Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses like Mavericks restaurant and bar became the hub of a burgeoning live music scene in East Boston. On the weekends, crowds packed the bar and listened to professional musicians like Joey Blake, who tours regularly with Bobby McFerrin, play alongside amateur and underground musicians honing their craft live on stage.
One band to emerge, led by East Boston Neighborhood Health Center Vice President Steve Snyder, became the de facto house band for Mavericks and invited anyone willing to jam onstage for a session–much to the delight of patrons.
Many of these jam sessions included students and instructors from Eastie’s music program Zumix.
Sadly, live music became one of the casualties of the ongoing pandemic and places like Mavericks were forced to abandon live music and open mic nights to ensure proper social distancing and reduce the spread of COVID.
However, an online fundraiser for Zumix Monday night by Snyder and his Don’t Be Denied band, which includes Omar Sosa and Kramer Gibson, was a slight return to live shows the neighborhood has been craving for months.
Dozens tuned into the Don’t Be Denied band’s live performance that was streamed on Facebook and Youtube.
“Zumix is an incredible organization that I have been supporting as a Board Member for a number of years,” said Snyder. “They do amazing youth development through music and arts and have positively impacted inner-city youth for 30 years. COVID 19 of course has had a dramatic impact on programming, and any support you can show by joining this event will be greatly appreciated, whether you give one dollar or a million dollars or just tune in to share a positive vibe – Lord knows we can all use that.”
Snyder and his band played four original songs with the presidential election in mind.
The performance ended with an original video for the Don’t Be Denied new song “World on Fire (How Do You Feel Now?)”–a song that explores the racial strife and inequity that exists in America today.
“After months with no live music, and a long cold winter on the horizon, Zumix Board member Steven Snyder thought of a remedy,” said Zumix Founder and Executive Director Madeleine Steczynski. “On Monday, November 2, the night before election day, he held a safe, intimate live concert to benefit Zumix and streamed the event so other guests could tune in safely, enjoy the music, and support the organization. A highlight from the night was the premier of his Steven’s new music video entitled World On Fire (How are You Feeling Now?), which is available on Itunes and Spotify.”
Steczynski was at the event and was so grateful for the outpouring of support.
“On behalf of everyone at Zumix, I want to thank Steven Snyder, Omar Sosa, and Kramer Gibson for sharing their musical gifts with all of us, and for lifting our spirits during this tumultuous time,” said Steczynski.
Zumix has been teaching over 300 students remotely since March, and has also been providing core support for families in need through their Mutual Support Network. Donations to ZUMIX can be made online at www.zumix.org/donate, or by making a check out to ZUMIX and mailing it to 260 Sumner Street, East Boston, MA 02128.