By Phil Stacey
---- — About the only thing Erik D’Orlando has been doing longer than playing the piano is playing hockey.
This Saturday night, he’ll use one of his passions to help fund another.
D’Orlando, a junior at Danvers High School and a member of the Falcons’ varsity hockey team, will be behind the keyboards Saturday night at Timothy’s at the Village Green in Danvers, playing both with his own band and one his his mentors in a fundraising night for the DHS hockey program.
Maes, a Lynn native and Berklee College of Music graduate, has toured the world playing with famous musicians and remains a popular draw locally. His band, The Brian Maes Band, will be the featured performers in this Danvers Falcons Hockey fundraising event. D’Orlando’s three-piece band, 43 Church Street, will also be on the bill, and D’Orlando will also play together with Maes — who also serves as his keyboard teacher.
“A guy my family knows had Brian as a teacher and thought I might be interested in working with him, and of course I was,” said the 17-year-old D’Orlando, a defenseman on the Danvers hockey team and part of last winter’s Division 2 North finalists. “At first I was a little intimidated because his skill is so fantastic, but I got adjusted quickly. He taught me to get out of my classical piano training and let loose a bit.”
D’Orlando, who has been out playing in local clubs since he was 15, can play anything from classic rock — he enjoys playing difficult keyboard tunes such as ‘Pinball Wizard’ by The Who and ‘She’s The One’ by Bruce Springsteen — to modern rock.
“A lot of people don’t know I play (piano), but my hockey teammates do,” said D’Orlando. “We have team pasta parties and if someone had a piano in their house, I’d play.”
Tony D’Orlando, Erik’s father, joined the Danvers High Hockey Boosters within the last year and came up with the fundraiser idea. Knowing both Maes’ popularity — he’s played with acts ranging from Little Richard, K.C. and the Sunshine Band and Peter Wolf from the J. Geils Band, to being in groups that opened up for U2 and Aerosmith — and and the fact that his son took lessons under him, it seemed like a no-brainer to put the two together to raise money for the hockey program.
“Brian’s a really popular guy in the area; he’s played all over the world,” said the elder D’Orlando, who noted there has been considerable buzz about the event in the community. “When he decided to help us out, that was wonderful. And Erik has been working with Brian for the last year-and-a-half; he really fell right into his wheelhouse.”
D’Orlando and his bandmates — 18-year-old drummer Domenic Tringali and 13-year-old vocalist Rachel DiFava — will perform one set Saturday night. Maes and his band will play three different sets, with D’Orlando joining him at some point.
“Sometimes with Brian and we’re both playing keyboards at the same time, it’s like we’re dueling. I like that,” said D’Orlando.
The three Danvers High hockey captains (Matty Flynn, Jay Calcagno and Kevin Hodgkins) will be there Saturday to greet people as they arrive as well.
To date, almost 400 tickets have been sold for Saturday night’s event, which runs from 7:30-11:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person and may be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 978-762-8685.