■ BY SUE ERWIN
The vibrant musical ensemble O Sole Trio, based in New York City, will be performing two shows at the Crowninshield Community House on Thursday, Nov. 19. Two performances are scheduled for 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The trio is made up of soprano vocalist Erin Shields, baritone vocalist Giuseppe Spoletini, and versatile piano and violin player David Shenton. Their sound is known as an eclectic mix that ranges from opera to pop, with all selections having a decidedly Italian flavor.
Friends of Boca Grande Community Center Program Director Debbie Frank watched O Sole Trio perform live at a symposium in Baltimore last month, and felt they would be a nice addition to the agenda this year. “O Sole Trio captivated the audience with their strong operatic vocals, interwoven dialogue, and phenomenal accompaniment. David Shenton is a virtuoso on the piano and violin. It was all musical food for the soul. Italian, perhaps, but their fun passionate energy filled the room and had everyone toe-tapping,” Debbie said. “Throughout the performance I just kept thinking this would be a fresh addition to the all-new Coconut Cabaret series being presented by the Friends of Boca Grande Community Center.”
Erin said the three have been performing together since 2011. All three members presently live in Queens, NY. “We started out doing restaurant and church gigs and we really enjoyed working together, we have a lot of fun,” Erin said. They realized they should continue their journey together after doing a show at The Triad Theater, a cozy cabaret theater in Upper West Manhattan. “It was sensational, the audience responded really well. There was just something so magical about that first performance so we decided to keep going and it’s been amazing,” Erin said.
Erin is from central Illinois and moved to New York right out of college because she wanted to focus on Broadway and Theater. She attended Indiana University and earned a degree in vocal performance.
David is originally from Sheffield, a city in South Yorkshire, England. He went to the Royal College of Music in London and studied piano, violin and orchestration. Erin and David have known each other since 2000. “The third audition I ever did was for a new musical that David had written the music for and that’s how we met,” Erin said. “He ended up moving to New York from London where he was playing at piano bars. He met a composer from NYC who wanted him to write music.” The couple married in 2006.
Erin and David met Giuseppe when they decided to write a musical together. It was a child-friendly, family show called “Anna the Story Teller.” “We needed someone with experience to teach children to learn their parts and get excited about their roles, and our producer introduced us to him,” Erin said. Giuseppe went to the University of Manitoba and attended graduate school at the Manhattan School of Music where he currently teaches.
“We all teach,” Erin said. “If you live in New York you have to expect to work a lot of jobs.” Erin teaches private voice and David teaches piano and violin at a private school in Manhattan. Erin also works as a trainer at the New York Police Department. She coaches law enforcement officials on how to deal with emotionally traumatized clients. “I have been doing that for 10 years now and it’s really fascinating … it’s very rewarding,” she said.
Erin said the group just started the touring process last year and it’s been a steady process. “We recently signed with a new agency so that has helped move things forward,” Erin said. O Sole Trio performs at least two shows per month and more whenever their schedules allow. “We did a couple of shows in the UK just outside of London last year and we performed at an outdoor music festival that we were invited to attend,” Erin said. “We’ve never done a show in Florida before, so we are excited. I have family members who live in the area and they will be in the audience so that will be nice,” Erin said. For more information, visit osoletrio.com.