April 13, 2006

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Getting schooled by a BusBoy
Grammy nominee Brian O’Neal visits Manchester Community Music School
By Richie Victorino  rvictorino@hippopress.com

One of the first times Brian O’Neal performed at the Manchester Community Music School, he was expecting to play piano for a handful of folks.

“I drove there and I couldn’t find a parking space. So I thought to myself, ‘They must be having a really big night,’” he said.

But the crowd was for him. The crowd was unexpected to say the least; O’Neal had formed a set list of sorts in the shower prior to the show, not expecting to perform a full show. But he loved every minute of it.

“It reminded me of the old BusBoys days,” he said.

O’Neal is a member of the BusBoys, who caught widespread attention when they appeared in 48 Hours, with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. The band performed a few songs including their biggest hit, “The Boys Are Back In Town.”

O’Neal has close ties to Manchester; he is good friends with David Bellman, owner of Bellman’s Jewelers.

“But besides David being my best friend, I have a love affair with the city,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure why, like many love affairs. There’s just something that’s a match for me.”

O’Neal has made many appearances at the Manchester Community Music School, including his performance last week as part of the school’s Share the Music gala, held at C.R. Sparks in Bedford. These performances are a change from his stage presence with the BusBoys.

“I get to play a large grand piano, I get to choose … who will tune the piano,” he said, although he admitted he’d have no idea how he’d pick a specific person to tune his piano. “It’s very concertizing, as opposed to rock ‘n’ roll, where it’s basically ‘choose your color of M & Ms.’”

O’Neal came to Manchester last week to help raise money for the Manchester Community Music School.

“Having great musical institutions that are affordable with good teachers is paramount,” O’Neal said. “Now that I’m an adult, and have had a successful career in music, I’m honored to help support great institutions.”


Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com

School Spirit
For more on the school — as well as ways of supporting it — go to www.mcmusicschool.org or call the school at 644-4548. On Wednesday, April 19, the school’s Music’s on the Menu Downtown series (held from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church) features Mark A. Cleveland singing bass and Gregg Pauley on piano playing songs of New England.

For more on O’Neal, go to www.busboys.com. O’Neal is currently working on new material for the BusBoys.