Q: Who are the members of your band?
A: In my dad’s band, it’s me, my dad, my mom, and my twin sister. I play bass, violin, and cello. My mom sings and my sister sings, plays violin, accordion, and key-tar. My dad plays the keyboard, and we have a guitar player and a male singer and a drummer.
Q: What kind of gigs do you play?
A: My sister and I will play cello and violin (respectively) for wedding ceremonies and cocktail hours. The whole band will play wedding receptions, corporate parties, and galas, and events like Oktoberfest, that kind of thing.
Q: How did you get started?
A: My grandpap (well he’s my grandfather but I call him “grandpap”) started the family business. He’s Italian and he plays accordion. He taught my dad and my dad’s brothers.
I have a twin sister and an older brother and my grandpap taught us all to play accordion when we were six years old.
Q: Do they make accordions small enough for kids?
A: Yeah, we had them, they’re really little—we had a white and red one. They don’t have as many octaves as a full-size accordion. You get bigger and bigger accordions until you get to the full-size.
Q: Accordion seems like it would be a really tricky thing to learn.
A: The thing about the accordion is that both hands are moving differently at the same time, and you’re using both sides of your brain. This never happened with me, but it’s supposed to make you good at math.
Q: Did you always enjoy it?
A: When I first started learning, there were times it was hard, but my parents made us keep practicing. When we were little, my sister and I got to play it with each other and it got to be fun.
By the time I was in middle school, I WANTED to do it. I started teaching myself other instruments, like the violin, cello, stand-up bass, marimba, vibraphone, keyboard, piano… I’m really happy my parents made me do it.
Q: What type of music do you play at the weddings?
A: It depends on the people, but we’ll play Top 40 or things from the 1980s—because that’s what people who are getting married now want us to play. We also play standards and a variety of music to try to please the entire crowd, and we learn new songs every week.
A couple of weekends ago we learned a bunch of Marc Anthony songs for a Hispanic wedding. And we have a whole Horah medley for Jewish people.
Q: Being in a band with your family seems like something people would want to see on reality TV.
A: People say that all the time. On the side I like to make movies and write scores for them, and I’ve always thought of making a film about it.
Q: How often do you do gigs?
A: It’s really something dependent on the season. In August we’ll do one to two per week.
In October, it’s Oktoberfest, plus it’s a popular time for weddings in Florida, so I’ll play four to seven gigs a week. Or in December, there are lots of holiday parties and people getting married.
People like to get married on the beach—my favorite thing is to take the cello on the beach.
Q: Are you serious?
A: No, that’s sarcasm. Bringing a wooden instrument on the beach is no fun.
Q: That makes sense. What’s one of the best or more memorable shows you’ve done?
A: A few weekends ago we did a gig at the Orlando Country Club. It was a non-stop party. We were there for four hours and for three and a half of them, they were just PACKED on the dance floor. People were even coming on the stage; it was REALLY fun.
Q: People who plan weddings can be intense. Do you have to deal with that?
A: My mom is really good with dealing with the brides.
I feel like sometimes a lot of people care too much about what the wedding is going to look like. Sometimes we get these schedules that are in like 15-minute increments, and it’s like, “Come on, relax!”
Other times we’ve done gigs at Disney World and you have to stop so Mickey and Minnie can come out. Or there are people who have us stop playing and then they’re like, “OK everyone, it’s time to go look at the ice sculptures!”
Q: Are you close with your parents?
A: We’re very close. My dad is like the best musician ever and my mom sings. We have a home office and a studio at our house. We sometimes do recordings for people.
Q: How old were you when you started doing actual shows?
A: I first did Oktoberfest when I was like 12 or 13. I didn’t really get the whole concept at that point. I just knew a chicken came out and we’d play the chicken dance.
Q: I assume you don’t mean a real chicken.
A: It was a man dressed up like a chicken, in this costume that had these big eyes—it creeped me out.
I did weddings when I was in high school, maybe at age 14. People were always coming up and saying, “Wow! You’re so young!” They even do that now, and I’m 22.
Q: When you’re at a wedding, do you ever think, “Oh, this couple is never going to make it.”
A: Yes! I’ll say that to my sister! I mean 60% of the time it won’t, right? Those are the statistics.
Q: Are you able to make a living from these shows?
A: My parents live off it, but I have to have other jobs.
Q: You sound like you really enjoy it.
A: It’s directly making people happy. And music is really good for everything about you.
It’s one of those things that can be the same thing over and over but I never get tired of it. We’re really lucky, but we did practice really hard.