Parks & Rec. brings classic jazz and swing to Church Street

The center will be rocking on Jan. 11 from 7 to 9 p.m.

By: Amy Filippone, Dept. of Parks & Recreation

Join the Department of Parks and Recreation for a free concert by The Midiri Brothers Orchestra on Friday, Jan. 11 from 7 to 9 p.m. They will be performing on the third floor of the Church Street Recreation Center. The Midiri Brothers Orchestra performs classic jazz and swing music.

The band formed back in the 1980’s when they were thrown together by chance for a New Year’s Eve Big Band concert at the Tropicana in Atlantic City. They formed their own band and were booked for six weeks at the Showboat and stayed for eight years where they honed their craft. They then began performing in jazz festivals around the country and Europe.

Two of the band members, Jim Lawlor and Pat Mercuri, are Moorestown residents (and brothers-in-law).

“We come from a place that’s just before modern jazz. We were always around the old guys from the thirties, and they taught us — ‘you have to entertain first’. It’s jazz but it’s entertainment first. Its all jazz, but it’s approachable. Anybody can love it,” said Jim Lawlor, the drummer for the band.

Paul & Joe Midiri are identical twins and virtuosos on their respective instruments. They are multi-talented with Joe, the band-leader, playing primarily the clarinet but he also plays alto, tenor and soprano sax. Paul primarily plays vibraphone which is similar to a xylophone, but with a prettier, sweeter sound.

Pat Mercuri plays guitar and as his brother-in-law. Mercuri plays with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. He is one of the top mandolin playerss in the country and recently flew to Shanghai to play mandolin for a 10-minute part.

Jack Hegyi is on bass.

“He’s so entertaining. He’s very animated, and he is also one of the top bass players around. He was the road bass player with Steve Lawrence and Edyi Gorme. He’s played with everybody,” Lawlor said.

Dan Tobias is on trumpet. Lawlor said he’s a very sweet kind of player.

“He doesn’t blow the walls off but he’s one of the most tasteful players in the tri-state area and he plays a lot in New York City. They love him up there,” Lawlor said.

The band will be playing for only the second time at the Recreation Center’s third floor. So come out and enjoy this gem of a band who infuse their performances with energy, creativity and freshness.

“We never really plan it. We just read the crowd. We’re not about nostalgia. It’s just about the music,” Lawlor said.