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.
DAVID PERRICO IN THE NEWS
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