By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
About 200 listeners came out on Fri., Dec. 2, to see Beginnings, a New York-based Chicago tribute band perform in the Chatham High School auditorium.
The special performance was in conjunction with the Chatham High School Music Department efforts to subsidize cost of the May 2017 Disney performance trip, benefitting the CHS band, chorus, and orchestra students.
The fundraiser truly meant a lot to Beginnings bassist and singer, Mason Swearingen, who said the band’s humble beginnings started with high school bands.
“I played trombone,” he said. “A number of guys learned their instruments through their high school band. Our drummer as well. It’s definitely a place we all started out; we’re definitely happy to be helping out with this fundraiser.”
And younger people seem to be no strangers to the music of Chicago, as Swearingen said that playing outdoors throughout the summer, a lot of younger people are spotted in the audience.
Beginnings have been together since 2002, performing hits by the legendary pop-rock group, Chicago, such as, “Saturday in the Park,” “Colour My World,” “Feeling Stronger Every Day,” “No Tell Lover,” “Wishing You Were Here,” and, of course, “Beginnings.”
Swearingen has been a fan of Chicago since he was a kid. He joined Beginnings shortly after it was put together, knowing members from various bands.
“It’s such fantastic music,” he said. “So many genres and influences. We’re all fans and lovers of the music. Their music has been a part of my life. The other guys feel the same.”
Swearingen said that Peter Paul Cetera, American singer, songwriter, and bassist best known for being an original Chicago member, counts as a big influence in his musical career, as well as Robert William Lamm, an American keyboardist, singer, songwriter and founding member of Chicago. And as a singer, Swearingen said he’s very much influenced by Steve Perry and Lou Graham.
“We’re very influenced from everybody from The Rolling Stones to jazz,” he said.
Another motivator was growing up in a musical household.
Swearingen said, “My father played guitar and bass. My mother enjoyed singing. I’m very lucky they get to see me throughout the year; we travel so much.”
For years Beginnings played for audiences all over the country. Some of their performances included: Walt Disney’s Epcot Center, Bally’s Atlantic City Resort Casino, The M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas, The Golden Nugget Atlantic City Resort and Casino, The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino, Cesar’s Poconos Resorts, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Raceway, The Savannah Center in Florida, Circle Square Pac in Ocala, Fla., and The Company Theatre in Norwell, Mass.
When Swearingen isn’t performing with Beginnings, he’s with his other band, Almost Famous, playing music of the 1970s and 1980s. He also works for a company in Rockefeller Center as a video producer/editor.
“It’s a cool gig to have,” he said.
The Beginnings horn section plays with Big Shot, a Billy Joel tribute, as well as a Phil Collins tribute, and various side projects.
For more information on Beginnings, visit: https://www.beginningstributeband.com/.