Courtyard Marriott in Wilkes-Barre features live music for summer series
WILKES-BARRE — The Courtyard by Marriott Wilkes-Barre hotel puts some melody in its hospitality this summer, and the public is invited to listen.
The opening act in the Courtyard’s Summer Music Series debuted May 31 with Cherry Lane (Ray Del Priore and Jack Exter) playing a two-hour jazz happy hour in the hotel lobby. The duo returns for a second lobby performance from 6 to 8 p.m. June 21, and Windfall (Vernon and Diane Jones) perform in the same time slot June 28 on the patio.
Courtyard General Manager, Milena Delvecchio, said the hotel tends to showcase artists or musicians in conjunction with other events, but the Summer Music Series is a first.
“Our guests really enjoy the live music in the lobby,” Delvecchio said. “It adds something special to their stay.”
Welcoming the public to the series made sense in light of the positive feedback from guests and the hotel’s inviting atmosphere, Delvecchio said.
“We thought we’d let the local community know that we’re having live music,” Delvecchio said. “The acoustics here are great. We have a friendly staff and a restaurant and bar for people to enjoy whether they’re staying or just visiting.”
Delvecchio personally sought out the acts chosen to perform during the summer series. She first heard Cherry Lane play at Kevin’s Bar & Restaurant in Kingston and thought they’d be a good fit for the lobby.
“They played a rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ which I thought was beautiful,” Delvecchio said.
Ray Del Priore is known regionally as an accomplished blues man, but his project with Exter covers a range of blues and jazz standards as well as tunes he feels are accessible to everyone.
“What happens with me and Jack is it turns into a Wes Montgomery and Grant Green kind of thing,” the Dupont guitarist said. “They’re on the blues end of jazz. I’m also not against doing tunes people recognize. We’ll do “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and “Get Ready.”
Del Priore said Delvecchio is a consummate professional and the duo felt welcome and comfortable in the lounge.
“I think people will enjoy themselves,” he said. “The lounge is beautiful. The Marriott did it right.”
Vernon Jones of Windfall said he and wife, Diane, have been well received at previous Courtyard performances. He said Delvecchio, who found the Pittston duo at POSH in Scranton, has a sophisticated musical palate.
“Milena is such a stellar person in terms of her love for music, and we need that,” Jones said.
Incorporating keyboards, saxophones and flute music into their male and female voiced performances, Windfall covers an eclectic range of songs that include rock and roll, R&B, dance and easy listening styles.
“The type of music we play is appropriate to the venue,” Jones said. “We suitably attune to the environment. Before iTunes, people got a lot of their influences from the radio stations that played a variety of styles. We have a similar approach.”
Jones said the Courtyard atmosphere is modern and pleasant with great decor and friendly staff and guests.
Delvecchio said if the series is a success, she’d like to see it continue with these and other acts.
“We’d like to get to the point where (people) know if it’s Tuesday, there will be music in the lobby,” she said.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts
If you go:
What: Courtyard by Marriott Wilkes-Barre Summer Music Series
Where: 879 Schecter Drive, Wilkes-Barre
When: Cherry Lane (Ray Del Priore and Jack Exter) 6 to 8 p.m. June 21 for jazz happy hour in the lobby.
Windfall (Vernon and Diane Jones) 6 to 8 p.m. June 28 on the patio.
Addiontal information: Summer Music Series events are free and open to the public.