by Len Lear
Rich Posmontier, a longtime resident of Wyndmoor, who runs the Philadelphia area’s largest wedding alliance, has attended over 2,500 weddings over the past 42 years and countless other local events such as the Gathering The Chestnut Hill Community Association’s annual Black and White Gala fundraiser, would normally now be hosting its dizzying schedule of performances for the coming spring and summer.
Of course, this is not the case this year for the musician in his sixties. “As for the events that have been canceled,” he told us recently, “there are so far about five or six. I won’t know what May and June have in store for this. cancellations because everyone goes week to week, but we all take a big financial hit.
“Some of the weddings that are postponed will likely be postponed until the fall and winter, so there should be less financial damage. But the fundraising galas we booked have been canceled and will not take place until the usual time one year later.
“There is supposed to be a huge bailout for small businesses, and I hope they will think of performing artists as well. Artists and musicians, dancers and the like tend to make a living doing individual work, so sometimes this part of the economy gets overlooked. I would like to educate the community in general about the plight of all types of artists.
“Some musicians I know are getting very creative in the current situation. My nephew, Alex Posmontier, a very accomplished jazz pianist and son of my brother, Dave, also a renowned jazz pianist in the Philly area, put together a virtual concert every Tuesday evening from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Facebook live.
“I logged in last night and there were about 100 people watching. He had a virtual tip jar, so I hope he did at least what he would do while working at a club. But it is still a very difficult path for the musicians who play several times a week in restaurants and clubs which are now all closed.
Over the years, Rich has starred behind bold names in show biz such as Paul Anka, Steve Lawrence, Teddy Pendergrass, and Patti Page. How was it ? “It’s exhilarating to perform for hundreds or thousands of people in an audience, which happens when you perform behind a celebrity. But none of these artists, and this is pretty much universal, has any real contact with the musicians who support them.
“They don’t meet us; they don’t tell us anything, and if they’re really nice, they can at the end of the show thank us en masse for playing, but it’s not usual for there to be one-on-one meetings . We are just mercenaries!
Rich lives in Wyndmoor with his wife, Leigh Ann. Their son, Andrew, is a junior at Temple University studying computer science and math. “He does research and courses online from his apartment. I think for college age kids it’s not that big of a deal because they’re on their computer all the time anyway. But in a few weeks I think it might get old.
Rich’s band are due to perform for the Spring Arts Festival in Chestnut Hill on May 3, and he hopes the festival will still be held. He is also booked to perform for the Morris Arboretum Moonlight and Roses Gala on Friday, June 5, and for the CHCA Black and White Gala again in October. “It’s so far away that I hesitate to think about it,” said Rich. “Either everything will be fine by then or we will play the party with hazmat suits and gas masks!”
Rich started playing weddings professionally at the age of 15. He was much younger than all the other musicians, but his brother Dave helped him get into a band he played with at weddings and parties. Rich was able to join the Musicians’ Union and began receiving the union scale at the age of 16.
In his late teens and through his twenties, Rich toured the United States and Canada with an original rock band, performed in theater orchestras, and toured with pop stars like those mentioned previously. He also played on many disco records in the 1970s. “When I was working in the studio, mainly in New York, the backup musicians never got credits on the albums, but we were paid well!
When asked which superpower he would most like to have, Rich replied, “The one I would like to have would be the ability to bring all the musicians to the show an hour before the performance. They would all be prepared and dressed appropriately, in a good mood, and would have already parked their cars. But alas, this is only a dream!
For more information, visit richposmontiermusic.com. Len Lear can be contacted at [email protected]