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Wall Street Band takes centre stage

The Wall Street Band officially formed in September 2008 — a month before the stock market crashed.

Their reputation was growing and a change of name would be confusing, so the band laughed it off.

“The seed started with the Bermuda Music Festival,” Robert Edwards, the band's founder said.

“A lot of people had shows and singers, but no band. In 2005, Glenn Blakeney asked me to put one together. He wanted something in terms of consistency.”

The band performed for the entire three nights of the festival and were a huge hit; other requests followed.

To keep pace, Mr Edwards invited “players [he] felt would fit into the vibe” of the group he had in mind, to join as permanent members. By 2007, the group was sorted.

“We never had a name,” the keyboard player said. “We probably worked two or three times a year. We had nine band members and we always had our background singers, Fusion. We decided we should become a self-contained unit and I felt that Fusion, the background singers, would offer more variety than to have one focal point.”

Praise came through the lead singers they backed — Sia Spence, Gita Blakeney, George Huff, Ashford & Simpson, The Temptations and The Spinners are among a long list.

In 2008, the band played under its new name at New York's famed Apollo Theatre. Another highlight came in 2016, when Wall Street earned a Best of Bermuda Award from The Bermudian magazine and another the following year when the band was selected to represent the island at Carifesta in Barbados.

It all began with the path Mr Edwards started on when he entered Warwick Academy.

Roy Ricketts hooked the 12-year-old with his first trumpet lesson, but it was Mr Ricketts's successor, Warren Jones, who inspired Mr Edwards to choose music as a career.

“He made music fun and interesting and showed us the opportunities that music can provide, and not just through being a music teacher,” the 52-year-old said. “I actually ended up at his alma mater, University of Southern Maine.”

Mr Edwards taught at the Berkeley Institute and Sandys Secondary Middle School, but is now a part-time tour guide on the boat Excellence. The rest of his working hours are devoted to music.

“Before, we would sit back and let work come to us. For the past two or three years we've gone out to get work. It is a challenge — we are a [pretty big] band.”

A huge boost has come through a government programme that showcases local artists at The Grand on Church Street every Saturday, from November to March.

“We've been very fortunate with [Community &] Cultural Affairs,” Mr Edwards said.

Wall Street will be put to the test tomorrow as the backing band for Nadanja's Pre Mother's Day Show, which features Skeet Carter from Comedy Central.

Last Call, Lloyd Holder, Angelis Hunt and Kion Simmons are also on the bill and there will be a special performance by His N Hers. Cocktail reception starts at 7.30pm; showtime is 8.30pm at Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts. Tickets, $65, are available at 27th Century Boutique, Stefanel, Kit 'N' Caboodle and bdatix.bm.

Contact Wall Street Band on scadafi@onelove.bm or 338-3721

Wall Street Band (from left) Kent Hayward, Daemon Hollis, Cindy Smith, Robert Edwards, Charo Hollis, Denton Leader, Chaundra Maybury, and Eugene 'T' Tuzo. Missing are Graham Maule, Conrad Roach, Max Maybury and Zayne Bean (Photograph supplied)

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Published May 04, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated May 04, 2018 at 12:13 am)

Wall Street Band takes centre stage

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