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How 8 ‘Boys From Glen Rock Excessive’ all made it in music and showbiz

Floyd Vivino received despatched right down to Joe Sielski as a result of he was at all times in hassle in school.

The powers that be thought he may higher expend his power in band.

So Sielski, the music instructor and band chief at Glen Rock Excessive, put Floyd to work on the cymbals.

Half a century later, Floyd — now often called Uncle Floyd — is on the identical faculty, nonetheless smashing these cymbals within the documentary “Banded Collectively: The Boys From Glen Rock Excessive,” premiering Saturday, Oct. 29 on the Montclair Movie Competition.

Floyd, 71, and his youthful brothers, musicians Jimmy Vivino, 67, and Jerry Vivino, 68, are simply three of the eight former Glen Rock Excessive college students featured within the movie.

All of them have one factor in widespread — they received to reside their goals in music and TV.

Sielski (“seal-ski”), a instructor and band director at Glen Rock Excessive from 1963 to 2003, calls the years he taught college students his “golden age” — a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of expertise.

“They had been taking part in at knowledgeable stage whereas they had been in class,” he says within the movie.

And so they’re nonetheless at it.

The documentary is the performers’ salute to the place that made them who they’re: a green-lawned hamlet they name a mixture of the placid Shire from “Lord of the Rings” and the suburban splendor of “The Surprise Years,” all centered by the 570-ton boulder that offers the city its title.

Director Barry Rubinow, at middle, with Jimmy Vivino, left, and Jerry Vivino. All are alumni of Glen Rock Excessive.Barry Rubinow

Los Angeles director Barry Rubinow, an alum of Glen Rock Excessive himself (class of ’74), filmed interviews with the group of eight and Sielski, their beloved music instructor. All of them received collectively for a reunion live performance on the faculty in December 2021.

“It is fairly wonderful that every one that expertise got here out in that brief a time frame and from this small city,” Rubinow tells NJ Advance Media.

He grew up an in depth buddy of two of the movie’s topics — upright bass participant John Feeney and bass guitarist Doug Romoff, a producer of the documentary.

“The three of us frolicked on a regular basis,” Rubinow says, although their careers would take them in several instructions.

For Feeney and Romoff, that meant musically completely different, too — Feeney, who attended Juilliard on a scholarship, performs double bass with worldwide orchestras as a classical chamber musician and a soloist.

Romoff first had the thought for the reunion undertaking. Nevertheless it would not be the type of reunion the place nobody’s seen one another in years — they nonetheless play collectively.

In Glen Rock, hometown pleasure runs so robust that the reunion live performance, organized for the movie, bought out in a matter of hours, says Rubinow, who left New Jersey in 1978 to attend movie faculty on the College of Southern California.

The ’70s had been the heyday of “The Uncle Floyd Present,” Floyd Vivino’s regionally televised sendup of a child’s collection that was successful with loads of adults, together with David Bowie and John Lennon.

Cymbals had been his band instrument, however Floyd faucets away on the piano in Rubinow’s documentary prefer it’s an extension of his physique, an “ambassador of happiness” together with his signature bowtie, hat and plaid jacket.

“This was the center of our college to us and we received our bootcamp and fundamental coaching proper right here,” Floyd says within the movie, hanging across the halls of his alma mater.

He stands out as the apparent “title” within the documentary, however so are his brothers.

Banded Together: The Boys From Glen Rock High

Lee Shapiro and Jimmy Vivino reducing it up at their outdated mentor’s home.Barry Rubinow

Jimmy Vivino, a guitarist, keyboard participant, singer, arranger and producer, served as bandleader for the Primary Cable Band, which for eight years till 2018 was the home band for TBS’ “Conan” with Conan O’Brien. Jerry Vivino was a featured saxophonist within the late-night band.

The Vivinos performed in Conan’s home band underneath one title or one other for 25 years. They began out on NBC’s “Late Evening with Conan O’Brien” because the Max Weinberg 7 earlier than the E Avenue Band drummer left to play with Bruce Springsteen (they had been briefly known as Max Weinberg and the Tonight Present Band when O’Brien hosted that present in 2009 and 2010).

The Vivinos had been with O’Brien from the start — 1993, when he began as a inexperienced, 30-year-old speak present host on “Late Evening.”

O’Brien, 59, makes a robust displaying within the documentary.

Conan loves these guys and it comes by within the movie,” says Rubinow, who has largely labored as a movie editor, successful a Daytime Emmy for the science collection “Beakman’s World” in 1995. He additionally co-founded the now-defunct Documentary Channel .

In “Banded Collectively,” O’Brien remembers when he first heard the Vivinos at their audition — “45 seconds into them taking part in, I turned to Jeff Ross (his producer, not the slapstick comedian) and stated, ‘Purchase me this band. That is our band,’” he says.

Banded Together: The Boys From Glen Rock High

Conan O’Brien being interviewed for “Banded Collectively.” Jimmy and Jerry Vivino performed in his exhibits’ bands for 25 years. Barry Rubinow

The speak present host, who left “Conan” in 2021 — he has a brand new HBO Max collection on the way in which — grew up watching “The Uncle Floyd Present” together with his personal brothers on native TV in Massachusetts. However he hadn’t realized the Vivinos had been Floyd‘s brothers.

“We had been actually jazzed about that,” O’Brien says, particularly as a result of he discovered a kindred spirit in Uncle Floyd.

“It was coming from such an odd angle,” he says of the range present. O’Brien sums up the ethos of Floyd’s comedy as: “I do not care should you get it or not. I do know what I am doing.” (It is an angle he is aware of fairly effectively.)

Jimmy, Jerry and Floyd’s father, Jerry Vivino Sr., was a trumpet participant, nevertheless it wasn’t his day job — he was a carpenter. So I inspired his kids to pursue their musical passions. He made positive they’d each attainable ability to turn into viable performers — they did not simply grasp devices: they discovered how one can dance, faucet dance and sing.

“The Vivinos, they’re old-school,” O’Brien says within the movie. “They’re vaudevillians. It is these two younger Italian boys they usually’re hoofers… It is old-time present enterprise.”

The Vivinos, then residing in Paterson, carried out as a dance group on the 1964 World’s Truthful. However they stop when a instructor urged they take ballet. They met the remainder of their musical associates in Glen Rock and fashioned a band.

Their story is a triumph of music schooling—and good old style hustle.

Banded Together: The Boys From Glen Rock High

Jeff Venho, Frank Pagano, John Feeney, Doug Romoff and Jerry Vivino reunited.Barry Rubinow

The Vivinos and associates began taking part in paying gigs in highschool, like on the Vacation Inn in Lyndhurst (hiding within the lavatory, they are saying, when a union rep confirmed up).

Within the movie, Jimmy, who additionally performed with Clarence Clemons of the E Avenue Band, says they had been making as a lot as $350 per week in 1974.

Who had time for any band drama once they may simply… play?

After all, it helped that the boys had a really sturdy spine of optimistic reinforcement that prolonged past the Vivino household.

“The dad and mom had been very supportive and crucial to their improvement,” Rubinow says.

Dick Romoff, Doug’s father, who Rubinow remembers as a “bigger than life man,” was knowledgeable studio participant on the upright bass. Most significantly for the Glen Rock boys, he was an instance of what it may appear to be to actually make it as a working musician.

Banded Together: The Boys From Glen Rock High

Lee Shapiro on keyboard, Jerry Vivino on saxophone and Jimmy Vivino on guitar, rehearsing for his or her reunion live performance at Glen Rock Excessive College.Barry Rubinow

One other of the movie’s topics, Jeff Venho, studied on the Juilliard College on a trumpet scholarship. He went on to carry out on Broadway and with the New York Metropolis Opera.

His father, Hal Venho, labored as a producer at “The Tonight Present Starring Johnny Carson,” and gave the Glen Rock boys an up-close view of the home band. He even received Doc Severinsen, who led the present’s NBC Orchestra, to speak to them. The expert trumpeter gifted the youthful Venho his personal trumpet.

At simply 77 minutes, “Banded Collectively” covers a variety of floor — the Vivinos are proven jamming with their Glen Rock Excessive friends Feeney, Romoff, Venho, Lee Shapiro and Frank Pagano. All are completed musicians and/or arrangers with spectacular resumes.

Their mentor, Mr. Sielski, jams proper alongside them on the reunion present. The Glen Rock boys additionally go to him at his house in Allendale, and reminisce about engaged on faculty musicals and exhibits collectively.

Banded Together: The Boys From Glen Rock High

Lee Shapiro, proper, pictured with Doug Romoff, middle, and Frank Pagano, left, joined Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons when he was 19.Barry Rubinow

Pagano, a drummer who has labored with Phoebe Snow, Darlene Love and Bruce Springsteen and the E Avenue Band, has additionally performed on Broadway for many years.

Shapiro, who would go on to turn into a keyboardist and music arranger and director, was an everyday within the Vivino family rising up, even often called the “fourth Vivino brother.”

They’d all play music collectively in class and after faculty, whether or not it was Wednesday evening jazz band apply or again at house in somebody’s storage.

It was a lifestyle. They knew you needed to apply to get higher, and their fixed drive and self-discipline had the impact of bringing their uncooked expertise to a good larger stage.

Shapiro joined Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons when he was simply 19. His credit embody “Who Loves You” (1975) and “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Evening)” (1976).

After Shapiro, then 20, heard considered one of his songs on the radio for the primary time, he pulled over on Route 17 in Paramus.

He simply needed to inform his mom.

Banded Collectively: The Boys From Glen Rock Excessive” (77 minutes) will premiere on the Montclair Movie Competition 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 at The Clairidge (486 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair). A Q&A with director Barry Rubinow will observe.

A second screening is about for midday Sunday, Oct. 30 at Montclair Kimberley Academy Higher College (6 Lloyd Street, Montclair). Tickets $17; montclairfilm.org. Formore: bandedtogethermovie.com.

Extra from the Montclair Movie Competition

‘The Whale’ star Brendan Fraser will get one other standing ovation, this time in NJ

‘The Good Nurse’ star Eddie Redmayne, ‘The Inspection’ director Magnificence Bratton honored for actual NJ tales

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Amy Kuperinsky could also be reached at akuperinsky@njadvancemedia.com and adopted at @AmyKup on Twitter.

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