The performance season for Stacy Swider and her band was a short one this year, thanks to the coronavirus. Indeed, the restaurant where she sang last weekend will be hibernating for the winter.
Hibernation, however, is not in Swider’s plans.
“One of the things I will be trying to do is get back to my saxophone playing – I just got the sax repaired,” she said. “And I can be rough on my guitars. I am going to get a new one, invest in a better instrument. And practice more.”
An abbreviated version of Stacy and the Party — Swider, guitarist Ron O’Brien and bass player Gian Criscitiello — returned to a familiar venue, the Warp and Weft restaurant across from the Lowell National Historical Park Visitors Center. But this time they were playing indoors.
“We minimized the performance – it was a short set,” she said. “People came in with masks on. We kept our masks on, except for me when I sang. The restaurant is a family business, and the owners are really safe.”
“I don’t think well be playing for the whole winter,” she added. “We still get together – we were rehearsing outside and now we use the basement – we found a way to spread out.” Everyone wears a mask except during vocals.
“There are fans who are really going to miss it, but everyone wants to be safe,” she observed. “Winter is going to be so boring, so tiring” for those who love live music.
Swider said her musical journey began in fifth grade at the former Page School, “and I never really stopped.” Today she is proficient not only in guitar and sax but also on the bassoon (“and the kazoo,” she added). She writes much of the band’s material and is a vibrant lead singer. The band’s repertoire is wide-ranging and upbeat.
“I totally learned everything I know at Bedford High School,” said Swider, a 1985 graduate. She was a part of several BHS musicals, either playing bassoon in the pit or a role on the stage.
Stacy and the Party have been performing together as a group for about five years. Other members of the band are drummer Chris Murphy and singer Mary Curlew. Another vocalist who has performed with the band is Select Board member Emily Mitchell – which isn’t as unusual as it sounds since Swider formerly served on the Bedford Finance Committee and the Recreation Commission.
Swider earned a bachelor of science degree in materials science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She worked for firms in Silicon Valley before returning to her home town. Today she is director of the Small Business Innovation Research programs at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Research Institute near Hanscom Field. “I coach high-technology startups and help them through particular types of funding vehicles,” she said.
Swider has three children, ages 23, 21, and 19.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763
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