A Great Neck North alum comes home to perform

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A Great Neck North alum comes home to perform
Matthew Winthrop, in center, will be playing with his band Terrapin at the Great Neck House on Sunday, April 15. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Winthrop)

The last time Matthew Winthrop recalled playing out in Great Neck was when he was a teenager with hair down to his shoulders, playing behind Great Neck North High School.

Perry Dolgin and Matthew Winthrop, circa 1978, both graduated from Great Neck North in 1981. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Winthrop)
Matthew Winthrop and Perry Dolgin, circa 1978, both graduated from Great Neck North High School in 1981. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Winthrop)

“I haven’t played out in Great Neck since 1980,” Winthrop, who graduated from Great Neck North in 1981, said in an interview.

But now, 38 years later, Winthrop is returning to Great Neck to perform at the Great Neck House on April 15 with Terrapin, a Connecticut-based Grateful Dead tribute band founded in 2013.

The core three members of the group are lead guitar player Geoff Schneider, Paul Dunay on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Winthrop, the band’s keyboard player. Other members include JP Geoghegan on drums, Ric LuBell on bass guitar, and vocalist “Ams” Palmieri.

“It’s a kind of music that lends itself to study and dedication – pun intended,” Winthrop said of the Grateful Dead. “When we were thinking about the music to form this band around, it made sense.”

Since the group’s founding five years ago, Terrapin has played over 160 concerts in venues of hundreds of people. And while they “never play the same show ever,” in the spirit of the Grateful Dead, Winthrop said people could always expect an energetic performance.

“We put our own spin,” Winthrop said. “We are an eclectic, outgoing, aggressive group of guys. We play aggressive and we want people to get up and dance.”

Winthrop said his own musical days began in Great Neck.

He said he recalled playing a recital with his recorder at the North Shore Musical Center on the corner of Clover Drive and Middle Neck Road, for example, frequenting the Great Neck House and going to Nassau Coliseum to see Grateful Dead concerts with his friends.

Winthrop, in general, has been playing piano for around four decades, according to his online biography, playing classic and jazz piano by 9 years old. He also formed his first band in junior high school: The Bridge.

But for many years after Winthrop, a financial advisor for Aegis Capital, wasn’t involved in playing live music.

He started again only in 2010, playing for the Ship of Fools, before founding Terrapin with Schneider and Dunay in 2013, according to his online biography.

“From the first second, it was like playing with a long-lost family member. It just worked,” Winthrop said.

Ultimately, Winthrop said he hopes to see many familiar faces in the audience and return again to play at Steppingstone Park.

“It’s a treat,” Winthrop said. “It should be awesome.”

The concert will take place on Sunday, April 15 at 2 p.m. at the Great Neck House on 14 Arrandale Avenue. Admission to the Great Neck House requires a park card.

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