What to know about The Vindys and Canton Symphony pops show: Big, loud, 'over the edge'

Ed Balint
The Repository
Jackie Popovec and The Vindys are shown performing at the WonderBus Music & Arts Festival in Columbus in August. The popular Northeast Ohio-based alt rock band will play a concert with the Canton Symphony Orchestra on Saturday.
  • More than 30 instrumentalists with the Canton Symphony Orchestra will rock out with Northeast Ohio-based alt rock band The Vindys on Saturday.
  • The band's song "Are You Ready" is featured in an ESPN promotion for ACC college women's softball.
  • Vocalist Jackie Popovec says that performing with the Canton Symphony is a "bucket list" show.

Matthew Jaroszewicz is a classical music conductor who also loves jazz.

But it doesn't take much prodding to lure the 33-year-old associate conductor of Canton Symphony Orchestra into a chat about mainstream rock or niche genres such as Celtic punk.

"I saw the Dropkick Murphys last year, which was so much fun," Jaroszewicz said.

More: The Vindys on the rise with West Coast shows, Steelers song, Jackson Amphitheater return

He also attended a Weird Al Yankovic show. And he even shared a pop rock confessional.

"When I was in fifth grade, with a friend, we performed 'You Give Love a Bad Name' by Bon Jovi at the elementary school talent show," Jaroszewicz said with a laugh. "He played drums and I played an electric keyboard, which was an electric guitar sound. We both sang, and I think we were pretty good, if I must say so myself."

They chose the song because a teacher was a Bon Jovi fanatic.

"They went absolutely wild," Jaroszewicz said of the student audience. "The teacher said it was amazing."

Matthew Jaroszewicz will be conducting the Canton Symphony Orchestra's pops show featuring The Vindys, a Youngstown-based alt rock band. The concert is 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are available online through the symphony.

Although he went on to receive a master of music degree in orchestral conducting, Jaroszewicz still gets the chance to tap into his inner rock star on occasion when leading pops concerts for Canton Symphony Orchestra.

Past shows with Jeans 'n Classics have featured tributes to iconic artists like Led Zeppelin, Queen and The Beatles .

The next pops show features The Vindys , a Youngstown-based juggernaut known for its vital mix of alt rock, jazz and pop music. The concert is 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Umstattd Hall, 2331 17th St. NW in Canton, at the Zimmermann Symphony Center.

Tickets, $25, $35 and $55, are available online at https://cantonsymphony.org/ and by phone at 330-452-2094.

Jackie Popovec, lead singer for The Vindys, performs during the Northeast Ohio band's show at Firestone Country Club last year. The Vindys  will be joining the Canton Symphony Orchestra for a concert on Saturday.

"People might think, 'How do a band and a symphony find a way to make a cohesive collaboration with one another?'" said Jaroszewicz, who will conduct Saturday's performance. "But I've seen it work time and time again, and it's remarkable how it comes together, and just knowing The Vindys music and knowing what I've done in the past, I'd say this is no exception − it's going to be great."

Jackie Popovec of The Vindys said she drew inspiration from the Foo Fighters performing "The Pretender" with a symphony on the Grammy stage in 2008.

She considers her own band's orchestra show to be bucket list-worthy.

"Something like this concert has always been in the back of our heads to do somewhere down the line," she said. "But to be approached by the Canton Symphony was a happy surprise and an opportunity that we couldn't pass up. We've performed interesting shows from the Pittsburgh International Airport terminal to the back of an El Camino for The Summit (radio station) to a live performance on the AT&T SportsNet soundstage between innings during (Pittsburgh) Pirates games.

"To see (more than 30) musicians playing songs I wrote will put me over the edge, emotionally, I think."

Who are The Vindys?

Honing their musical chops in cramped bars and clubs, The Vindys have been scoring bigger slots recently in The WonderRoad and Wonderbus festivals, opening for national bands and musical artists like headliners Vampire Weekend, Nelly and Jason Mraz

Founded in 2014, the band was also on a sold out bill at a 4,000-seat venue last weekend featuring Donnie Iris and The Clarks in the Pittsburgh area.

Following the 2014 EP "Red Wine," The Vindys released the album "Keep Going" in 2017 followed by "Bugs" in 2021.

Anchoring their big, vibrant sound are guitarists Rick Deak and John Anthony, bassist Brenden Benson, drummer Owen Davis and dynamic vocalist Popovec. Rounding out the group are keyboardist Nathan Anthony, saxophonist Garret Kuchmaner, trombonist Brian Mayle and trumpeter Kyle O'Donnell.

Featured in promotions for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers, the band's hype anthem "Are You Ready" is currently being featured by ESPN and the ACC Network in promotional spots for women's college softball.

Jackie Popovec and The Vindys are shown performing at The Columbus Athenaeum in 2021. A mix of alt rock, jazz and pop, The Vindys will be paired with the Canton Symphony Orchestra for a pops show on Saturday.

How long did it take to prepare for The Vindys orchestra show?

"It's probably more than 500 hours when it's all said and done," Jaroszewicz said. "Combining all the musicians' time and the band's time, my time, the arrangers' time, it's really quite an undertaking to create something like this from scratch."

Steve Parsons, resident music director for Players Guild Theatre, and Kevin Martinez, of indie rock band The Speed Bumps , have arranged the music.

"We will be rehearsing with the symphony only the night before the show," Popovec said. "However, the preparation in advance to execute something as big as this is a huge undertaking. We are so lucky to have two great arrangers on this project."

And "other than myself and guitarist Rick Deak, The Vindys are no strangers to reading charts thanks to their classical music education from Dana School of Music of Youngstown State University ," she said. "I have every faith in each player to rise to the occasion."

Leading the band's preparation has been Anthony, who teaches rock band and orchestra classes at Austintown High School in Mahoning County.

Matthew Jaroszewicz will be conducting the Canton Symphony Orchestra's pops show featuring The Vindys, a Youngstown-based alt rock band. The concert is 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are available online through the symphony.

What songs will The Vindys play?

Sixteen songs comprise the set list, Jaroszewicz said. Nine in the first half. Seven in the second part.

A few tunes seem like naturals, including "Classic," "Red Wine" and "All and Everything."

Nothing is guaranteed, however.

"When coming up with the set list for this show, I think some Vindys songs work better than others, so you will hear old songs or ballads that we don't usually play live," Popovec said.

The Vindys, a popular Northeast Ohio-based rock band, will join the Canton Symphony Orchestra on March 18 for a concert.

More incentive for fans to attend the show is the premier of a new song, "Love You More," which will be released in May and featured in the upcoming independent film, " Angel Mine ," which is based on a book of the same name by Youngstown area author Jimmy Taaffe.

Boosting the band's fiery rock songs with a symphony excites Popovec.

"I am most looking forward to hearing how some of our harder rock songs will gel with a symphony."

Jaroszewicz is especially pumped about a couple of songs.

"The first is 'Take Me Home,'" he said. "I love that it uses the accordion in the instrumentation … and it's almost French, like something Édith Piaf would have sung. And then it has a large number of people singing the refrain of the piece … (and) it's so cool; the tune is great … it feels like cabaret in Paris."

Another of his favorites is " On My Mind ," which "features a nice Louie Armstrong style trumpet solo throughout," Jaroszewicz said.

Guitarist John Anthony of The Vindys performs last summer during a show at Firestone Country Club in Akron. The Northeast Ohio-based alt rock band will join the Canton Symphony Orchestra for a pops show on Saturday.

Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and ebalin@gannett.com

On Twitter @ebalintREP