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MEET THE MUSICIANS

Kevin Bennett_ First Snow TSO Tribute

Guitar, Vocals, Owner/Manager

KEVIN BENNETT

To me, Christmas is special for bringing family & friends together. ​ I've been playing guitar since I was about 10 years old. I've played in various bands throughout the years. Besides performing in First Snow, I also play lead guitar & mandolin in Straight On - a Tribute to the Music of Heart. Both bands are my family & I couldn't think of a better gift than playing with them & for you my friends.

Arash Ghahremani _ First Snow

Violin

ARASH "RAJ" GHAHREMANI

Raj grew up in Orange Village and started playing the violin at the age of 9. His father and grandfather both also play and played violin growing up in the Middle East region of the World. He took Suzuki-style violin lessons for 11 years and went to Kent State University. There he was one of the first students to get a partial scholarship as a non-music major. He was a part of the KSU symphony orchestra for his college years. After college he took a break from music to raise his family and after this he got back into playing music. “Country music was the only station i could get on my AM radio on my first pickup lol….” Listening to country helped him in directing his music into this genre. Playing out with many country bands throughout the years helped him decide to start Rte 212. He hand-picked these musicians to join him and the band has been playing high quality covers from traditional to more modern influences. All the different music experiences and hundreds of musicians on stage over 30+ years playing the Violin or now Fiddle  has helped him learn and evolve his craft into something unique and special on stage.

Michelle McDowell _ First Snow

Backing & Lead Vocals

MICHELLE MCDOWELL

Michelle started singing at an early age.  She performed in various talent shows and school musicals.  Michelle received a BFA in Musical Threatre from Kent State University.  These days she is the lead vocalist for Invincible, Northeast Ohio’s Premier Pat Benatar Tribute.  Michelle is honored to join the First Snow family.

Chris Emig _ First Snow

Backing & Lead Vocals

CHRIS EMIG

Chris developed a love for live music at an early age. The power, emotions and dynamics of classic rock, hard rock and heavy metal spoke loudly to her. Chris started her musical career with cover bands and sang everything from Led Zeppelin, to Melissa Etheridge, to Black Sabbath and Dio. She later pursued original music and was in a metal band called Cellbound, which had a great 8 year run. Chris gained a loyal fan base through her energetic and passionate performances and tireless work ethic. Cellbound performed at many festivals and toured through out the surrounding states. Currently she sings in an original metal band called Olathia. You can catch Olathia at venues throughout Cleveland and Akron, at festivals and on the road as well! Being a long time TSO/Savatage fan, she is excited to join forces with the talented musicians in First Snow. Terry Johnson, Olathia’s bass player, has also joined as a vocalist.

Terry Johnson _ First Snow

Backing & Lead Vocals

TERRY JOHNSON

Terry is excited to join the talented cast of First Snow! For the better part of two decades, the Trans-Siberian experience has cemented its place in his family’s home as the soundtrack to the holiday season. Terry is beyond honored to contribute to the legacy of such a powerful music force by playing a roll in this tribute.

 

Terry is active in the Midwest music scene as a singer, songwriter, and musician in several acts ranging musical theater, Celtic, funk, rock, punk, and heavy metal. When the Siberian sleigh-ride subsides, you can catch a concert with Terry “Bull” and Chris E. as they perform with Olathia. Terry wishes all of the First Snow friends and family a wonderful holiday season and looks forward to bringing the magic of TSO to the stage. 

Dan Cameron _ First Snow.jpg

Backing & Lead Vocals

DANIEL CAMERON

Dan Cameron is in his first year as a vocalist with First Snow. He has been active in music for 20 years, and has fronted the Cleveland-based metal band Bound by Fate for the last 11 years. Dan says he became involved in music because it's been a form of self expression, and a healthy release for him, and he enjoys entertaining people and making them smile. He is an avid Indians and Browns fan, loves everything Halloween and is a haunted house set designer and actor. 

First Sno - Tribute to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra _ Introducing_RichKosak.jpg

Narrator, Guitar, Backing & Lead Vocals

RICH KOSAK

No stranger to the stage or to the theatrical side of rock ’n’ roll Rich is thrilled to be a part of FIRST SNOW. He admits that he was drawn in by the overall spirit of the music and the amazing talents of each member which he cites as certainly being part of the allure.

A native of Avalon, PA which sits just minutes from downtown Pittsburgh Rich was raised in a town full of pride and was vaccinated on rock ’n’ roll at the age of 12 after hearing FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE for the very first time. As the founding member of the world’s best and internationally known KISS Tribute Band MR.SPEED Rich puts his heart and soul into each and every performance making sure that music lovers of all ages from the first row to the very last can feel the spirit of the music flowing through them. His accolades include but are not limited to fronting MR.SPEED for the past 29 years, performing on stages from Miami to Seattle and from Boston to Los Angeles. He also competed along with over 200 other KISS style bands in 2012 in Las Vegas being crowned “The World’s Best KISS Tribute Band” by none other than current KISS lead guitarist Tommy Thayer. Then again in 2020 MR.SPEED took part in another world-wide competition, this time via social media that was titled "Tribute Wars Quarantined" while the world found itself in the grips of a global pandemic. Voted on by members of such legendary bands as Twisted Sister, Anthrax and Megadeth they once again stood head and shoulders above their peers taking home the title of “World Champion”.

Rich enjoys collecting rock ’n’ roll memorabilia from bands such as KISS, JOURNEY, STRYPER, HEART and others. If you want to watch STAR WARS he’ll get the snacks. If you’d like to grab coffee he’ll more than likely buy your first cup. If you’d like to go shopping for vinyl records you can bet that he’ll be in the car before you and if you ask him what his very first concert was he’ll quickly reply that it was the COMMODORES on July 28, 1978, at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the dream that is FIRST SNOW and I promise to help fill your heart full of all of the magic and wonder that only Christmas spirit can elicit”.

Rich Kosak
mrspeedonline.com
mrspeedkisstribute@yahoo.com

Monique Bennett_First Snow

Lead & Backing Vocalist, Owner/Manager

MONIQUE BENNETT

Monique is a self-taught vocalist & has been singing since a very young age. She was inspired by Classic Rock, R&B, Hard Rock & Heavy Metal vocalists/bands which is where she honed in on her vocal style. At 16, she had her first taste of performing solo in front of a live audience in her high school talent show where she performed her rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You".

In here early 20's she started performing at karaoke events & also even winning a karaoke contest. After winning the karaoke competition, she wanted to start working on forming a Heart Tribute Band. She put a flyer up in a local music shop & Kevin Bennett answered the ad. Monique & Kevin have performed in several musical projects together, such as The Division Bell - a Tribute to Pink Floyd (backing vocalist), Rivendell Lost (lead vocalist) & currently; Straight On - A Tribute to the Music of Heart (lead vocalist), & also now, First Snow - a Tribute to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (backing & lead vocalist).

Brian Briggs _ First Snow

Bass

BRIAN BRIGGS

Brian started playing guitar and bass in high school.  He started to focus on bass 2005 in MATD and formed the Divison Bell Pink Floyd Tribute Band. Brian has also played 2nd keys for First Snow in 2010, continued with The Show Must Go On until 2013. & is currently performing in his GreenR DayZ Tribute and excited to be back in First Snow!

Jeff Tucker _ First Snow

Guitar

JEFF TUCKER

I started playing the piano when I was five.  I quit after five years because it wasn’t “cool”.  That was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  I picked up the guitar my freshman year of high school, and haven’t put it down.   I played in a few cover bands over the years.  I even fooled around a little with some solo and duo acoustic shows, but I was basically a “professional basement guitarist”.  When this opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance.  I've also had the opportunity to play as a hired gun in some other tribute bands (Elton John, Billy Joel, Rascal Flatts, etc.). 

My current project is my Pink Floyd Tribute, Dark Side of The Moon

Eric Szijj _ First Snow

Drums

ERIC SZIJJ

Eric has been playing drums since he was a toddler it all began in his parents’ home ransacking the kitchen cupboards & beating on all the pots & pans. When he was 5 his father gave him his own snare drum to play, from there his passion grew for drumming. He played all thru Middle & High school from concert, marching to jazz band & many local bands from Youngstown Ohio. He can play all kinds of styles of music ranging from Country to Rock. In 1998 he began his career as a Professional lighting designer where he would design the shows, set them up, run the lights then tore down each show for many major artists like Billy Ray Cyrus to Pat Benatar, & the list goes on.

In 2005 he join with MATD a local band, in Beloit Ohio & the Division Bell a pink Floyd tribute band which lead to The Show Must Go On until 2013. He is currently performing in a Green Day tribute band, GreenR DayZ.

"It is an honor & a privilege to be part of First Snow, & to work with such great musicians." - Eric Szijj

Joe Petrich _ First Snow

Keyboards

JOE PETRICH

Joe has been a consistent performing musician on the Northeast Ohio music scene since the early 90’s, performing in a wide variety of Metal, Hard Rock, Avant Garde & Jazz based bands.

Originally trained & taught, as a child, in classical piano, Joe made the transition to guitar very quickly in his teenage years. His appreciation & love for original compositions has led him to be the author & co-author of over 100 original songs throughout his musical career. Many of the bands that he has performed in have opened for a variety of national & international acts, & have placed him on the road regionally, performing throughout the northeastern United States.

In recent years, Joe returned to the keyboard, this time taking a contemporary jazz approach. He currently brings his multi-instrumentalist & multi-genre approach with his group, Something Involving A Monkey.

 

He also has filled in, on both bass & guitar, for various local & regional acts, thus constantly having himself challenged in learning new concepts, genres, styles & performances.

Kitreal Chin _ First Snow

Keyboards

KITRAEL CHIN

Kitrael Chin caught the piano bug at age 7.  Since then he has performed professionally in Singapore, Canada and the USA.  In addition to the piano, Kitrael enjoys playing the flute, trumpet, guitar and whacking away at his drum set.  Kitrael is a Board-Certified Music Therapist and currently runs Musical Fingers LLC, an Ohio music company for children with special needs. 

 

In his spare time, Kitrael is an avid snowboarder.  Kitrael joined First Snow as their keyboardist in 2013 and is proud to be part of this truly remarkable Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tribute Band.

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