David Garden and bandmates entertain audiences statewide

By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer


Hit the Bus bandmates (l to r) David Garden, Robin Melendez, Phil Cahners and Eric Yanaway; Rocky Della Valle is not pictured. Photo/submitted

Region – Southborough native and now Shrewsbury resident David Garden is known for entertaining audiences of all ages. As a registered Music Together instructor, he harmoniously unites young children and their parents or guardians. Additionally, he performs at venues statewide as vocalist, rhythm guitarist and harpist with the band Hit the Bus.

Growing up attending Southborough public schools, a young Garden participated in bands, choruses and stage musicals. His passion for music continued at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough. He’s particularly grateful for the rehearsal process with a high school district chorus for a performance at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.

“In my freshman year at Algonquin, I auditioned for the district chorus and got in,” he recalled. “We had this director from UConn who really opened my eyes to what it means to be a singer. From that point on, I devoted most of my time to learning more about music.”

After graduating from Algonquin in 1997, Garden studied music education at Anna Maria College in Paxton. In 2006, he completed training at the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, N.J., and became a registered Music Together teacher. Garden Music Together offers classes in Southborough, Holden and Worcester.

Garden began teaching guitar, piano and voice at Mr. C’s Music in Marlborough. There, he met Marlborough resident Eric Yanaway, who instructs bass guitar, trumpet, ukulele, viola and violin. In 2008, the duo dubbed themselves Hit the Bus and scheduled jobs performing together.

“From there, it snowballed to three or four gigs a week,” Garden said.

In 2012, he met vocalist and mandolinist Robin Melendez, a Marlborough native now living in Natick. At the time, they were both singing in the Hudson-based River’s Edge Arts Alliance production of “Haunted Melodie: A Broadway Cabaret.” Soon afterward, Melendez attended performances of the Garden and Yanaway duo.

“Robin was singing along in her seat and we could hear her harmonizing,” Garden relayed. “We called her up onstage. Her and my voices blend very well. At that point we were planning to start a full band, so we approached Robin to sing with us.”

When the band’s original bass player moved cross country a few years ago, Yanaway recruited Phil Cahners, a former bandmate from a disbanded group. Cahners is a Concord native, now commuting from Barrington, R.I.

Jack Shanahan, owner of Jack’s Guitar Garage in Northborough, was the band’s original drummer and still performs with them on a fill-in basis. The band’s most recent recruit is Rocky Della Valle of Lancaster on drums.

Hit the Bus plays an eclectic mix of music ranging from the 1950s to current hits. They perform in various groupings of bandmates: either the Garden and Yanaway duo, assemblages of a trio, or the full five-member band. Availability and venue size determines the number of bandmates. The band’s co-founders are always included.

“Eric and I have doing this together for so long that we roll with pretty much whatever,” Garden noted. “The talent in the band makes it a whole lot easier for us to switch instruments or sing each other’s songs. It’s fun even when we’re doing songs we don’t know well.”

As their most memorable gig, Garden cites a performance near Halloween 2013 at Michael’s Cigar Bar in Worcester. Nearby, the 10th anniversary of Rock and Shock was presented at the DCU Center with celebrities including Joey Fatone of ‘N Sync.

“Joey came over and sat in with our band for about an hour, singing all sorts of songs,” Garden said. “It was packed to capacity that night and the crowd really got it into it. Joey wasn’t the best singer in ‘N Sync, but he did wonders for us that night.”

While Garden worked a couple other jobs after college, he now appreciates fulltime employment as a musician.

“I’m really fortunate to be able to wake up every day and do this for a living,” he said. “Being a musician is by far the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.”

Hit the Bus is scheduled for two performances at Funky Murphy’s, 31 Main St., in Marlborough: Thursday, June 8, and Friday, June 16, each at 9:30 p.m. For band information and upcoming show schedule, visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/Hit-The-Bus-166773679541.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=88227

Posted by on May 31 2017. Filed under Byline Stories, People and Places, Region. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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