Rocking cashmere

The lights, the crowd, the applause, the rush of adrenaline all make freshmen band Cashmere, want to perform time and time again. 

The band consists of guitarist Alex Ferragamo (’18), alt-saxpophonist Malcolm Tisdale (’18), rhythmic guitarist Kyle Dubin (’18), drummer Jacob Proctor-Bonbright (’18), bass player Marco Kelly (’18) and featured singer Isabelle Gorrivan (’18).

Cashmere was formed a year ago, when the freshmen were approached by Performing Arts Teacher Mete Ege. Ege wanted to help them pursue and further expand their musical passions.

Recently, just a year after their formation, Cashmere performed at a private party at Abbey Road Studios – the place of birth of The Beatles’ album. For most bands, performing at Abbey Road studios is an experience years in the making. But for Cashmere, it has become a reality.

Tisdale recognizes the privilege of such an incredible opportunity. “For a small band started by ninth graders, it’s pretty incredible to play at Abbey Road that some people dream all of their lives to play,” Tisdale said. “It’s pretty special.”

Cashmere’s other performnces include eighth grade graduation and last year’s Battle of the Bands.

The band currently has seven song covers in their set, playing primarily blues and jazz, and are hoping to add another to their repertoire. “We have another song we’d like to add, and once we get those down, then we can definitely start performing at school, which will give us experience to go further in upcoming years,” Tisdale said. They hope that this year, they will win ASL’s Battle of the Bands.

Although the band are performing covers, Cashmere is personalizing them, something that Ege finds both impressive and important. “Yes they are playing other people’s songs, they are doing covers, but they’re doing it their own way,” Ege said. “They already woke up to the fact that, you know, to be able to personalize something, you have to actually put a bit from yourself in there.”

The band can’t help but smile when the crowd erupts into applause the minute they put down their instruments. It is this rewarding nature of performance that Dubin not only looks forward to, but drives him to perform.

Similarly, the rush of adrenaline when performing is Ferragamo’s favorite part. “Especially when you’re performing, you just get a rush, and it feels so good,” Ferragamo said.

For Proctor-Bonbright, the nerves of playing in front of people disappear as soon he begins. Once he starts, Proctor-Bonbright focuses on what he has to do to make the song sound the best it can be. “I’m really nervous until I start playing, and then just I focus on what I have to do,” Proctor-Bonbright said. “I don’t really think about the crowd anymore.”

Psyching himself up before taking the stage, and even days in advance, is a necessity for Tisdale, otherwise there is a chance that his nerves will show up in his playing.

Dealing with nerves and becoming more comfortable playing in front of people has been one of the biggest challenges that Cashmere has had to overcome. But, all of the challenges are worth it when the song is perfected. “The best bit is when you finally get a song that you know and you feel like it’s perfect, and it’s as good as it can be,” Proctor-Bonbright said.

The band are hopeful for their future, and feel that they are becoming more comfortable playing in front of people, something that is significantly harder than practicing for just themselves. “I think [what] we’re on our way to accomplishing is just [to] be more comfortable in our performance and in our environment,” Kelly said.

Cashmere is hoping to improve on becoming more comfortable in front of crowds, something that performing at Abbey Road Studios has helped. “I think it was the first real performance outside of school that our band has done, so it was a big step for us in terms of branching out into other aspects of the community,” Ferragamo said.

Ege is working with Cashmere to improve their on-stage presence. Ege wants them “to get people to dance,” something Ege believes is very important.

Although the Abbey Road performance was a huge success and incredible opportunity, Ege is looking forward,  knowing that there is work to be done.

Ege is also hoping to schedule more opportunities for the band to perform in school.

Ege is very happy with Cashmere’s progress as a band, and thinks that they have started “to create a bit of a buzz around [Cashmere].”

However, Ege still sees more for the future of Cashmere. “There’s still more work to come, and they need to learn more challenging stuff, and of course, they have to become not individually good musicians, but as a band they have to be very tight and solid players.”