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Rock Band Groovelily Creates Twist on Holiday Musical

(Posted November 19, 2007)

Groovelily, an independent rock band, is the creative force behind \"Striking 12\"

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Imagine a sizzling, energetic holiday rock musical that is about a guy that hates Christmas time, and you have the funny, kinetic and catchy \"Striking 12,\" presented by the band Groovelily at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1 in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets and information about the Juniata College Presents series, please call (814) 641-3608. General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID. The three musicians who comprise Groovelily -- drummer Gene Lewin, keyboardist Brendan Milburn and electric violinist Valerie Vigoda -- play all the parts in this tale of urban angst and holiday cheer. The plot hinges on a lonely city dweller, who has decided to avoid the holidays by watching television reruns but instead is lured out into the city by an oddball salesperson. Fueled by catchy songs written by Milburn, Vigoda and Rachel Sheinkin, the author of a current Broadway smash, \"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,\" \"Striking 12\" updates the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale \"The Little Match Girl\" with distinctive songs like \"Last Day of the Year.\" New York Times theatre critic Charles Isherwood characterized \"Striking 12\" as \"more artfully crafted and engaging than virtually all the standard-mold musicals coming our way these days.\" Groovelily\'s members perform the songs and act out multiple parts, including such roles as The Man Who\'s Had Enough, Poor Dead Grandma and Heartless Partygiver Ignoring Starving Child. All three members also sing the show\'s tunes. Groovelily has been together as a group since 1994, although often performing in other bands or other projects. \"Striking 12\" was first performed in 2002. The album of \"Striking 12\" was released in 2004. Valerie Vigoda is a classically trained musician and has toured nationally and internationally as a backup singer for Cyndi Lauper, Joe Jackson and the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Groovelily was originally formed as the Valerie Vigoda Band and released a well-reviewed CD titled \"Inhabit My Heart.\" Brendan Milburn also is the record producer for Groovelily and has consistently worked as a lyricist for many off-Broadway and Broadway shows. Gene Lewin is a noted jazz and rock drummer and has toured with Audra McDonald and has recorded with jazz musicians George Coleman and John Patitucci. Groovelily also performed \"A Midsummer Night\'s Dream\" with songs composed by the band, and \"Sleeping Beauty\'s Dreams,\" featuring original songs in recent productions.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.