Next ‘Thomasville Live’ to feature Hewlett Anderson Duo

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Arts for the Community at Thomas University (ACTU) will present a “Thomasville Live” performance at noon Friday, May 22, featuring the Emmy-award winning, Pittsburgh-based Hewlett Anderson Duo at

“Thomasville Live” is a partnership with the Thomasville Center for the Arts and is sponsored in part by the Thomasville Entertainment Foundation. The program will feature interviews, educational content about the instruments and music, and performances of music by the likes of Billy Joel, Elton John and the Beatles.

Pete Hewlett is a world-class singer who happens to make Pittsburgh his home. He has toured and recorded with Billy Joel, Elton John, Carly Simon, Joe Jackson, Julian Lennon, Amy Grant, and Eric Carmen.

Hewlett got his first recording contract at the age of 16.  His band Peter’s Pipers won a local Battle of the Bands contest, which sent them on to the national finals. They came in sixth place and won a deal with Phillips Mercury Records.

In the early ’70s, Hewlett joined Sweet Lightning, a local Pittsburgh group and signed a contract with RCA Records. The band recorded an LP and a few singles that had some regional success. In the mid-’70s, Hewlett moved to Cleveland, where he recorded with Eric Carmen of the Raspberries, and then joined the Euclid Beach Band.

The real turning point came a few years later when Hewlett’s former Sweet Lightning bandmate Sid McGinnis (David Letterman’s guitarist) recommended him to Carly Simon who was looking for a new back-up singer/guitarist. Hewlett got the job, moved to New York, recorded “Come Upstairs” and headed out on tour with Simon. It was during this time in New York that Hewlett joined drummer Michael Shrieve (Santana) and formed Novo Combo.  They were signed to Polygram and released two albums. 

Music reviewer George Thatcher said, “The songs which stand out for me are the ones in which Pete Hewlett sings.” 

Novo Combo toured with The Who, Cheap Trick, Greg Lake, and performed at the 1981 Montreux Jazz Festival.

Hewlett joined Billy Joel for the “Innocent Man”” (1984) and “The Bridge” world tours. Then came the tour that made international news: Billy Joel would bring a fully staged rock production to the Soviet Union as part of the Reagan-Gorbachev 1987 Geneva summit. Hewlett performed with Joel in Moscow and Leningrad, making history as part of the first live rock radio broadcast in the Soviet Union, which was also simulcast in the United States. The live double-album, “Kohuept” (“In Concert” in English) chronicled the trip.

Back in the U.S., Hewlett recorded the “Starlight Express” Broadway soundtrack with Andrew Lloyd Weber, Joe Jackson’s “Big World” recording and U.S. Concert Tour, Julian Lennon’s “Secret Value of Day Dreaming” album, and Amy Grant’s 1997 World Leader Summit performance.

Hewlett won an Emmy Award in 2007 as host/performer of PBS affiliate WQED’s “Live From Studio A.”

In July 2008, Hewlett reconnected with Billy Joel for the “The Last Play at Shea” concerts performing with Tony Bennett, John Mayer, Roger Daltrey, Garth Brooks, Don Henley, John Mellencamp, Steven Tyler and Sir Paul McCartney.

Scott Anderson is an Emmy Award-winning composer, music director, producer, and one of the Pittsburgh region’s most sought-after keyboard players.

Anderson received an Emmy Award in 2006 for his work composing the score for the documentary “From Pittsburgh to Poland: Lessons from The Holocaust.” In 2007 he won both an Emmy and a Telly award for his work as music director and co-producer of “Live From Studio A: American Standards.”

Anderson was also nominated for Emmy awards in 2003 and 2004 for his work as music director of WQED’s “Live From Studio A” television show and again in 2010 for music contributed to the film “In Service,” a joint production of Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Bricolage. He was the organist for the Pittsburgh Penguins and a member of the Penguin’s house band, The Blue Line Band, for three years.

Anderson’s musical diversity is what propelled him to preferred status as a keyboard player for the region’s top performers, including Joe Negri, Maureen Budway, H.B. Bennett, Eric DeFade, Lisa Bleil, Pete Hewlett, Chizmo Charles, Billy Price, Kenny Blake and Benny Benack. He can go from jazz to big band to straight-ahead rock and roll without missing a beat.

Anderson was the keyboardist and musical director of the Vogues from 1989 to 1995. He’s played with a number of national artists including the Temptations, the Drifters, Bo Diddley, Jackie Evancho, Kristen Chenoweth, the Coasters, Ronnie Specter, Lou Christie, Leslie Gore, the Shirelles, Little Anthony, Sam Moore (Sam & Dave), Peter Noone, Barbara Lewis, Frankie Ford, Len Barry, Bryan Hyland, Tommy Roe, the Crystals, and Jay and the Americans.

Anderson is a graduate of the Duquesne University School of Music. While he was at Duquesne, he performed with some top national jazz artists, including Claudio Roditi, Jerry Niewood and Marvin Stamm.

Anderson’s current projects include playing keyboards, singing and writing songs for the Hewlett-Anderson Duo. He is also the keyboardist for Cityscape.

The “Thomasville Live” livestream will be available at noon Friday at  Previous “Thomasville Live” videos are also available here. No Facebook account is required to view.

Musicians Scott Anderson and Pete Hewlett will perform on “Thomasville Live” at noon Friday, May 22.

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