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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC community director doubles as musician

Jack Vitaliz, community director of the Olde Campus Lower Quad Community at UNC-Chapel Hill, sings vocals for a local '50s tribute band.
Jack Vitaliz, community director of the Olde Campus Lower Quad Community at UNC-Chapel Hill, sings vocals for a local '50s tribute band.

He’s community director of the Olde Campus Lower Quad Community at UNC by day and a rock star by night. Vitaliz is a member of the ‘50s tribute band, Your Everyday Buddy.

The band performs hit songs while impersonating the famous performers Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, and will make its performance debut at this weekend’s Festifall Arts Festival on the Live and Local Stage.

Durham native Kevin Baker started the band just four months ago after creating his own Holly impersonation show for a church event in Pinehurst. Baker said he studied Buddy’s mannerisms, listened to his music and went costume shopping at vintage stores to perfect the image.

“It ended up being a bigger hit then I anticipated it to be,” Baker said.

Baker and Vitaliz met while playing for their church’s worship band and a few months later started their own cover band, with Vitaliz impersonating Valens alongside Baker’s Holly.

Vitaliz studied theatre and music at James Madison University and sang in a cappella groups throughout his college career. Later he got his masters in student affairs at Regent University and has been working at UNC since January.

“Once (Baker) does his hair up, dresses like him and puts the glasses on, he’s pretty convincingly Buddy Holly, and I’m pretty convincingly Ritchie Valens,” Vitaliz said.

Vitaliz said he didn’t know many of Valens’ songs other than “La Bamba” before he joined the band. He studied movies, music and any other information he could find to learn more about the musician.

“He was such a rock star, and I really appreciate the kind of music he was able to create, especially since he was only 17-years-old when he did all this,” Vitaliz said. “He is like the Justin Bieber of his time.”

Before the summer, Baker posted an ad on Craigslist to find other band members and ended up with an eight-piece band — including Carrboro drummer and Holly fan, Steve Dear, an Orange Water and Sewer Authority board member.

“If you listen to his music (and) compare it with what people were doing then, he was way ahead of his time — doing things that we now kind of consider standard,” Dear said. “(Buddy Holly’s) music to me is one of the greatest cultural projects to come out of the American 20th century.”

Some of the band’s favorite songs are “True Love Ways,” a love song by Holly, “Rock Around With Ollie Vee” and “That’ll Be the Day,” Holly’s biggest hit.

Vitaliz said the band is excited to show people what they’ve been practicing, and hopes their performance will open doors to future performances.

arts@dailytarheel.com

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