On Thursday, Dec. 6, Dr. Kazimierz Brzozowski will take the stage in the St. Clair County Community College Fine Arts Theatre for two performances as part of the free Thursday Concert Series. But before the renowned classical pianist touches the keys, three SC4 students will perform classic holiday songs for the first — and maybe only — time together as The Temp Trio.
Desi Kuntz (double bass), Kristen Osko (alto saxophone) and Tim Ries (piano) took different paths to SC4, and they will likely go their separate ways when their time at the college is done. However, after meeting as work-study employees for SC4’s college and cultural relations department earlier this year, their impressive talents and shared passion for music brought them together as an ensemble for this special performance.
Born and raised in New York City, Kuntz, 25, attributes his eclectic musical interests to his surroundings growing up in a large, diverse city. Playing with groups all over New York since the age of 12, he has backed vocalists, played solo and done session work as an electric and upright bass player. He moved to Michigan in 2016 to be closer to family and study mechatronics and electrical engineering at SC4. “I’m always excited to play any chance I get,” Kuntz says. “You never know what new connections you’ll make, and this group is a great example of that.” In the fall, he plans to transfer to Wayne State University and enroll in their electrical engineering technology program.
Osko, 21, has been playing alto sax for 15 years, focusing on the instrument as a high school student at Landmark Academy in Kimball, Michigan. Her grandfather, a lifelong musician and her biggest musical influence, taught her guitar as a child and continued to nurture her artistic development throughout his life. Most recently, Osko has started learning the violin. “Music is like a universal language to me and a way to bring your community together,” Osko says. “It’s always been part of my life, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.” She plans to transfer to Oakland University in 2019 after completing degrees in liberal arts and general education at SC4, with the goal of becoming a music professor.
For Ries, 18, and his eight siblings, musicianship is a family tradition. His mom is an accomplished opera singer who has performed around the world, and his father was the lead singer in a rock band. “Everyone in my family sings except me, so that’s why I picked up the piano,” he says. Playing the piano has always been a hobby and personal passion, and he has spent the last 10 years honing his skills through private lessons and continued practice. “It’s definitely nice to fall back on music to relax after a long day in class or at work, so connecting with Desi and Kristen as coworkers and being able to play together has been really special,” Ries says. He has recently started showcasing his talents on campus and in the community, performing classical music at local venues and events. He is studying criminal justice at SC4 with the goal of working in federal law enforcement.
Watch The Temp Trio give their take on classic holiday tunes before Brzozowski’s performance on Thursday Dec. 6 as part of SC4’s Free Thursday Concert Series. The concert is free and open to the public, with shows at noon and 7 p.m.