First Class DANCE Band NY
Stephanie Vitale (lead singer): Stephanie graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a Music Performance Degree and studied voice with Celeste Simone. Stephanie went on to teach music/voice and dance at Rockland Community College and School of Rock for a number of years. Over the last several years she has performed at numerous venues around New York such as the Elmwood Playhouse, Irvington Town Hall Theater, Antrim Playhouse, Symphony Space and the Helen Hayes Theater. She has had both lead and supporting roles in performances of Hot Mikado, Little Me, A Chorus Line, Damn Yankees, Grease, Fiddler on the Roof, Little Shop of Horrors, Cabaret, Company, Christmas Carol, and Oliver. Stephanie had the great pleasure of playing the role of Fantine in the first school edition of Les Miserables on the Broadway Stage. She has also had the honor of soloing for a "Wall to Wall" Richard Rodgers concert, a Stephen Sondheim workshop, and to sing for the CBS Rock Chicks in NYC. She is very excited about the future of The First Class Dance Band and is "honored to perform with such a talented group".
Rachel Sara Gomberg (lead singer): Rachel has been a part of the Rockland music community for over 15 years. She was a long time participant of NYSSMA, bringing her to multiple All-State Music conferences. Within Rockland, she studied under professional vocal teachers Bette Glenn, Celeste Simon, and Mike Smith. Rachel received an Associate degree from Rockland Community College and a Bachelors degree in Acting and Musical Theatre from Marymount Manhattan. She has been working around NYC and the Northeast as a singer and theatrical performer. She is very excited to be able to sing and perform with The First Class Dance Band with what she terms as "this talented bunch of musicians". Rachel credits her achievements to the generous support from her loving parents.
Paul Loffredo (Keyboard/Lead Singer): Paul began classical piano training at the Bronx House for Performing Arts at age 5. At age 12 he received piano instruction for one year from Victor Tallerico (father of Steve Tyler of Aerosmith). He has been playing keyboards for over 50 years including the Hammond Organ, Electric Piano and Synthesizer. As a founding member of the Shades of Brass, a 7 piece jazz/rock cover band, he has performed around New York with recording artists such as The Brooklyn Bridge, The Happenings, Tommy James, The Soul Searchers, The Drifters, Fats Domino, and The Crystals. Paul performed as organist for Chuck Berry at the Westbury Music Fair. Paul was also a founder of the original First Class Band, a 6 piece club/wedding band and of the current 8 piece First Class Dance Band.
Richie Diaz (Trumpet): Richie started playing at the early age of 12 and has played many different styles of music with many different bands over his long playing career. He has performed in big bands, drum & bugle corps., churches, jazz combos, Latin bands, and cover bands. He has played everything including big band jazz, liturgical music, marching music, top 40, soul, R&B, and funk. Over the last few years (20+) he has been a lead trumpeter with The Tappan Zee Bridgemen, a professional parade band and other soul and funk bands. He is currently the lead trumpeter with the top notch First Class Dance Band.
Frank Petrocelli (Saxophone): Frank has degrees in music education and a Masters in Saxophone Performance and Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University, where he studied with Trent Kynaston. He currently performs professionally in a wide range of genres. He has been a soloist and performer with the Kalamazoo, West Shore and Newburgh Symphony Orchestras. He has performed with The Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey and Playland Big Bands. He currently freelances in the metro New York area and has performed in such famous venues as Carnegie Hall, Birdland, the Metropolitan Room, Feinstein’s 54 Below and the Friar’s Club. Frank is a music educator at Monroe-Woodbury High School in Orange County, NY, where he teaches instrumental music, music theory, jazz ensemble and pep band.
Vinny Vollono (Bass Guitar): Vinny began playing bass at 16 years old. He studied music at the City College of New York and joined the Shades of Brass, 7-piece jazz/rock group and performed in clubs all around New York City. Vinny has also performed (with Paul and Joe) backing up numerous recording artists and Chuck Berry at Westbury Music Fair. Since that time Vinny has played with numerous bands covering all genres of music; Rock, Motown, Jazz, Funk and Pop. He has also done studio work recording numerous tracks with original bands. Having recently performed at various fund raising events Vinny has rejoined with Paul and Joe to form the First Class Dance Band.
Mike Squillante (Drums): Mike began playing drums at 14 years of age. He has played for local theater groups for over 30 years and performed in shows such as 42nd Street, Anything Goes, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, On The Town and No No Nanette. Mike has played in a number of cover bands over the last 25 years and subbed for numerous others.
His experience includes Pop, Rock, Alternative, Jazz & Top 40 Dance Music
In Memoriam: Joe Carpentieri (Guitar/Lead Singer): Joe was a guitarist/musician and vocalist from the age of 14. He had performed with cover bands, original music bands, wedding /party bands, big band swing bands, oldies groups and others. As a founding member of the Shades of Brass, a 7 piece jazz/rock cover band, he has performed around New York with recording artists such as The Brooklyn Bridge, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, The Happenings, Tommy James, The Soul Searchers, The Drifters, and The Crystals; at various nightclubs and other venues, including the Westbury Music Fair. Joe was also a founding member of the original First Class Band, a 6 piece club/wedding band and of the current 8 piece First Class Dance Band. Joe was also the vocalist for the 18 piece Greg Westhoff’s Westchester Swing Band. He brought all of his talent to every performance. He is greatly missed and First Class Band carries on in his memory.