It started back in August, the brainchild of Michael McNamara, the instrumental music director at RHS. “I used to live in Bridgeport, which has a thriving music scene. I loved it. I would hang out and play there all the time. After moving to Ridgefield, it was too far for me to go regularly. I missed seeing and playing good live music.”
McNamara approached Joe Attonito, owner of Tigers’ Den, to do a funk night residency on Thursday nights. “I really loved the idea, so we decided to give it a try. I loved it even more after they came in the first time and tore the place up. They’re unbelievable. More people should know about them.”
The group features McNamara on guitar and other music teachers who live regionally. Musicians include Andrew Beals on sax, Jamie Finegan on keys, Greg DiMiceli on drums, and Dan Asher rotates with Miles Livolsi on bass. “I knew most of these guys as private teachers of my students. I’ve been recommending them to my kids for years. Greg is a dad of 3 of my students, and when I found out he was a music teacher we struck up a friendship. So when it came time to think of local guys, it was easy to make the calls.”
The band took the name Shere Khan, a play on the antagonist from Kipling’s The Jungle Book. “We are playing the Tigers’ Den, after all,” says McNamara. They play modernized arrangements of funk classics, such as Tower of Power, Medeschi Martin and Wood, John Scofield, Horace Silver, the Meters, Stevie Wonder, and Bill Withers.
So, how did the idea for fundraising come about? “It all started with the kids’ teachers and students coming to sit in over the summer. It was a great community building experience. One night we played after a fundraiser for girls’ soccer, and that sparked the conversation. Joe really loves the town and helping kids. He is going to donate a portion of his Thursday proceeds to our booster group, Ridgefield Music Matters. We are hoping it will be an authentic opportunity for the kids to get some real world performance, fun for their teachers to play with them, and all in support of a great cause. Everybody wins.”
To support the RHS music booster, Ridgefield Music Matters, patrons of Tigers’ Den simply turn in a flyer with their check each Thursday. Music starts at 7:30PM, but the fundraiser is good at the dinner hour. Download the flyer at www.rhsmusicdept.org/rmm.