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Karl van der Velden and two bandmates stroll across Seattle’s First Avenue, chatting over traffic noise as they catch up on what’s been happening in the two months since they last gathered. Time is short – they only have an hour for a noonday practice session. But there’s no time wasted on getting to their practice space. It’s directly across the street from #starbucks headquarters, where they all work. Hence the group’s name – #thebandacrossthestreet.
The three have worked with a variety of drummers, including a couple of #starbucks vice presidents who, they complain lightheartedly, are generally too busy to put in much time rehearsing. So, as a trio, they work through a series of covers, “Blue Light Boogie,” an old R&B standard, leading into the Beatles’ “Things We Said Today.” Boasting that they “peeled the paint off the walls” when they started out nearly a decade ago, they’re now more understated, taking pride in finding a fresh approach to #offbeat material.
Bassist Ben Heege, keyboardist/accordionist David Johnson and van der Velden have been playing since they were teenagers. They also have a combined 46 years of #starbucks corporate experience.
For them and other #starbucks partners around the world, the combination of income, benefits and the accommodating flexibility the company provides jibes nicely with a musician’s lifestyle, whether they’re veterans like the members of #thebandacrossthestreet, fulltime musicians who launched their careers by balancing days in #starbucks cafes with nights in the clubs, or upstarts currently working as baristas.
More information on the press release
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