Radio Lark

Radio Lark Returns to Stage with String Quartet

CANTON, Ohio – Youngstown-based rockers Radio Lark will return to live performance after a three-year hiatus and they’re not exactly easing into it.

The band will emerge from its pandemic-related hibernation with a Thursday, April 21, concert at Umstattd Hall in Canton, accompanied by a string quartet comprised of members of the Canton Symphony Orchestra.

The concert is part of the CSO’s Divergent Sounds series, which team a regional rock band with four of its classically trained musicians.

The Canton concert was originally scheduled before the pandemic and was postponed a couple of times.

Michelle Charles, the president of the Canton symphony, put the idea in motion a few years ago, after obtaining a list of regional rock bands from The Summit radio station of Akron that would fit in with the Divergent Sounds series.

Radio Lark has been rehearsing for the past few weeks to shake off the rust, said Chris Rutushin, singer and songwriter for the band.

The band was allowed to pick the four instruments for its concert, and decided on two violins, a viola and a cello. Radio Lark will rehearse with the quartet before the concert.

The band has a folky streak that occasionally breaks into a rock rage. It’s a style that lends itself to string accompaniment.

“We’ve had a string quartet in the studio with us before,” Rutushin said. “But we’ve never played live with one.”

Of late, Radio Lark has been spreading its wings in a world music direction. The band recently re-cut its 2018 song “March Hare” with a sitar.

Eric Murray, a friend of the band who hails from Youngstown but now lives in Romania cut the sitar track and sent it to the band. Munny Cat, the Los Angeles-based synth-pop duo of Youngstown natives Khaled Tabbara and Katianne Timko, supplied the backing vocals.

 “We like experimenting with different instruments, the world music angle,” Rutushin said.

For the Canton concert, Radio Lark will perform an hour’s worth of songs culled from its three  long-play releases: “The Firefly Sessions” (2012), “Stolen Oranges” (2015), and “The Wildflower” EP (2018), plus some singles it has release, including “St. Hazel” (2020).

“It will be songs that lend itself to that treatment,” Rutushin said.

The band worked on some new songs during the pandemic and hopes to get into a studio later this year to record them. The band’s not abandoning its style but is looking into a certain direction.

“We’re excited about our songs getting heavier,” Rutushin said. “’St. Hazel’ was a clue as to where we’re going. “

The Canton show is only one on the band’s schedule for now but Rutushin said he’d like to schedule a few more. Rick Deak, Scott Burns, Nathan Welch and Roger Lewis are the other members of the band.

The Canton Symphony Orchestra Divergent Sounds series concert with Radio Lark concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Umstattd Hall, the home of the Canton symphony, is located in McKinley Senior High School, 2331 17th St. NW.

Tickets are $20 and available at the door or online at https://www.cantonsymphony.org/divergent-sounds-series/

Pictured at top: Radio Lark is Scott Burns, Rick Deak, Chris Rutushin, Nathan Welch and Roger Lewis. (Photo by Mollie Crowe, Little Blackbird Photo)

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