Catonsville High musicians collaborate with renowned professionals

Aided by renowned professionals with ties to the area, the Catonsville High School Steel Band brought some of the sounds of Jamaica to Baltimore County Friday evening.

Catonsville High alumni Andy Stack and Chris Aschman and Catonsville native John Patti took a break from their professional careers to work with the students for a week, culminating in the 14-song concert attended by about 200 people.

Stack, who graduated from Catonsville High in 2002, is best known as a member of the band Wye Oak, a duo that has performed around the world. Cable television fans may recognize the band's song, "Civilian," who was heard during an episode of the most recent season of"The Walking Dead."

During two songs during Friday night's concert at the high school, Stack manipulated the island sounds of the steel drums with a computer that repeated some of the beats and added effects.

Now a freelance musician in Philadelphia, Aschman performed a trumpet solo during four of the songs, including renditions of Stevie Wonder's "Happier Than the Morning Sun" and Bjork's "Joga."

Aschman, a 2004 Catonsville High graduate, has traveled around the United States playing the trumpet or steel pan backing recording stars such as Dionne Warwick, Chaka Kahn, The Boxtops, Bonnie Raitt and The O'Jay's.

Patti moved out of Catonsville with his family when he was in the fifth grade. The 2000 graduate of Centennial High School in Howard County said he regretted missing the opportunity to play in Catonsville High's Steel Band.

His professional career includes performing on the steel pan in concerts around the world with performers such as guitar wizard Les Paul, members of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band, country musician Jeff Walker and rhythm and blues vocalist Nadirah Shakoor.

Friday night, he played three solos on the steel pan, including an improvisation where he mixed in the tunes from popular songs such asMichael Jackson's"Thriller."

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