Sammy Rae & The Friends to perform at Westcott Theater with Sarah Gross


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Sarah Gross has been a Sammy Rae & The Friends fan since her freshman year at Syracuse University. She’s covered their songs at past concerts and arranged some of the band’s songs for her a cappella band Main Squeeze – but this weekend, she’ll be opening for the band.

“She’s such a great source of inspiration and musical influence for me, so being able to open up for her besides being able to watch her play is surreal,” Gross said.

Sammy Rae & The Friends are scheduled to perform at the Westcott Theater on Sunday, as the band tour for their latest EP “Let’s Throw a Party”. Gross, the opener and a senior from the League will accompany the group. The band’s EP is more than just a title, but a mantra for the band’s concerts, Sammy Rae said in an email.

Since the pandemic, when many musicians wrote music to help cope with the changing environment, Sammy Rae & The Friends didn’t want to give up on an EP that would keep people in this dark place, Rae said.


“My hope is that ‘LTAP’ gives our audience a reason to dance and celebrate what lies ahead. The song “Let’s Throw a Party! “Itself is about laughing and facing time, chaos and aging with grace and humility,” said Rae.

Although the group is generally classified as alternative, their songs pay homage to the indie, R&B and soul genres. Rae said it can be difficult to choose just one genre since the group is made up of people from different musical backgrounds, so it’s easier to mix them all together than to try to get around that.

“What I think is the most consistent in the sound of the band is that the only consistency is my voice and the instruments you hear every time, but we enjoy when we all play what we play best, too. as hard as we can, all in one room, ”Rae said.

The complete group consists of eight pieces: two instruments in a rhythm section, two instruments in a brass section, keyboards and two backing vocals, all conducted by Rae, the conductor and singer-songwriter. During the pandemic, the group gained popularity, Rae said. Fan engagement has increased, with the group now boasting over 57,000 Instagram followers.

Sammy Rae & The Friends bring a lot of energy and movement to the stage during their performances, with the band members wearing colorful and sparkly outfits. Before the vibrant outfits and nonstop dancing at performances, the arrangements are gradually falling into place, Rae said. She knew she wanted the band’s concerts to be dynamic and visually compelling.

Rae has a background in theater and is delighted that audience members who share this experience experience a vibrant show from Sammy Rae & The Friends now that the group is on tour.

“My hope is that what they experience at a live performance is partly a play about joy, a powerful musical experience, a mixer for like-minded people in every city, a safe space to express the crowd emotions and a church to rock and roll, ”said Rae.

Gross will release an EP titled “The Riversides” on Friday, following on from his debut album “Songs from the Passenger Seat”. Since the EP is coming out the same weekend, Gross said audiences can expect to hear all of the new songs as well as unreleased ones.

With a buzz on campus surrounding Gross’s EP release, many SU students are very excited to see what comes next for her.

“I’m super excited to hear her new EP performed live for the first time this weekend,” said Maya Abrams, a graduate student of the League. “Having worked with her in the past, she is such a great person as a musician.”

Gross can’t wait to perform, as spending the past two years directing the music of Main Squeeze has helped her find her own direction when it comes to her music, she said.

“It’s all about making creative decisions and making sure you create a welcoming and inclusive space for those you make music with,” Gross said.

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