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Classic rockers The Kootz wrap up Hanover's summer concert series

HANOVER TWP. - The Kootz, a New Jersey local cover band specializing in rock of the 1960s and '70s, performed inside the amphitheater of Memorial Junior School during the final night of the township's Music Under the Stars summer concert series Monday, July 25.

The concert was originally scheduled to be held outdoors at Bee Meadow Park, but it was moved to the inside of the school due to the excessive heat and rain forecast.

"We are going to have lots of fun and no sweat, so I couldn't think of anything better,"said Denise Brennan, the superintendent of recreation for Hanover Township.

Glenn Taylor of Caldwell, the band's leader, vocalist and guitar player, performed alongside four other band members: Pepe Hernandez of Oakland, New Jersey, on Bass and vocals, Russell Crapella of Little Falls on guitar and vocals, Don Guinta of Basking Ridge on drums, and Matteo Varano of Montclair on saxophone.

Hanover Committeeman Ronald Francioli came on stage to thank the sponsors that made the event possible. Two representatives from Wegmans, Paige Johnson of Vernon and McKenna Kaldy of Morristown came onstage to receive thanks alongside Tatiana Aguire of Madison and Ann Ramirez from Pearly Whites Dental.

Mark Carney, the Grand Knight of the Elizabeth Ann Seton Knights of Columbus in Hanover, also received recognition on stage.

"These concerts can't go on without the support and sponsorship of the various people that contribute to it," Francioli said.

Taylor said the band first formed in 2001 and currently has 18 total members that play under The Kootz name, with different members being switched out for different performances depending on what songs are played at the concert.

According to Taylor, The Kootz perform 300 nights a year and have performed every night in July so far, occasionally hosting two performances simultaneously with different band members.

Taylor calls the usual performers "frequent flyers" and includes a fifth performer on saxophone when the budget allows them to do so. All five members on stage tonight were frequent flyers.

"I do a lot of the heavy lifting myself," Taylor said. "But by myself, I'm not anything unless I have a great team of guys with me."

Some of the songs the band played included "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen, "That's What I Like About You" by The Romantics and "Put me in Coach" by John Fogerty.

Taylor said he doesn't have a favorite artist, and his tastes haven't changed much over the years.

"You can't not like something," Taylor said. "So I take that approach in the band, you gotta entertain anything that comes across the plate and see if there's a way to make it yours."

After each song, Taylor asked the crowd a piece of music trivia, whoever answered right got a free piece of Kootz merch, ranging from t-shirts, hats and carrying bags.

Varano, the youngest Kootz member and a recent graduate of Montclair State University, said he "felt incredible" while playing on stage.

"I enjoy the repertoire that the band has as it's different from most wedding and corporate bands I perform with," Varano said. "I thoroughly enjoy making music with these talented guys, and I'm always learning something new."