About the Band
A Note From The Sugarpills
We believe in joy to the world, in the spirit of the season, and that it's better to give than to receive. We've crafted almost thirty holiday covers to date (and the occasional, original song) for our family, friends, and fans. We're pretty pleased with the results, and we plan to do more of it! Be sure to Fan us on Facebook to keep up with the awesome to come.
Epic Origin Myth
It started with three graduates from a small liberal arts university in Pennsylvania that wanted to put more than just a form letter in their 2009 Christmas cards. Then we were the house band for a local theater's annual Christmas vaudeville show. We've now become a collective of our best and brightest friends who have contributed to two full length albums and an EP.
Before becoming The Sugarpills, this project was simply a gleam in Kevin's eye. The idea of recording a Christmas album had always struck him as a ridiculously fun concept. Feeling confident with his instrumental abilities but thinking he might need some help in the vocal department, he called in Alexis, fellow alumnus of Marywood U, and brought in Angelica for additional vocals and instrumentation. They embarked on a 12-track album to send to friends and family in lieu of "just" cards for Christmas 2009.
Thus dawned a cold, clear Christmas-tide, and The Sugarpills were born.
The Sugarpills Are...
(Primary Instrumentation [far too many to mention...just read the Christmas Spirits credits], Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Production & Engineering, Webmaster, Founding Member)
Kevin holds a BA in Arts Administration from Marywood University, though his musical career began in 1995 when he borrowed his uncle's old drum kit. Since that time, Kevin has made it his life's goal to learn (and master) as many instruments as is humanly possible. Kevin enjoys recording and performing music live, whether in personal or professional endeavors, as well as teaching both percussion and guitar. Past performance credits include musical director and performing musician for Touchstone Theatre's Christmas City Follies XI, Christmas City Follies XVI, and Ulysses Dreams, Marywood University's wind and percussion ensembles, Kaleidoscope Theatre's production of Godspell Jr., and a multitude of ongoing personal projects (The Velvet Tomato(e) Experiment, On the Delaware, Concrete Astronaut, Casual Tsunami, to name a few)...but this one's definitely in his top five favorites. "Christmas Spirits" marks Kevin's 6th full-length studio album release (not to mention several other recording credits) and is certainly his most impressive work to date. Outside the realm of music, Kevin is busy with his own web development company, eCentric Development & Design, building and maintaining websites and other web applications.
...and The Collective
(Lead & Backing Vocals, Flute, Occasional Keys)
Emma is a 2007 graduate of Gettysburg College, where she double majored in English and Theatre Arts with a minor in Classical Studies. While there, she directed, teched, stage managed, and performed in entirely too many theatrical productions, favorites including An Experiment with an Air Pump, Much Ado About Nothing, Metamorphoses, and Lebensraum. Other credits include internships at the Gettysburg Arts Festival and Williamstown Theatre Festival, as well as onstage work at the Actors' NET of Bucks County and the Renegade Shakespeare troupe. In her time at Touchstone Theatre, she has enjoyed hands-on involvement in production, with roles including stage management (Shipwrecked, The Tempest, YPF), lighting design (The Pan Show, The Whitman Piece, Fresh Voices), and performance (The Pan Show, Follies, Dr. Horrible). When not immersed in production, Emma manages the space rentals, assists with marketing, and dabbles in graphic design.
(Bass, Backing Vocals)
Will Esty holds a B.S. in Computer Information Systems, with a minor in Telecommunications from Marywood University, however, his true passion lies within the comforting sounds of music. He has been playing music for about 17 years, when he first witnessed his step-father Jack playing a 1970's Kingston fat body, which he describes as being "literally 2 feet wide at the rear, if not more!" It was his step-father's passion for music that ignited the fire of his own, and shortly thereafter it was Will rocking the fat body. Two years after beginning his life-long affair with the guitar, Will decided to pick up the bass, which is where his true passion for music resides today. Through the years, he has been lucky enough to be a part of a constant stream of bands (both covers and originals), solo projects, and musical endeavors (including a brief musical theater stint in high school). It was during this time that he met Kevin, and formed "The Best Next Thing," in which he further developed his bass skills. Shortly after the band dissolved, Kevin and Will formed a quirky duo, called "The Velvet Tomato(e) Experiment." The two became fast friends and thus when Kevin needed a full-time bass player for the collective, it was a no brainer that he should enlist Will, who was of course more than happy to oblige. When he's not melting faces with his neverending bass finesse, Will is employed full-time as an IT professional, a position which he has been relishing for the last 13 years. Will enjoys drawing inspiration from the likes of both Primus and The Flaming Lips, to name a few, as well as playing handyman around his home where he resides with his fianceé, Amanda. Will is very excited to bring his passion to life via The Sugarpills!
James P. Jordan
(Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitar, Trumpet)
James has worked in theatre professionally for the last 19 years. He began his career as a Stage Manager for illusionist Jeff O'Lear's anti-drug programs, which toured both nationally and internationally. During this period, James played in multiple bands, performing to crowds as big as 5000 people. James graduated from Kutztown University majoring in Telecommunication (video production) with a minor in both Theatre and Music. He appeared in a number of Kutztown University's Theatre productions and played both guitar and trumpet in the University's Jazz band. Post college, James continued to play in small musical projects but mainly recorded in the studio. At this time, he began work at the newly opened Zoellner Arts Center on Lehigh University's campus. During his five-year tenure as Zoellner's Stage Coordinator, James helped in the production of hundreds of events; from lectures to Broadway musicals to some of the best ballets and orchestras in the world. While at Zoellner, James freelanced with many production companies and also began freelancing as both a sound and lighting designer. Now in his 6th year at Touchstone Theatre, James has played a crucial part in every production since his arrival, serving in multiple roles including Designer, Composer, Actor, Director and Playwright.
(Lead & Backing Vocals, Lyrics, Auxiliary Instrumentation, Wordsmythe, Founding Member)
Alexis holds a BA in Communications from Marywood University and an MA in American Studies from Lehigh University. She has held internships with regional theaters in Media, PA and in Bethlehem, PA. She serves concurrently as a member of the Board of Trustees for Touchstone Theatre and the Allentown Public Theatre (APT). She is the Backstage Manager for APT, and has stage managed extensively with that company and with the Hedgerow Theater in Media. She has performed regularly in the Christmas City with "A Night at a British Music Hall" and Touchstone Theatre. She also encourages sing-a-longs when traveling anywhere with her sister. When she's not working for love, she works for pay at a local institution of higher learning. In addition to her work with The Sugarpills, Alexis is a project manager, a wrangler, a writer, a reader, a Tweeter, a student, an artist, an actress, an activist, a singer, a sister, a daughter, a woman, a feminist, and a friend.
(Saxophone, Keyboards, Guitar, Mandolin, Backing Vocals, Pretty much anything we tell him to play...)
Craig first started playing music in 1983, when he began learning to play the saxophone. After being inspired in high school by bands like Pink Floyd, the Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead, he taught himself to play the guitar and keyboard. During his time in West Virginia University, where he graduated with a BS in Journalism, he acquired a taste for both bluegrass and electronic/techno music. He is currently working on the "On the Delaware" project with Kevin (a mixture of all types of weird music) and The Sugarpills. He currently resides in South Jersey with his wife Autumn and 2 children ( Savannah and Isabella) where he is a professional photographer with his wife at Pittelli Photography.
(Guitar, Bass, Ableton Live, Engineering, Fat Beatz, Backing Vocals)
Tony Sprayberry has always been fascinated by music and sound, an affinity he began exploring and experimenting with at an early age. Between making mixed tapes for friends, singing in the school chorus, and later playing in bands when he began high school, music in its many forms is an activity which he continues to this day. Along the way on his foray into the musical world, he developed a knack for mixing sound for live bands (when he wasn't playing with them, of course). As his professional career began to oscillate wildly, he was lucky enough to stumble into the post production audio world, where he found a full-time outlet to his creativity. Tony has since held many professional audio positions, including sound engineer at both Sound Hound and Northern Lights in NYC (where he currently works). Here he has had the pleasure of mixing sound for popular networks such as USA, TruTV, and HBG, to name a few. When he's not rocking the mixer or the stage, Tony enjoys kicking back on the technology side, exploring the mysteries of computers, web design, programming, ham radio, and mechanics, but most importantly, hitting the pavement on his longboard. Tony is very excited to be a part of The Sugarpills family collective, where he continues to perfect his craft and cultivate his electronic skills by adding new tools to his ever-growing sound station!