After an absence of nearly two years, Acoustic Wilton will return to the stage on Saturday, March 12, at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater at Wilton High School. Among those performing will be students, adults, and returning Acoustic Wilton alumni.
Founded in 2009 by Scott Weber, the late Chris Brown, and several other Wilton musicians, the band performed benefit concerts regularly in town and produced two CDs. It raised thousands for the Wilton Education Foundation and arts education in Wilton’s public schools.
On Tuesday, Weber told The Bulletin, which has been the band’s media sponsor, how next week’s performance came to be.
“Our last gig was in June 2014, and we had a great gig,” he said. “All of our seniors, it was their last hurrah. We said goodbye to Cole Smith, Wes Wallace, Ellie Mendola.” While sorry to see the seniors go, he said, he was looking forward to working with the remaining students and adults. The band had always been flexible, welcoming new members — both students and adults — as others left, its membership ebbing and flowing, but always strong.
“Then Chris died,” he said, referring to Brown’s sudden death in a boating accident Sept. 24, 2014. “Chris was a co-founding member of the project. First it was the seniors leaving, then Chris died, and that just took a lot of steam out.” Weber also was handling increasing professional obligations.
But then he found he was talking to parents and students, “and people were like, you gotta do this again. People were like, ‘We really miss this.’ What ended up happening,” he continued, “was the kids were trying to raise money for the recording studio [at Wilton High School] and I said, ‘This is our sweet spot.”
Unable to take the helm himself, Weber called Joni Wallace and Dan Berg, two veteran Acoustic Wilton performers, for help. “Joni has taken on all the running of this. She’s worked with the students. Dan is on stage playing bass.”
Weber will perform in a few numbers as well and said he is comfortable with taking less of a role now. “In the very, very beginning I wanted the Acoustic Wilton brand being a certain way — to raise money and promote students and their music — but I am fine with other people stepping in. So we’ll see where it goes.”
The four returning “alumni” are Cole Smith, Nicole Smirnoff, Wes Wallace, and Ellie Mendola. They will be joined by Elliot Connors, Tristan Clark, Will Comer, Tommy Crimmins, Rachel Strazza, Betsy Wallace, Brooke Amodei, Julia Foodman, Jared Gladstein, Dan Walthers, Joe Wallace, Cameron Berg, Sean Maljanian, Ian Filaski, Lucas Mendola, Joe Appuzzo, and Quinn Reedy.
Proceeds from next Saturday’s show will benefit the Wilton Education Foundation and the recording studio at Wilton High School. Tickets are $20 and are on sale at http://www.events. org/cpage.aspx?e=95289.