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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Spanish guitar honors UA alumnus

    If you haven’t already been to Fox Theatre, you need to get on it. It’s like the Southwest exploded inside an assembly hall, which was fitting for the DeGrazia Centennial Concert held Saturday evening.

    It was performed in honor of frontman Domingo DeGrazia’s father, Ted DeGrazia. You might know him: a UA alumnus who made it to the big leagues because of his major art skills. His painting “”Los Niños”” popped up nationwide on UNICEF’s holiday card in 1960.

    To celebrate Ted’s would-be 100th birthday, Domingo chose a year-long commemorative celebration where he and his band rocked out with Spanish guitar songs in honor of his dad’s paintings – some splattered across the stage – and successful life.

    Ticket prices made pockets a little lighter than your average college show, but the proceeds benefitted the American Cancer Society.

    With 20 years of experience, a band can become jaded or simply sensational. I am happy to report that everyone in the DeGrazia Spanish Guitar Band – Domingo DeGrazia, guitar; Jim Pavett, percussion; Dustin Jones, guitar; and Beth Daunis, violin – to be, as far as determined, enthusiastic. And actually pretty funny.

    Domingo’s jokes peppered the show so much between numbers that by the evening’s departure you seriously questioned whether or not the man kept part-time comedy acts up on the shelf with his Aerospace and law degrees.

    But back to the music. It may be said the DeGrazia Spanish Guitar Band did Ted justice. I’d be lying if I didn’t say a couple of the songs reminded me of Zorro riding off into the sunset, not an unlikeable image, but in the same concert, they managed to paint many a love scene. With “”In Her Eyes,”” the guitar ran off with the violin in a steamy embrace pleading for a response, and followed the sporadic, but always in time, rhythmic path set out by the ever talented Pavett.

    To be sure, they all oozed talent. Jones and DeGrazia are the type of guitarists to blend into the background themselves if it means adding any emphasis to the golden instruments resting on their knees. Their hands ran like spiders across web strings with an agility that makes the most skilled seem oafish in comparison.

    Daunis appeared like a marionette, wilting and sweeping gracefully to the slightest fancy of her violin, and Pavett was close to giving himself a standing ovation after completing a wailing solo on a full drum set in “”Malaguena.”” Let it be noted that he devoted as much spice to his lone little shaker in a variety of numbers as he did the drum set.

    “”La Mocha Bean”” puts Starbucks to shame. When the band rose in a crescendo of vibrant, interwoven melodies, I had a feeling that I wish I woke up to every morning! And as the band moved on to “”Dad’s Song”” – the only song that wasn’t Spanish – sweetly reminiscing of days gone by, I knew that Ted Degrazia was a man I would’ve liked to meet, too.

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