VIDEO: From Bach to ‘Uptown Funk’ Naples Strings gonna give it to you

Like a lot of music outfits, Naples Strings has had to find creative ways to get in front of an audience. The creation of Elaine Tubinis, Naples Strings is celebrating its 30th year of playing all manner of private gigs, i.e. weddings, corporate events, benefits and hotel high teas.

But, if you haven’t noticed, the present pandemic has really cut into quality tea time—high or otherwise—and Tubinis has had to scramble for dates. To the present, she’s done better than most, estimating she’s gotten the group, which varies in size according to need, about 15 live performances during the pandemic.

One concert, a free performance on the green in the Carroll Park neighborhood, went so well that Naples Strings is returning this Sunday, Aug. 16. Can anyone attend? Why no, no they can’t. Because of distancing restrictions, the audience for the performance will be limited to residents of the neighborhood itself.

Still, there will be other times and other shows and we thought you’d like to check out the video above to get a taste of what Naples Strings is about. The group, which will put on a rehearsal concert Saturday, Aug. 15 at Marine Stadium, boasts some of the best musicians in the region, people who have played with local symphonies, done their share of studio work with such disparate acts as Rod Stewart and Yo-Yo Ma.

Speaking of disparate, what has made Naples Strings a constant draw is their ability to not only play the expected Bach or Pacibel’s “Canon in D,” but readily mix in ripping versions “Uptown Funk,” “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” and “Smoke on the Water.” There’s lots of others—”Bohemian Rhapsody?’ Yes, they will do the fandango—but Tubinis admits that while it’s “fun [playing] ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and ‘Proud Mary,’ it’s energizing, it gets you going,” it’s the older stuff, “‘Edelweiss’ or ‘At Last’ [that] you get a little teary-eyed.”

It’s that kind of emotion that came flooding back to the group when they were restricted from playing in public.

Cellist Alan Mautner put it so any musician could understand: “When it just vanished I really got the itch, I wanted to play again.”

Violinist Larry Greenfield, put it so anyone who’s been in a really intense relationship could understand: “Sometimes you just don’t know what you miss until it’s gone.”

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Cheantay Jensen is an editorial intern who covers art and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post.