Band Debuts amidst Springs Brook’s August Afternoon Vibe

August 23, 2023
The Funky Bunch, a trio of three Bedford High School rising seniors, recently played their first public concert at Springs Brook Park. Staff photo.

There’s kind of a mellow vibe at Springs Brook Park on a late August afternoon that hasn’t changed much during the past 50 years.

A couple of Fridays ago, as the sun peeked between the evergreens framing the west border of the beach, the dominant mood among the hundred or so folks on hand was relaxation.

Fitting nicely onto the scene was the trio of three Bedford High School rising seniors, who set up on the deck in front of the bathhouse and delivered an eclectic 45-minute set that two and maybe three generations of listeners would appreciate.

The performance was the band’s first public performance together. The three musicians have been rehearsing for the past month, as much as they can between the demands of summer jobs.

Cameron Zhu said he has been studying guitar for seven years. His focus was on classical music until he picked up an electric guitar during the pandemic. “It’s awesome,” he said, adding that he remains a fan of the classical style, as well.

Hayden McAllister plays keyboard and handles all of the band’s vocals. He said he began with the instrument 11 years ago and has been singing for as long as he can remember.

Zac Shen is the point person for the band. He began learning piano around the age of three and also took up the drums about 10 years ago. 

“I think there is more of a need for drummers,” he explained.

The fledgling group is calling itself the Funky Bunch, Shen said, adding, “But we are open to changing the name.” They are probably covered by the statute of limitations, as Mark Wahlberg’s band of the same name dissolved 30 years ago.

Shen said the three musicians have composed some original music, but their first performance together at Springs Brook was an array of familiar covers, from Nat “King” Cole’s “Smile,” the 70-year-old “Fly Me to the Moon,” and “Stand by Me” to crossover sounds such as “Just the Two of Us,” “Isn’t She Lovely?” and the Commodores’ “Easy Like a Sunday Morning.”

It’s not like this was a formal concert arrangement. A few small children sat transfixed, and parents and friends recorded the set with their cellphones. The music just blended with the park scene – kids putting the finishing touches on a couple of impressive sand sculptures; a few families on the edge of the beach, at picnic tables or lawn chairs; the rippling of the spray park.  

Shen said the band is looking for more opportunities to play together; he can be reached at [email protected].

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