Alumni Band Split Decision to Perform Live in Bridgeport, June 10

Alumni Band Split Decision to Perform Live in Bridgeport, June 10

Split Decision Alumni Bandmates

(l-r) Alumni bandmates Brian Machler '87, Pete Bongiorno '90, Kevin Kuryla '88, and Dennis O'Brien '88 in a recent Split Decision rehearsal session.

A true Stag Country original, the ’80s campus band Split Decision is reuniting for their first live gig in more than 30 years! Tickets to the 2022 Reunion Weekend performance are on sale now and available to the public.

Back in their late ’80s heyday, the original members of Fairfield University’s homegrown campus band Split Decision could never have imagined that (with the help of some very cool advanced technology) they’d be holding six months of virtual rehearsal sessions — from four different states — for a reunion gig in Stag Country more than three decades after graduation.

Thanks to the virtual platform Jamkazam — which allows them to practice in sync over the internet, the dedicated alumni bandmates are now back in their prime and Split Decision is ready to take the stage of the Park City Music Hall in Bridgeport, Conn., at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 10, 2022. Tickets are on sale now at parkcitymusichall.com.

As Dennis O’Brien ’88 recalls, Split Decision was formed after a chance encounter in 1986. O’Brien had snuck into Gonzaga Auditorium to play the piano and Brian Machler ’87 heard the music and suggested a collaboration. Along with Jeff “Buzz” Neuner ’87, the musicians melded what Machler described as “an electric alternative/new wave style with vocal harmony-based jam influences.”

O’Brien recruited Split Decision bandmates Kevin Kuryla ’88 (bass) and Liza Whalen ’87 (vocals) from his dorm, and before long Tom Fichera ’87 (drums), Peter Holland ’88 (saxophone), and Kevin Coghlan ’87 (keyboards) had joined the Oak Room rehearsal sessions. Their first gig was the 1986 FUSA Talent Show.

Along the way, the band picked up Mary (Guerin) Comerford ’88 (vocals) and Pete Bongiorno ’90 (drums). Split Decision made Fairfield history as the band that "jammed" at the inaugural Clam Jam at Fairfield Beach in 1987, and as the first band to ever play at The Seagrape. Their standing bi-weekly gigs at the former Master’s Sports Café in Westport drew throngs of loyal fans, as did regular on-campus performances at parties and in the StagHer Inn.

O’Brien joked that the Park City Music Hall performance will include a mix of favorites from their late ’80s college set lists, but also “at least one original song, and some more recent tunes to show we haven't had our collective heads in the sand for the last few decades!”

Six members of the band performing at the Bridgeport show on Friday, June 10, include:

  • English major Dennis O’Brien ’88 (guitar/lead vocals), of Washington, D.C., owner of a restaurant group called RedRocks Neapolitan Bistro with locations in D.C. and Northern Virginia.
  • Biology major Brian Machler ’87, MD (guitar/keyboards/vocals), a dermatologist who lives and practices in Florham Park, N.J., and is married to Eileen (Chang) Machler ’87.
  • Business major Kevin Kuryla ’88 (bass guitar), an investment banker at UBS in New York City who coaches youth lacrosse and hockey in Darien, Conn., where he lives with his wife and four kids.  
  • English major Mary (Guerin) Comerford ’88 (vocals), who graduated from Fordham Law School and works as a trusts and real estate attorney in Rye, N.Y.
  • Biology and English double-major Peter Bongiorno ’90, ND, LAc (drums, background vocals), a graduate of naturopathic medical school who practices holistic medicine with a focus on mental health in New York City and Long Island.
  • History major and Valedictorian Pete Holland ’88 (saxophone), who works at Raytheon Technologies and lives in West Hartford, Conn. with his wife Kristine (Potensky) Holland ’88 and their three children, including Nora Holland '19.

Tickets for the Split Decision reunion gig on Friday, June 10, are $13 and available online at parkcitymusichall.com. The band will take the stage at the Park City Music Hall, 2926 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport at 9 p.m. The Park City’s hottest new music venue holds 300 and tickets are selling fast — reserve yours today!

Split Decision: Reunion Gig

Date: Friday, June 10, 2022
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Park City Music Hall
2926 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, Conn.

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Last modified: 05-13-22 11:54 AM

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