by Sadie Williams
It’s not often that a high school band sticks together post-graduation, especially when its members attend colleges in three different states. However that’s just what happened for four incredibly talented boys from Champlain Valley Union (CVU). What began as a series of extended jam sessions between drummer Alex Meyers of Shelburne and guitarist/vocalist Garret Brown of Hinesburg in the summer of 2010 quickly turned into a successful touring band by the name of Dionysia with the addition of bassist Will Kiernan of Charlotte and saxophonist/pianist/vocalist Julien Vandal of Shelburne.
Dionysia got their break when Anthony Santo, a producer in New York City, heard their original demos from the grad challenge project that Alex did his senior year at CVU. Santo expressed interest in helping them create an album that would be on par, in terms of sound and style, with national bands. After fundraising to cover the cost of recording and travelling for the better part of a semester from their various colleges (and still keeping up with their school work), they had completed an album entitled “Antics”. It was released at a jam packed Higher Ground on Jan. 3.
Five months down the road from their record release, the band is headed out on their first tour. They will be playing shows all down the east coast and into Florida, Texas, and Ohio. And they recognize the difficulty of covering new territory as a relatively unknown band. “It’s going to be a whole different ball game in these different states…fortunately, our sax/keys/vocalist Julien has been hard at work putting together a list of local radio stations and press contacts in every city we’re going to”, says Garret. It’s just that attitude of preparedness that will make these dedicated musicians successful.
Their energy throughout the production and touring process extends to their shows and fans as well. “We’re entertainers and our goal is for every audience to leave our show feeling as if they were entertained and that they made a connection with our music. Our band name is Dionysia (dye-ohh-nee-jah) and it was the festival the Greeks used to hold in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine and celebration. Coincidentally, the meaning of our name coincides with our mentality surrounding our music: every show should be a celebration of music, good company and grand experiences.”
Dionysia hits the road today. With their eclectic blend of soulful rock and energetic performances, they are sure to make a lasting impression in every state they visit. For more information on the band, check out their Facebook page or their website, dionysiaband.com.