HUDSON — Pianist Tony Kieraldo, 38, and Macklin (Mack) DePace, 8, created Mac and Tony’s Music Truck to bring ragtime to Hudson.
With a piano rigged to the back of a truck, Kieraldo and DePace stopped to perform on Halloween at Wylde Market on North Third Street, Promenade Hill Park, Kitty’s at 60 South Front St., Backbar at 347 Warren St., and City Hall at 520 Warren St., said Mark DePace, Mack DePace’s father, who is the designated music truck driver.
Mack emceed and occasionally treated the audience to a vocal performance, accompanied by Kieraldo on the piano.
“I said, ‘Boys and girls, don’t be shy, if you like music, we’re your guys,’” Mack said of his routine. “And, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Mac and Tony’s music truck! I am Mack. This is Tony and this is our music truck!’ And, ‘Give it up for Hudson’s own pianist, Tony Kieraldo!’”
The Common Council green-lighted the Tourism Board to fund $3,100 for the portable concert at its Aug. 18 meeting: $800 for a used upright piano, bought from a couple in Hudson, $200 for piano tuning, $400 for rigging the piano to the truck, $100 for the sound system, $200 for gas for four performances, $200 for signs, $200 for storage, $200 for parking fees and permits for four performances, and $800 for four performance fees of $200 each.
“We will pick locations where all residents of our city can enjoy the music and encourage visitors to explore destinations off Warren Street,” according to the proposal. “Locations will be chosen that provide adequate space for social distancing.”
They planned four separate performance days, each day visiting three or four locations, and performing for about 30 minutes at each.
With the Shared Streets program concluded and the weather getting colder, the next performance date hasn’t been set, Mark DePace said.
The group will coordinate with the Tourism Board to decide the best time, depending on other events happening in the city, Mark DePace added.
They hope to do another tour around the holidays and again in the spring when the weather is warmer, he said.
“It’s pretty charming when a little kid in a tuxedo goes up and starts shouting at a microphone and telling you about an amazing piano player,” Mark DePace said of the performance.
There were about 20 to 30 people in the audience, he said.
Kieraldo played ragtime and Halloween music on the first day of the traveling performances, Mack DePace said.
“Umbrella” by Rihanna, “Come on Irene” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC, “Africa” by Toto and “Happy Birthday” were on the Halloween set list, all “more or less ragtime” in style, Kieraldo said.
Mack’s favorite act revolved around “Ghostbusters.”
“Whenever he played ‘Who you gonna call?,’ I would say ‘Ghostbusters,’” Mack said. “I also liked ‘You’ll Be Back’ from ‘Hamilton.’”
Mack got nervous about talking in front of a big audience, but had a blast once the music tour got started, he said.
“I was nervous at first, but then once I started talking, I loved it,” he said.
He practiced his routine and got feedback from his family before the music truck’s opening day.
“I feel like the best thing to do is to just say it in your head a lot and then, it’s kinda like, once you say it a lot you kinda get used to it,” he said of remembering his lines.
Kieraldo wore a white tuxedo and Mack wore a black tuxedo, Mark DePace said.
“After the fourth one (stop) I started to get cold and that was at like 4:15,” Mack said. “And I put my coat on and my hat and my gloves. And we eventually got so cold that we had to leave.”
The DePaces’ friends helped drill wheels into the piano to slide it down a ramp into the storage unit, Mack said.
At the end of the tour, Mack fell asleep in the truck while the piano was being unloaded.
“I passed out in the car because I was so tired, so I didn’t get to see the whole process, but I saw the first part where they pushed it down,” Mack said.
When he’s not practicing his stage patter for the music truck, Mack plays the cello and sings.
“I like all types of music,” he said.
Mack and Tony’s Music Truck debut wasn’t Kieraldo’s first time playing piano in the back of a truck in Hudson.
A few years ago, he donated a piano to Perfect 10, an after-school program, and played in the back of the truck from his downtown studio to the building that is now the library, Kieraldo said.
But this music truck was Mack’s invention, Kieraldo said.
One day, Mack heard piano music while going for a walk on Warren Street and found the house the music was coming from.
When the musician came out to say hello, Mack realized it was Kieraldo, one of his teachers from Hudson Hall’s Harmony Project.
The next day, Mack thought of the idea to secure a piano to the back of his parents’ truck to bring Kieraldo around town for others to hear.
“I think it brought joy and a smile to people’s faces seeing something like that,” Kieraldo said.
Kieraldo is a frequent performer at open mics at Club Helsinki, 405 Columbia St., which have been online because of COVID-19.
He also plays with Postmodern Jukebox, a cover band that puts a vintage spin on modern pop songs and posts weekly one-minute videos playing ragtime on his Instagram account.
Kieraldo has been finishing a Hudson Ragtime Suite dedicated to the five main streets in Hudson, he said, which was also funded by the Tourism Board.
The city of Hudson owns the piano purchased for the project, Tamar Adler of the Tourism Board said. The final destination for the piano has not been decided.
The Music Truck is sponsored by the Hudson Tourism Board.