back to sea … the tide dies down and recedes slowly until it is almost completely silent. Andoni Bundros leans in closer to the piano keys as the final notes resound, leaving traces of ocean foam behind.     

It is no easy feat for a musician living in Gilroy, but through his willingness to embrace all genres of music, as well as the ability to collaborate with a wide range of different personalities, 27-year-old Bundros is managing to carve out a living for himself as a musician. 

Since February, he has been playing for the Three Degrees Restaurant in Los Gatos. I have been intending to go hear him for months, and recently I finally made it over to the Toll House Hotel where the restaurant is located. What a great night of Jazz it was in a beautiful setting. San Francisco musician Erma Kyriakos added her sweet vocal stylings to Bundros’ virtuoso piano on jazz standards like “Cry Me a River” and “Cheek to Cheek.”

Bundros has performed with Kyriakos before when she participated in this spring’s six-week concert series put together by Bundros in which each concert featured one out-of-town musician paired with a local musician or band. Kyriakos’ sparkling voice contains a hint of old soul that belies her young age of 25.

Bundros brings out the best in any musician he plays with and adapts his style to whatever they are performing, from gospel to rock to hip hop to classical. He also leads a youth choir and band at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in Morgan Hill. 

Bundros is a piano instructor at Gilroy’s Music Academy. His next exciting concert opportunity in Gilroy is coming up at the Sept. 11 Teachers ‘N Talent (TNT!) faculty concert with his fellow instructors at the Music Academy. The concert will include blues on steamy guitar by local legendary guitarist, John Garcia, as well as Music Academy director Candace Fazzio on tangos and waltzes for piano by South American and U.S. composers.

 Another featured musician will be Sandra Marlowe, whom Bundros collaborates with on a regular basis. From gospel-belting kid to white-knuckled opera singer to gear-toting “girl singer,” from kickin’ cabaret “mama” to church choir director to vocal teacher with verve, Marlowe has arrived at the zenith of her creative skills and is preparing to record a CD this fall. 

 “Playing in an ensemble is all about the art of collaboration,” Marlowe said after working with Bundros in collaboration with the Greg Chambers Band at the Garlic Festival. “Knowing what being a team player is and how you fit in the picture, which helps inspire the highest quality product from the group.”

During each professor’s 20-minute solo set, the hall will glow with piano pyrotechnics, explosive guitar and scorching singing. The program will finish with a spectacular grand finale that will include them all.

The Music Academy opened its doors on Monterey Street in 1995, and for more than 16 years has set high standards for its students and its teachers, all of whom are seasoned performers as well as dedicated instructors. This not-to-be-missed concert has been a long time coming.  

The Sept. 11 concert begins at 7 p.m. at Gilroy United Methodist Church, 7600 Church St. in downtown Gilroy, home of the Music Academy studios since 2005.

Donations ($15 suggested) will be accepted with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the World Service Fund, which supports specific local church work with children, youth, students and older adults who are mentally and physically challenged, as well as supporting quality college and graduate education and benefiting professional educators, communicators and musicians.  Reservations and information available at 848-1064.

Bundros performs every second, third and fourth Wednesday of the month from 6 to 9 p.m. at Three Degrees Restaurant in Los Gatos. For more info, call 840-6830.

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