UPDATE: Femmes Of Rock Perform Saturday

Femmes Of Rock To Perform Friday At Reg Lenna

Femmes of Rock is scheduled to perform Friday at 8 p.m. at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, 116 E. Third St. Submitted photo

When Nina DiGregorio was about 12 or 13, she began writing string quartet arrangements of rock songs.

She hasn’t stopped since.

When the Lewiston native graduated from the State University at Buffalo, she then moved to Las Vegas and began performing as a violinist with Wayne Newton’s orchestra, then she landed a gig performing with singer Toni Braxton’s show on the Las Vegas Strip. Soon after she formed the Bella Strings.

“And during that timeframe, I met a bunch of other violinists and string players. … And we kind of were all trying to start different projects where we weren’t just sidemen,” the classically-trained violinist said.

While in Las Vegas DiGregorio wrote more arrangements, became a Yamaha-endorsed artist, and started performing with some of her friends.

“We put together a group, and we called it Bella Electric Strings. And we just played like a string quartet with backing tracks to pop and rock music. And we did mostly corporate events in Las Vegas,” DiGregorio said.

She then caught a break.

While playing a corporate event, she said she was noticed by a man who happened to own a theater. He told her that he liked what he saw and wondered if she had a ticketed stage show.

“And of course I said, ‘Yes.’ And then I wrote the show later,” DiGregorio noted.

Then she founded Femmes of Rock.

“And so after that, we created the Femmes of Rock show, which is basically a super amped up version of what our corporate group is,” DiGregorio said. “We sing in the show. It’s four electric string players who sing with a live 3-piece backing band, and a synced up immersive video experience that goes with the show. It’s a full production show instead of the small corporate act.”

Since 2014, Femmes of Rock have been touring.

Femmes of Rock is scheduled to perform Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, 116 E. Third St.

The band plays unique arrangements featuring the music of Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, The Who and Van Halen.

She has a short video on Youtube where she plays “Eruption,” a short guitar piece made famous by Eddie Van Halen, from the 1978 album entitled Van Halen. Anyone who plays electric guitar has probably tried to play “Eruption.” It’s no easy task – even for technically skilled players.

In the video, she absolutely shreds playing a 7-string, fretted violin, and absolutely nails the tone, effects, use of hammer-ons, use of pull-offs, and finger tapping.

Getting “Eruption” together to play took more than a year.

“The whole process was like over a year. First I had to have the seven-string violin made because I wanted to play it in the same octave range that Eddie Van Halen played in, so I needed these extra strings so that I could play lower on the violin. Once I had the violin, I had to figure out how to make sound doing tapping,” DiGregorio said.

The violinist added that she has only seen one other violinist achieve finger tapping. Finger tapping involves using fingertips (no pick is used) from your picking hand and striking (tapping) down on the fretboard at a given point between two frets near the guitar body. The fretting hand continues to fret notes by using hammer-ons or pull-offs or a combination of the two. Hammer-ons are when a guitarist already has a finger on the fretboard behind a fret causing that note to sound, and then places another finger on the fretboard behind a fret causing the new note to sound. Pull-offs are opposite hammer-ons and sound is made by pulling one’s finger off of the fretboard.

“And so I practiced for months, and I had to get the right effects chain together. And then I was finally able to produce the tapping sound and play it fast enough. And that’s the point where we decided okay, it’s time to go film the music video now,” DiGregorio said.

DiGregorio also has performed with several artists including Michael Buble, Boz Scaggs, Peter Cetera, David Foster, Stevie Wonder, Cheap Trick, Smokey Robinson, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Jay Z., and Earth, Wind, and Fire. She also has a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Tickets can be purchased at the Reg Lenna box office, by phone at 716-484-7070 or online at reglenna.com/events/femmes-rock.

All proceeds to benefit Italian American Charity Golf Association cancer care initiatives at UPMC Hillman Cancer Treatment Center. The Italian American Charity Golf Association has recently announced a new commitment to purchase an additional 3-D mammography unit, for the Women’s Imaging Center at UPMC Chautauqua. Over the past 52 years, the Italian American Charity Golf Association has raised more than $1,600,000 toward the fight against cancer. To donate, visit iacharitygolf.com/donate.


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