Serviam Academy’s key fundraiser “Evening Under the Stars” has generated a loyal and growing following ever since party organizers lined up Kristen & the Noise to perform for guests back in 2012. Fronted by Kristen Kwolek, one of the most electric and entertaining singers and stage performers on the east coast, the popular cover band has performed every year since then.
This year’s event on Friday, April 28th will take place at the scenic Greenville Country Club.
Serviam benefactor Chip Schussler, who underwrites the band’s performance each year, says the band isn’t just great for guests. The group has become big supporters of the students at Serviam Academy, learning their names and interests, including them on stage, and visiting them at school . “It really has been a wonderful partnership. It’s the look and smiles on the faces of our girls, and the faces of all our EUS attendees that brings a sense of fulfillment and reinforces that I am helping to make a real difference for the School,” says Schussler.
Town Square Delaware caught up with lead singer Kristen Kwolek to chat about her experiences on and off stage and how she juggles it all.
Town Square Delaware: Your band is known to have an incredible following up and down the east coast. What do you attribute that to?
Kristen Kwolek: We have been a band (some members have changed) since 2002. We travel regularly to many different areas to build and maintain our following. When first starting in a new area, we try to advertise and hope the venue we are playing will help to promote our debut in order to get many people to see us initially. Then, we try to make a great impression by giving the best performance we can, and hope that people will come to see us again.
TSD: Why “Noise?” And what does the Noise sound like? What type/genre of music do you play?
Kristen: “Noise” as in “bring the noise!”…”let’s get this party started!” Hopefully, our sound is pleasant to the ears..haha. We are a very versatile band ranging from Motown and current dance to older and newer rock and “alternative” genres. There is almost nothing we won’t cover. We try to play to our strengths.
There are some songs in which I enjoy spotlighting my vocal ability, and others in which I dance around or “rock out” more. Pete (bass) is a solid and very talented player who sings lead for a number of songs as well as back up vocals. Uriah (keyboard) is a stellar musician and also sings back ups. Jordan (lead guitar) is an amazing guitarist who also sings lead and back up. Bones (drums) is an awesome musician who, in addition to his playing, adds a lot to the visual aspect with his energetic performance!
TSD: You have a special talent with the way you connect with party guests. People seem to dance for hours! Have you always had great rapport with your audience?
Kristen: Thank you! I love what I do and I think that maybe that comes across onstage. People see that we are having fun and want to join in the good time!
It’s not always easy to connect with people, but that is always my preference…to connect and interact with the crowd. It’s more fun when they are involved as opposed to being spectators alone. People want to come out to unwind and leave the stress of work and “real life” behind. That’s why I think it’s important to help them let their hair down and have fun!
TSD: What is the most challenging aspect to maintaining a top flight band? Is it hard to be 100%at every performance?
Kristen: There are a lot of challenging aspects to this job. The travel alone can be exhausting. Being away from family while traveling can be rough. The late hours of a Friday gig can make you worry about a Saturday wedding. Yes, of course, it’s hard to decide which new songs to add to the show and find the time to rehearse. However, somehow, we always find a way. I think that may be because we’ve been doing this so long that we’ve found a natural rhythm and learned to balance all of the above. We’ve learned how to properly rest when needed as well.
TSD: When you were first approached about headlining Evening Under the Stars in 2012, you apparently agreed without knowing much about the School or the fundraiser. What keeps you coming back, now for the 6th consecutive year?
Kristen: I was very interested in doing what I could to help raise money for the girls. As a woman who owns and operates her own business and is in a position of leadership, I was also hoping that, in some way, I may be a good influence or positive role model for the girls. What keeps us coming back are the wonderful people who are involved as well as the girls. It’s such a special event, and we’re very proud and honored to be included. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special thanks to Chip Schussler for helping to make it possible every year!
TSD: We hear that the Serviam staff and volunteers consider you a part of the Serviam family.
Kristen: We feel so honored to be included as part of the Serviam family. These people are very dedicated to doing everything in their power to provide these girls every opportunity and all the tools they will need to succeed. It’s amazing to see people helping others in such a significant and everlasting way. I love the old saying, ‘Give a woman a fish, and you feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish, and you feed her for a lifetime.’. I’m enjoying taking some liberties with that quote!
TSD: Any notable recollections about Delaware?
Kristen: Delaware is one of our favorite places to play — especially Dewey Beach! It’s my home away from home. We’ve played a lot of UD events as well. The people that come to see us are always so energetic and receptive. We love it!