Like each of it's members, the story of The Occasionalists is a quirky one. On a hot July night in 2013, Mark Vincent, invited three of his friends, John Allgood, John Marshall and Barry Stelboum (along with a few other musician friends) over to his home to help celebrate his birthday by playing some songs while his other guests would join us, unrehearsed, to sing. Basically, live band karaoke. We drank, we played and that was it.
About a year later, another birthday, another show and, again, a few months later, another show (you know, “Occasionally”) The third time was the charm as the bar manager said, "That was amazing! Can you guys come back and do that for our usual crowd? You'll pack 'em in!" We looked at each other, shrugged and said "Why not?” The rest, as they say, is history. Turns out, we did pack 'em in.
The band started to play regular live karaoke gigs all around Brooklyn and continued to play private parties. We were having a blast.
But, then...then November 8th, 2016 happened and darkness descended. Undeterred, the band started doing benefit shows for causes important to the band and which were under assault by the Trump administration. And, thus, Live Karaoke for the Resistance was born! In 2017 alone, the band raised nearly $20,000 for organizations supporting women's rights, immigration rights, education, gun control, the environment, the arts and various LGBTQ causes. Over the last five years, we've raised about $50,000 for non-proifts of all types.
Through our events, we've been asked to play at many community events and were invited to headline an event at the Prospect Park Bandshell! You know, our 15 minutes (literally) of fame. We've also been honored to be part of The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music's "Open Stages" benefit (although "The Occasionalists" and "Conservatory of Music" are two things we'd never thought we'd hear in one sentence).
While a tiny (tiny) bit of normalcy has now returned to the White House (but not, sadly, the world), the band is still playing benefit show for important causes. However, don’t get us wrong, The Occasionalists will gladly take your money if you want us to play your next wedding, bar mitzvah or block party.