Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Concert caps off semester for ensemble

The Plattsburgh State music department hosted its spring guitar ensemble and studio concert Wednesday. More than 130 members of the Plattsburgh community gathered at Krinovitz auditorium in Hawkins Hall to watch the student guitarists perform.

The setlist comprised of 14 songs from a variety of musicians including Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Joe Satriani. The repertoire also featured an original piece created by one of the students.
“I am excited to have the audience hear the culmination of what we’ve been working so hard on all semester long,” said Michael Fratino, PSUC guitar instructor.

Guitarist Ruben Valenti opened the show with a warm and acoustic rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” As he delicately plucked his guitar strings, he sang in a low voice adding to the overall ambience.

As students stepped on stage, they were met by Fratino who helped tune their guitars. Fratino would play a note and have the performer match the sound on their own guitar. Many of the performances were accompanied by Fratino, including Jared Ginley’s smooth cover of “Blue Bossa.” Several audience members snapped their fingers and tapped their feet to the beat of the bossa nova tune.

Jason Cafone performed “Blues in A,” which was personally arranged by Fratino who played the background chords.

Eric Steckler impressed the crowd with his finger-plucking skills on the guitar as he played “All of You” by Cole Porter.

Halfway through the concert, Philip Perazzo grabbed his electric guitar, plugged it into his Marshall amp and performed Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” with a backing track.
A few songs later, PSUC senior Henry Steng performed an acoustic original piece followed by a folk cover of Australian musician Tommy Emmanuel’s “Those who wait.”

“Personally, I’m most excited because it’s my last concert on campus, and I’m eager to do well,” Steng said.

After his performance, Steng stayed on stage to perform “Bubble Dreams,” an intricate progressive rock song by the band Chon with Ben Caito. Some of the attendees head-banged and swayed their bodies to the rhythmic chord progressions.

The concert ended with a three-song set by the entire ensemble. The students gathered together and arranged their chairs in a semicircle facing the audience. Their cover of “Guadalajara,” a popular mariachi song by Mexican singer Pepe Guizar, had the crowd excitedly moving in their seats. Next on the list was was “Moliendo Cafe,” a Venezuelan salsa piece by Hugo Blanco.

The ensemble finished their set with a funky version of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” The audience cheered and loudly clapped as the performers bowed and exited the stage.
PSUC sophomore music major Angelika Velez was pleased to see the guitarists having a good time and putting on a show for the community.

“I have many friends that are in the ensemble, and I just wanted to support them and see how much they’ve grown,” Velez said.

For more information on upcoming events in the music department, contact Dwayne T Butchino, performing arts coordinator, via email at or via phone at 518-564-2243.

Email Jasely Molina at

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