By: Kalyna Astrinos
Posted at 11:52 AM, Sep 13, 2021 and last updated 12:10 PM, Sep 13, 2021
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A 17-year-veteran of the Las Vegas entertainment scene has found a new home with the Las Vegas Raiders.
David Perrico and the Raiders House Band are ready to take over Allegiant Stadium for the Raiders first home game.
"Everyone's just dancing, grooving (and) having a good time," Perrico said.
The high-energy 19-piece orchestra is keeping a Raiders tradition alive.
"Mark Davis, the owner of the Raiders, was specifically looking for a house band in the tradition that the Raiders always had since the 60's," Perrico said. "Our name came up and they did some research on us and we did an audition process."
After more than a year of entertainment at a standstill across the country, this gig is showing hope.
"I think it's great for, for all live entertainment, and for all the hard work hard working musicians in this town," Perrico said. "Not just musicians, all the sound and lighting, everything that goes into shows in bands, whether they're playing loud lounges, it doesn't matter what size they are. It's just great for live music."
The Las Vegas strip will serve as the backdrop for the band where David Perrico and the Raiders House Band will have the chance to show Raiders fans first hand what live entertainment is really all about.
"From Pitbull, to Beyonce, to Earth Wind and Fire, to Chicago, Michael Jackson, to James Brown. It's all fun," Perrico said.
Las Vegas Sun News: Bandleader David Perrico takes his group to new heights with the Las Vegas Raiders
By Brock Radke
Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 | 2 a.m.
The David Perrico Pop Strings Orchestra maintained a popular weekend residency at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace for years, bringing exciting live music energy to one of the Strip’s most beloved lounge spaces. Now a bigger, bolder version of the group has moved to a new venue for a slightly different residency gig.
“We went from the Barge with 250 people to 65,000 people in the audience,” said the trumpeter and bandleader. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Perrico’s expanded band, now numbering 18 with the addition of a full horn section, scored the coveted gig as the house entertainment for Las Vegas Raiders games at Allegiant Stadium. The all-star lineup of Las Vegas musicians will perform a 30-minute pre-show before tonight’s Monday Night Football regular season opener against Baltimore and play short snippets of songs during the game, set up on a stage near the Al Davis Memorial Torch on the Coors Light Landing area of the stadium concourse.
The Raiders have maintained a long legacy of live entertainment at football games, specifically big bands specializing in jazz, funk, rock and soul, throughout the team’s colorful history playing in Oakland and Los Angeles. Perrico, a native of Ohio who has toured the country for years with different bands and performed and arranged music with different shows and special events all across Las Vegas, was somewhat familiar with the football team’s musical history.
“I knew of some of the trumpet players that played at the L.A. Coliseum, but going back a little more, in the 1960s Al Davis implemented the Del Courtney big band at games in Oakland,” he said. “Mark Davis is carrying on this tradition that he always loved as a kid, growing up and seeing the band playing at games. It was his decision to hire us and it’s a great opportunity.”
The band got its first taste of playing at the stadium during the preseason game against Seattle on August 14. While Perrico described it as a surreal experience, many members of his team of experienced musicians are familiar with performing in venues of this size.
“Most of them have done it, backing up acts like Rod Stewart, Beyoncé, Shania Twain, Aerosmith,” he said. “The difference as the Pop Strings group evolves into the Raider house band is in addition to the four singers and the all-female string section, we’ve added the four horns plus myself on trumpet to get that Tower of Power, Earth, Wind and Fire, Chicago sound, all those great horn bands.”
The vocalists are Lily Arce, Perrico’s wife and a former singer in Cirque du Soleil’s “O” and “Fantasy” at Luxor; Las Vegas Academy grad Serena Henry, who has toured with Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight; Cuban-born Noybel Gorgoy, who has starred in touring production shows and with Paul Shaffer and Clint Holmes in Las Vegas; and Fletch Walcott, a native of Boston who appeared on “American Idol” and has entertained at various lounges up and down the Strip.
Rounding out the band: Jose “Pepe” Jimenez on drums, a veteran of Carlos Santana’s bands; bass player Keith Nelson, who has recorded with Donna Summer, Natalie Cole and Shania Twain; Steven Lee on guitar, who also played in Donny and Marie Osmond’s long residency show at the Flamingo; Otto Ehling on keyboards; sax great Rocco Barbato, who also performs in Donny Osmond’s new residency at Harrah’s; violin players Adrianna Thurber, Chandra Meibalane, Monique Olivas and Christina Rose, all of whom have extensive experience backing big stars like Andrea Bocelli, Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan and Shakira; viola player Crystal Yuan and cellists Sarah Chaffee and Zuzana Engererova; tenor, soprano and baritone sax players Andrew Friedlander, Charles McNeal and Mathew Schumer; and trombonist Steve Meyer, who currently performs with the Righteous Brothers and orchestrates their show.
“The great thing about this band is it’s my fantasy football team,” Perrico joked. “It’s always been that way. People ask me, how do you get these great players? Talented people want to work with talented people.”
Perrico said he is thrilled to be “drafted” by the Raiders, especially after the long layoff of live entertainment in Las Vegas, and is looking forward to the unique opportunity to connect with local football and music fans at games.
“I’m flattered and honored. I just want to deliver every game, hit every cue and execute.”
Published September 2021 by Guy D'Astolfo, Business Journal Daily
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Live music at games is part of the Las Vegas Raiders playbook.
So the NFL team went looking for a band leader to make that happen at its new stadium and found the perfect pick in Youngstown native David Perrico
The Raiders moved to Las Vegas last year when the pandemic kept stadiums empty.
But Perrico and his ensemble are bringing their big, brassy and electrifying music to Allegiant Stadium for the 2021 season.
The trumpet player has been a key player in the Vegas music scene for almost two decades. His Pop Strings Orchestra has been the resident band at Caesars Palace casino for the past four years.
Perrico, a Chaney High School graduate who earned a baccalaureate from Youngstown State University, grew up as a Browns fan but has nothing but respect for Raider Nation.
“There’s been an incredible amount of excitement [for the live performances at games] and it’s [team owner] Mark Davis’ vision,” Perrico says. “It comes from the top. And my interaction with the Raiders staff has been the best. It’s a top-flight, family kind of operation. And Raider Nation [the fan base] is definitely a real thing … the silver and black.”
Las Vegas has always had a lot of Raiders fans, he notes, and that number has risen exponentially since the team moved there.
Perrico is known for his rousing versions of pop songs. He has put together a play list for games that will include some Raider Nation must-haves, such as music from Star Wars and the team’s theme song, “Autumn Wind.”
The list runs the gamut with songs by the likes of Michael Jackson, Metallica, AC/DC, James Brown, Bruno Mars and Tower of Power, all given Perrico’s high-octane treatment.
The team has always had an orchestra at games. The tradition dates to the 1960s, when Del Courtney and his band played at games in Oakland when the team was owned by Mark Davis’ father, the late and legendary Al Davis. The team also had live music during its stint in Los Angeles.
The practice continues at the Raiders’ new home, and in true Vegas style.
“We are the entertainment capital of the world and Mark Davis is drawing on that facet to incite excitement for the fans,” Perrico says. Entertainers headlining shows at casinos will make cameo appearances with his band at Raiders games this season, he says.
Perrico and his 18-person Pop Strings Orchestra auditioned for the Raiders in early June after the team reached out to him. They were called back a couple of weeks later for a closer look, and landed the job after a final audition on Aug.6.
For Raiders games, Perrico leads an ensemble that is largely the same as his Pop Strings Orchestra, but the name will be changed.
“For the branding of it, we might be David Perrico and the Raider House Band,” he says. In addition to Perrico, there are four singers, five horns, six strings and a rhythm section.
The act plays a 45-minute pregame set, with segments of 30 seconds, one minute or two minutes interspersed during the game for commercial breaks, touchdowns or timeouts.
The Raiders gig is an exceptional way for Perrico and his orchestra to end their hiatus from the stage.
“After 17 months of not playing and Caesars Palace closing its lounges [because of the pandemic], this is our first gig and it’s exciting,” Perrico says.
Perrico also serves as producer for 10 Vegas bands who were also put out of work. He used his pandemic downtime to “retool” them, updating their music, promos and videos.
“I employ 76 musicians in town,” he says.
The music he plays for Raiders games includes some songs that he wrote. But all selections feature Perrico’s arrangements for each instrument and he makes sure that each number has that Pop Strings level of bombast. “Everything we play at Raiders games, and at all of my performances, are custom arrangements,” he says. “This is not a cover band. We have to orchestrate.”
After graduating from YSU in 1994, Perrico toured for eight years as a member of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and as a cruise ship performer.
In the early 2000s, he moved to Las Vegas to get his master’s degree in music composition at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and later worked as an adjunct music professor at the school. He would go on to work with a litany of shows as music director and arranger, including for Paul Shaffer, Gladys Knight, Donnie and Marie, Toni Braxton, Frankie Valli, The Village People, The Rat Pack Is Back, Cirque du Soleil Elvis, Dean Martin Lives Show and Sinatra Live.
But no matter how far he goes, Perrico always credits his success to his roots. “That blue-collar work ethic – and my ability to improvise and hustle – I got from Youngstown,” he says.
Watch David Perrico in a LIVE interview with Monica O. Jackson on Good Day Las Vegas during "Mondays With Monica" this morning, Monday, August 30.
By John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal
August 25, 2021 - 3:52 pm
David Perrico has been a music fan since he was a kid. He’s also been a Cleveland Browns fan.
“If you’ve ever sat in the Dog Pound at old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, before they tore it down, you know what I mean,” says Perrico, a native of Youngstown, Ohio. “The wind off the lake was coming in. It was 20 below zero with the wind-chill factor. It’s amazing.”
But serving as the bandleader for Las Vegas’ NFL team has shaken up that alliance. That wind off Lake Erie has been replaced by “Autumn Wind” at Allegiant Stadium.
“It’s our team, our game, when you are up there playing,” Perrico says. “Now I’m a Raiders fan, too.”
Perrico and his 18-piece Pop Strings ensemble have been drafted as the Raiders’ house band for the 2021 season. The team sets up under the Al Davis Memorial Torch for a 30-minute, pregame set peppered with AC/DC, Earth Wind & Fire, Pitbull, Bruno Mars and Tower of Power. The band also plays in spots throughout the game (including the theme, “Autumn Wind,” and the Star Wars’ “Imperial Death March” after Raider TDs).
Pop Strings headlined most recently for four years at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace until Caesars Entertainment shut down the venue in May. Perrico’s band debuted at the Raiders’ preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 12.
The band is made up exclusively of veteran Las Vegas players, led by Perrico, who has performed in Las Vegas for the past 15 years. His popular vocalist wife, Lily Arce, is also featured on the Raiders’ stage.
Perrico recently talked of his time in Vegas, and the big break that led his group to play for 65,000 fans rather than 160 at the Barge:
Johnny Kats: What went through your head during your first performance at a Raiders game?
David Perrico: It was a feeling of, first, I was honored. I was very happy for the band, because we’ve been off for 17 months and we lost our Caesars Palace residency. The energy of the whole Raider Nation, the Raider fans, the noise and interaction of everyone crowded around the bandstand. All that partying and grooving. That was my takeaway.
And your family showed up, unexpectedly, at the game.
Yeah, I turned around and my brother (Brian) was there, and my sister-in-law (Kris), they live here. But my dad (Joe) flew in from Youngstown, and he still lives in Youngstown. My stepmother (Linda), half-sister (Amanda), half-brother (Matt) all showed up by surprise. I’ve been lucky in that sense. Wherever I played, wherever there was a concert, my family was always there.
Why did you decide to play the trumpet?
My dad’s a retired sax player, so I had a clarinet. I went to school in fourth grade with my own clarinet, and I was gonna be in a band. But the band director says, “Well, you know, we don’t have any trumpet players in the band. Why don’t you try it?” So I came home with a trumpet.
How did you get to Las Vegas?
I was offered a full scholarship in the UNLV jazz program, with (department head) Dave Loeb. I said, “OK, I’ll do my master’s degree,” and the plan was to stay here for two years and move to New York.
What happened to the plan?
Things just started lining up. I started subbing for Donny & Marie, I did a year with Cirque, “Viva Elvis” at Aria, and went on to play with Lon Bronson’s band at Ovation at Green Valley Ranch and in “The Rat Pack Is Back.” … Then we opened with the big band, Pop Evolution, at South Point in 2012.
We’ve talked a lot through the shutdown, about how this has affected musicians in your company. You told me last year that 70 percent of your business was booking bands for corporate and private events. What was it like to lose the bulk of your business?
That was really the punch in the gut. You know, in my production company, I produce 11 bands. So you’re looking at about 60-70 musicians, independent contractors, who were out of work.
How did you help sustain those musicians?
What I tried to do with some of the (Paycheck Protection Program) money, and some grants that I received, was to keep everyone working by doing some recording, doing some original music, new photo shoots or new jingle writing. Whatever I could do to keep everyone kind of going. I pay musicians for their time.
You spent a lot of time as a performer and road manager for the Tommy Dorsey Band. What was that life like, compared with being settled in Las Vegas?
When you’re on the road with a band 46 weeks a year, you learn how to keep a band together, keep the band fun. Any touring musician will tell you the work is the 22 hours between gigs. The shows are the fun. This was in the mid- to late ’90s, no cellphones. You had a phone card to call home on Sundays. You went from Florida to Missouri, Missouri to Vermont. You’d be at the Lincoln Center in New York City, and then the next gig would be a tobacco farm in Paris, Tennessee, or at the Iowa State Fair. You saw it all.
It’s like being on a team, right?
Yeah, it is like being on a baseball team or a football team. It’s very sports-oriented, in that good players want to play with other good players. The coaching is part of the environment. That’s fun, too.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.
By Christian Wissmuller • News • August 25, 2021 • Jazzed Magazine
The Raiders’ gameday experience has historically combined the cacophony of action on the gridiron, the roar of the crowd and soul-stirring live band music.
Synchronized Raiderette routines have been paired with live band musical stylings dating back to the 1960s in the Bay Area, when Del Courtney and his band matched the intensity on the field with their orchestral performances. That tradition continued in Los Angeles when Horace Heidt Jr. led an equally symphonic group of some of the finest musicians in the world, who roused Coliseum crowds for over a decade.
Jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock and soul – the sounds of Raider Nation.
Those live symphonic stylings are being renewed in Las Vegas as an 18-piece orchestra led by award-winning trumpeter, composer, and Phaeton artist David Perrico will entertain the Raider Nation. This large ensemble is a high-energy, diverse, unique, innovative and dynamic group featuring a six-piece acoustic string section, five-piece horn section, four singers and a rhythm section.
Over his career, Perrico, a resident of Las Vegas for more than 17 years, has performed with legends including Gladys Knight, Toni Braxton, Natalie Cole, Frankie Valli, Michael Feinstein, Frankie Avalon and The Temptations. The house band is comprised of world-class Las Vegas musicians who have performed with the likes of Celine Dion, Santana, Beyoncé, Rod Stewart, Andrea Bocelli, Shania Twain and Diana Ross.
“It is a great honor to be the conductor as the 18-piece band is absolutely fantastic, and it is a pleasure to entertain Raider Nation,” Perrico said.
Given the experience and versatility of the ensemble, they can perform an array of musical selections across a variety of musical genres, particularly arrangements influenced by the Raiders and Las Vegas, as well as the Silver & Black institution, The Autumn Wind.
The ensemble’s pit will span the length of the Coors Light Landing near the Al Davis Memorial Torch, with the world-famous Las Vegas Strip serving as a backdrop. “We have a lot of exciting new rocking-themed arrangements for the Silver and Black,” Perrico said. “We’re looking forward to an amazing Raiders season in the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World.”
Originally published by Aug 21, 2021 by Andy Gray in "The Vindicator"
At age 9, David Perrico left his house with a clarinet, the same instrument his father played. He came home with a trumpet.
“Kirkmere Elementary didn’t have a trumpet players,” he said.
That horn became the Youngstown native’s ticket to touring internationally with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, to playing many of Las Vegas’ biggest casinos and working with such stars as Gladys Knight and Toni Braxton.
Now it’s taking him to the NFL.
The 1988 Chaney High School and 2002 Dana School of Music graduate is the leader and arranger for the house band at Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders. The ensemble, which will be known as David Perrico and the Raider Band or David Perrico and the Raider House Band (“We’re still working on the branding,” he said), made its debut last Saturday at the team’s first exhibition game.
The band will get a national audience for its regular season debut. The home opener on Sept. 13 against the Baltimore Ravens is the “Monday Night Football” game that week.
In a telephone interview from his home in Nevada, Perrico talked about the people who influenced his career path. That started with his music teachers in Youngstown schools — James Ramsey at Kirkmere, Bill Gonda at Volney Rogers and Joe Danko at Chaney High School.
It continued when he went to Dana School of Music, particularly Esotto Pellegrini (who Perrico started taking lessons with when he was 13 years old) and Tony Leonardi.
“For anyone getting into the music business, you have to be a jack of all trades,” Perrico said. “That’s the one thing Pellegrini always told me. He instilled that in me when I was 15, 16. Jazz, classical, Latin, all styles, play a little piano, arranging, business — I got all that from Pellegrini and Tony Leonardi. He taught real world experience.”
Perrico, 50, was a semester away from graduation when he decided to leave school to tour with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, a gig that started as a summer job in 1994 and lasted until 2001.
“With my education at YSU, I felt like I was really prepared with the Dorsey band,” he said.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks disrupted the touring industry, Perrico decided to go back to school and finish his bachelor’s degree at Dana. Then he was offered a chance to earn his master’s degree at University of Nevada Las Vegas and get paid to teach while doing it.
He also started performing on the Vegas strip, backing acts like Donny and Marie Osmond and Natalie Cole and playing in the band for such shows as Cirque du Soleil, “The Rat Pack Is Back” and “Phantom of the Opera.”
Perrico soon went from musician to band leader, creating Pop Strings Orchestra (a 14-piece band with a seven-piece, all female string section), Pop Evolution (a 19-piece ensemble) and other groups.
When Paul Shaffer, best known as band leader on “Late Show with David Letterman,” was putting together his own Las Vegas show, he hired Perrico as his band leader, which is a ringing endorsement of his abilities.
All of those experiences prepared Perrico when the Raiders’ organization began its search for a house band.
“Owner Mark Davis, it was really his decision having live music at the game,” Perrico said. “When he was growing up, the (Oakland) Raiders had a band in the ’60s conducted by Del Courtney. It really came from Mark Davis, from the top.”
The team gave Perrico a list of songs — “Autumn Wind,” the team’s official song; the “Imperial Death March” from “Star Wars”; hits by Bruno Mars, Tower of Power, Chicago, Michael Jackson and Earth, Wind & Fire” — and he created arrangements of varying lengths, from 1-minute cuts that could be played during time outs to longer renditions.
Perrico and his band was offered the job Aug. 6, about a week before that first exhibition game.
The band will do a 45-minute pregame show before each home game and also will be heard throughout the game during commercial breaks and timeouts. There’s a core set up-tempo, rousing numbers that will be part of the regular repertoire, and Perrico said he expects to create new arrangements for the 19-piece band throughout the season. He’s already working on a version of the “Monday Night Football” theme for the home opener.
Perrico and the band will play for 65,000 fans at each home game, and viewers watching on television are sure to hear snippets of the band. He’s not sure what impact that will have on his other gigs.
“I have no expectations other than to deliver each game and do a great job for the Raider nation and Mark Davis and all of the Raiders’ fans. If something else comes out of it, that’s fantastic.”
Las Vegas still hasn’t fully recovered from the shutdowns cause by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Perrico said he hopes the media attention the band is getting in Las Vegas will translate into more musicians being called back to work in that city.
“I hope they see the value of live band, live entertainment. This is 100-percent live — no tapes, no click tracks. I hope it sparks some excitement for all those hard-working musicians grinding in the lounges and reminds everyone of the validity and value of live music.”
DAVID PERRICO’S POP STRINGS ORCHESTRA TO PERFORM REIMAGINED JAZZ HITS ON SEPT. 29
Original article posted on The Smith Center website:
Most Southern Nevadans easily recognize the name David Perrico, a beloved Las Vegas band leader, musician, arranger and producer.
In fact, Perrico has packed every major performance venue in Las Vegas with the 10 bands he produces. Audiences flock to Perrico’s Smith Center shows with his Pop Strings Orchestra, a group of elite Vegas musicians performing swinging renditions of pop hits.
But now, music fans — and football fans — nationwide will know Perrico’s name.
In early August, one of Perrico’s bands earned the designation of Raiders House Band for the Las Vegas Raiders football team.
This means Perrico and his 19-piece orchestra (a combination of his Pop Strings and Pop Evolution groups) will perform pre-game concerts, plus short spots throughout each game with a closing theme.
“It’s an honor to be considered and to be chosen to represent the Raider nation,” Perrico says. “Raiders owner Mark Davis, it was his vision to have Vegas performers. They could get anybody, and they picked us.”
Southern Nevadans don’t need football tickets to catch Perrico’s Pop Strings Orchestra, however.
The group returns to The Smith Center’s intimate venue Myron’s on September 29 with a dazzling “Jazz & Strings” concert, featuring his orchestra with vocalists and acclaimed soloists on cello and bass.
“There will be something for everybody,” Perrico says. “It feels fantastic to get back on the stage and perform and connect with our fans.”
OPPORTUNITIES IN A CHALLENGING TIME
With his many skills, Perrico had no trouble staying occupied during the lockdown.
He dived into producing, writing and arranging music for his own groups and a variety of other artists. He also wrote jingles, including one for a coronavirus public service announcement.
While this kept him busy, “it obviously can’t replace the performance aspect,” he says.
Transitioning back to performing throughout Las Vegas has proved slow, Perrico notes, as the Strip lounges where his groups predominantly played remain closed “indefinitely.”
Perrico hopes performing with the Raiders House Band will help Las Vegas’ entertainment scene rebound from the pandemic.
“Being in the public, national eye, maybe that will spotlight all of the talented musicians in this town who haven’t worked,” he says. “Maybe that will spark an impetus to get back to live bands and live music.”
RETURNING TO THE SMITH CENTER
Perrico’s Pop Strings Orchestra will return to The Smith Center with a showstopping concert.
The September 29 concert will feature an expanded orchestra with a 16-piece string section and five vocalists, performing a wide range of jazz repertoire, including standards and straight-ahead jazz.
“You’ll hear a Sinatra standard and a Gershwin standard or Cole Porter standard, and then something by Miles Davis or Chick Corea or Louis Armstrong,” Perrico says.
The concert will also include special performances by Japanese virtuoso cellist Mariko, who has performed with Madonna and Cirque du Soleil, as well as acclaimed bassist Sherry Luchette.
Hailing his group as an “all-star baseball team” of the city’s top musicians, Perrico believes their shows draw audiences by merging the musicians’ talent with his affinity for big-band showmanship.
“It’s my version of a modern-day big band,” Perrico says. “Being in Vegas, because of the ephemeral nature of the town and always stiving for something new, it kind of forced me to come up with something new and original, and exciting and dynamic.”
SEE THE SHOW
David Perrico’s Pop Strings Orchestra plays at 7 p.m. on September 29
DAVID PERRICO IN THE NEWS
Here's where you'll find all the latest news about David Perrico, Pop Strings Orchestra, and Pop Evolution.