The Pink Album: The Prospects unleash ‘sparkle music’

The Prospect Band, known as ‘The Prospects,’ will release its first album in late April. The quintet consists of organist Rachel Wise, bassist Max Shapiro, drummer Jeff Bonistalli, lead vocalist Thomas DiVittorio, and lead guitarist Ryan Carnage.
The Prospect Band, known as ‘The Prospects,’ will release its first album in late April. The quintet consists of organist Rachel Wise, bassist Max Shapiro, drummer Jeff Bonistalli, lead vocalist Thomas DiVittorio, and lead guitarist Ryan Carnage.

There’s a revolutionary sound going around Ridgefield.

Some people have stopped to look at what’s going down, while others will have to wait until next month to hear it.

That’s when The Prospect Band, known as ‘The Prospects,’ will release its debut album — dubbed “The Pink Album,” in an ode to the Beatles’ White Album and in celebration of the non-profit theater’s favorite color.

“We play sparkle music,” said Rachel Wise as her hands got familiar with the band’s new double organ.

“It’s a new genre that our band invented,” she added.

The group formed in the fall of 2016, before the Prospector’s second birthday party. They’ve played at special movie screenings and other theater events, like the annual Sparkle Awards (Ridgefield’s very own version of the Academy Awards).

Fast forward 16 months, and the The Prospects are finally preparing for a party of their own.

“It’s very, very exciting,” said lead vocalist Thomas DiVittorio of the band’s album release party Saturday, April 28, at 7 p.m. “We’ve dreamed about this since we started playing together. It should be a fun night of celebration. We share our joy, love, and happiness as musicians, and now the band will share those great feelings with the public.”

Shortly after making its debut back in November 2016, The Prospects created three original songs — “Mr. Projector,” “Sparkle On,” and “The Prospector Way.”

The writing process has been collaborative.

“We’ve all had a hand in it,” said Jeff Bonistalli, the band’s drummer and co-founder, of the eight-song album.

“Jeff’s come up with guitar parts on some songs, I’ve rocked out on the drums on others,” added lead guitarist and co-founder Ryan Carnage.

“You just feel it in you, and that’s when you feel like you’re in another world.”

‘Way of communication’

The band members, who all work together at the theater, practice once a week for about 90 minutes. Since the formation of The Prospects, Bonistalli and Carnage have seen the musical talents of all their bandmates expand.

“Tonight is Rachel’s first night playing on the double organ,” Bonistalli remarked before one of the band’s rehearsals earlier this winter.

“One is boring, two is fun,” Wise explained of her upgrade.

The band’s fifth member, bassist Max Shapiro, was a saxophonist in high school.

“I like that I get to challenge myself,” Shapiro said of being in The Prospects.

Like Carnage, he enjoys the sensation of teleportation that playing music enables.

“I get to lose myself when I’m up there performing,” Shapiro said. “I escape from all of my surroundings.”

Bonistalli, who sees the band as another way for theater employees to channel their passions, believes music gives a voice to a group that might otherwise be voiceless.

“It’s a different way of communication,” he said.

“Music has always been a powerful vehicle to get thoughts and powerful messages heard, and I think our songs highlight the sparkle around the theater and what it means to have meaningful employment in this world.”

DiVittorio feels the connection, too.

“I think singing is happiness to people,” he said. “It makes you feel good, like you’re standing right next to other singers around the world.”

As for the weekly jam sessions, the lead singer deems it an essential part of the creative process.

“We get to test each other,” DiVittorio said. “Sometimes we argue and disagree, then we figure it out. … One thing we all agree on is that practice makes perfect.”

By request

With 50 songs in its repertoire, The Prospect Band certainly has proven the merits of repetition and preparation.

But the five-piece ensemble has an uncanny characteristic that makes its rehearsals seem superfluous: They can play any song by request, at the snap of a finger.

“All Along the Watchtower?” Check. “Only the Good Die Young?” That’s easy. “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction?” Come on now.

“Rachel, let’s hear the theme music to Mission Impossible,” Bonistalli said, putting in a quick request to his keyboardist.

It was met without hesitation.

“That talent was untapped until we started playing two years,” he added.

Movies and music

The Prospects are cinephiles.

They all boast an encyclopedic knowledge of movie soundtracks, a skill set that has allowed them to cover everything from the score of Jaws to the theme songs of Austin Powers and the Power Rangers.

While jamming out to movie soundtracks helped the band explore its musical horizons, it also created a thirst for originality.

“We sang cover songs and then decided to branch out on our own, and that’s when we started writing our own stuff about the theater,” added Carnage, who’s been writing songs since he attended Ridgefield High School a decade ago.

In addition to the three songs they wrote in 2016, the bandmates penned four other songs in 2017.

“There are eight tracks on there,” Bonistalli added. “One of them is hidden.”

Future plans

The group will perform each original piece during the album release party next month, and then the album will be available for purchase at the theater and iTunes.

“We can’t wait to get the sparkle out there,” Bonistalli said.

He’s not done producing for The Prospects.

“A job is something that everybody should have, and that’s something we’ll continue to strive for,” he said. “We want to keep empowering that message.”

Bonistalli estimates that the band has already written enough songs for a second album.

“We have enough for the first album and then some,” he said.

“What I’m most proud of is that we’ve found a way to become one with our music that’s really transcendent,” Bonistalli added, echoing the sentiments of Carnage and Shapiro.

“We’re really going out there and playing as one entity, which is a lot of fun and shows there’s a lot of potential for us in the future.”

Wise sees the potential and has a goal in mind.

“We are going to have a tour bus,” she said. “It’ll be black and pink."