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Patriotic harmony: Locals to sing anthem at bull riding event

Patriotic harmony: Locals to sing anthem at bull riding event


It is the biggest gig yet for a young, hard-working group of Lake Geneva area musicians.

The Gravity of Youth will perform the national anthem for a crowd of bull riding enthusiasts Sept. 19 at the Walworth County Fairgrounds.

For a couple of years, Sarah Teale and brothers Spencer and Connor Spiewak have been performing as a three-piece piano band, covering classic rock songs at area restaurants and resorts.

Teale is a Badger High School graduate, while Connor Spiewak is still attending Badger. Spencer graduated from Burlington High School.

At the Sept. 19 Elkhorn Invitational, the trio will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” a cappella — no instrumental accompaniment, just vocals.

“As we have done with a number of our song interpretations, we want to try to make this piece our own as well, by working to incorporate our love of harmony, which has become a bit of a signature for us,” said Spencer Spiewak.

Ron Geman, one of the bull riding event coordinators, first heard the Gravity of Youth over a year ago at the Annual Classic Car and Tractor Show at Pearce’s Farm Stand in Walworth.

He said he asked them to perform the anthem because he knows they’re going to kill it. “I think they could be the next big thing.”

In the following Q&A, Spencer Spiewak discusses what to expect from them at the event, plus what to expect in the future from the Gravity of Youth.

Note: The following has been edited for clarity and length.

Resorter: How are you planning to put your own spin on “The Star-Spangled Banner?”

Spencer Spiewak: Respecting the pure timeless patriotic beauty of our anthem, we humbly hope our portrayal will reflect our love for our country and all those service men and woman who fought to give us the right to be able to stand before all those folks to sing such an amazing piece. We hope our passion for music pays respect to their toughness, courage and bravery — a humbling honor for us to say the least.

Resorter: Why a cappella?

Spencer Spiewak: Since the band’s inception there has always been a great focus on harmonies within the music we perform together. With harmony playing such a vital role in the band, we figured we would further push the boundaries of what we are capable of vocally. We represent three distinctly different personalities, all influenced in significantly different ways. When you sing something a cappella, there is nowhere to hide. We wanted this to be as open and honest as possible.

Resorter: How do your different personalities help define your sound?

Spencer Spiewak: I’m influenced heavily by the harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Beatles, America and Journey, to name just a few. Connor dives deep into the disciplines of technical progressive rock and jazz with his drum studies — he also loves Rush, Yes and Styx. Sarah draws influence from the likes of Etta James, Norah Jones and Queen. I believe what sets us apart from other artists is the marrying of each of our influences. Being a three-piece piano jam band is a bit unique, for sure. Covering the music we cover — time-tested classic rock — also is a bit unique for our age group. When we come together, the music flows through each of our efforts to form one very powerful experience.

Resorter: In between shows, the Gravity of Youth is also working on an album of original music. Why make an album?

Spencer Spiewak: I’d like to think that, when finished, it will be a special reminder of the amazing times we have been afforded in the first two years of the band’s existence. The album also serves as our voice beyond cover material, too. People see we can play other people’s songs and wonder if we have our own voice. Our first album will hopefully help communicate just that.

Resorter: Which do you enjoy more — playing live or working on the album?

Spencer Spiewak: As much as I love the live scene and playing to our amazing fan base, diving into studio work has always fascinated me. When time permits, I could spend hours with the band, working on ideas for new tunes. I guess the coolest part has to be putting in the time to get a piece right and seeing the polished finished product when it’s complete to our standards — incredibly rewarding as an artist.

Resorter: Back to the Sept. 19 performance, will this be the only time you will perform the National Anthem?

Spencer Spiewak: You just never know who might be watching. That’s the fun part for us. We might just weave it into our set from time to time. I would hope, with a little luck, there would be a chance you’ll hear it again at some other large or major events as well.

For more about the Gravity of Youth, visit their Facebook page.

For more about the Sept. 19 event, visit the Facebook pages of the Walworth County Fairgrounds or Professional Championship Bullriders.

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