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'Ole Skool' Gives Disco Era Music A Second Life

Keyboards, drums, guitars and a tambourine blaze around booming vocals. Tanya Johnson of Elmsford, Ole Skool's group manager, purrs into her microphone, "This is our theme song because there's so much holding us down." The band continues to play the funky, upbeat Peter Brown song, "Dance With Me."

On a humid 90 degree day, Ole Skool rehearses inside an air-conditioned Mt. Vernon studio for their upcoming concert at the Greenburgh Public Library on Wednesday. The band of eight "over-40-year-olds" was formed in February 2008. They are a cover band, specializing the feel of Motown, basic R&B and light jazz

"We are from the era of the 60s, 70s and 80s," said Herbert DeVore, the band's music director. "It's a style of the disco era. We carry the sound of live music. We are a raw sound."

Ole Skool does not subscribe to auto-tune, sampling or any other form of mechanical music. They simply play classic songs and add their own spin to them. They have covered many infamous musicians, including Diana Ross, the Temptations, the Contours, Taste of Honey, Cool and the Gang, and Earth, Wind and Fire.

The band consists of Johnson from Elmsford on vocals and percussion, DeVore of Yonkers on lead guitar, Greenburgh's Alfred Stewart on the keyboard and as vocal director, Chris "Chopper" McVey from Yonkers on the drums, Mykle Hicks from White Plains on bass guitar, Yonkers' Vicki King on vocals, Rita Johnson from White Plains on vocals, and Warren Leach playing conga.

Wednesday night's concert at the Greenburgh Public Library will run the gamut of their musical talents, featuring roughly ten songs. Since Ole Skool plays many styles, "if something feels good," they said, they just do it.

"Once we hit that first note, it's going to be great," said Johnson. "The audience is in for a treat. They're in for a real treat because we're fun."

The concert begins at 7 p.m.

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