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Band spotlight: The Vaguely Familiar Acoustic Guitar Duo

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 3:23 p.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
The Vaguely Familiar Acoustic Guitar Duo with Christina (Tina) L. Leonteos of Carpentersville and Theodore (Ted) T. Hopf of Lake in the Hills.

What is the band’s name and how did it get that name?

The band’s name, The Vaguely Familiar Acoustic Guitar Duo, was chosen because the duo plays instrumental renditions of popular songs that are not exact copies but rather will be ‘vaguely familiar’ to their audiences. Initially, they went by Vaguely Familiar, but it quickly became apparent that they required more detail to set them apart from other bands. Their fans know them simply as Vaguely Familiar, but the band’s full name is The Vaguely Familiar Acoustic Guitar Duo.

Who are the members (full names) and what towns are they from?

The duo consists of Christina L. Leonteos (Tina Leonteos) from Carpentersville and Theodore T. Hopf (Ted Hopf) from Lake in the Hills.

What instruments does each of the band members play?

Both Tina and Ted play amplified acoustic guitars. They’re exclusively an instrumental act.

How did the band get started?

Tina and Ted, both guitar instructors, met by playing worship music in a local church in 2005. Their nine-year collaborative effort has marshaled a vast collection of creatively arranged renderings of popular songs. In the summer of 2012, they decided to form this current musical partnership. They’ve been busy; by the end of 2014 they will have completed more than 75 performances.

Describe the music the band plays:

The duo plays a unique blend of atmospheric, stimulating and intricate acoustic renderings of popular radio-friendly songs from the ’60s through today.

What makes this act different?

The duo’s songs have been arranged to be recognizable without vocals so that their audiences have fun guessing what song they’re playing, like a nostalgic ‘name that song’ trivia game. This band is entertaining for audiences who want to be engaged, but don’t want to be overwhelmed by an act with a lot of attitude. Audience members can expect to easily have a conversation with each other without shouting. The duo is especially popular at events or venues where live music is intended to add a great vibe without putting on a huge show. While most of their performances have been at restaurants, lounges and pubs, they are also uniquely suited for ceremonial services, banquets, wine tastings, retirement communities and charity fundraisers.

Who are the band’s three biggest influences?

It’s very difficult for the duo to choose only three, but if they had to, they would be Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Beatles.

Why should people come see this band (in 50 words or less)?

It’s challenging for an acoustic duo to create enough sound to fill a space; Vaguely Familiar manages nicely. Their efforts shine through in the way their music is arranged and presented. Played acoustically, pop and rock songs can sound very romantic.

What is the best thing about being a musician?

Once a painter or sculptor puts down his or her tools, they’re finished and they might never meet the people who’ll eventually enjoy their efforts. Musicians are able to craft an emotional artistic statement in the moment and share it with everyone present. It’s this live give and take between the performer and the audience that makes being a musician so wonderful.

Pick one: Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley?

Chuck Berry.

Pick one: Michael Jackson or Madonna?

Michael Jackson.

What’s the strangest thing that has happened to this band while performing?

The duo has been fortunate to perform at several historic, established venues that are appointed with various rustic antiques and warm atmospheric lighting (which suits their music perfectly). Without going into explicit detail, there are times when the duo feels these venues might have a little ‘haunting’ going on. That’s pretty strange, is it not?

Where can fans find out more information about this band (official website, Facebook, etc.)?

On the web: http://vaguelyfamiliar.yolasite.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vfduo.

How can people book this band?

To book The Vaguely Familiar Acoustic Guitar Duo, please call Ted at 224-330-8103 (email tthopf@comcast.net) or Tina at 847-313-5806 (email tleonte@att.net).

List the band’s upcoming performances.

The following performances take place at The Village Squire Restaurant in West Dundee:

• 8 to midnight Aug. 22, Aug. 29, Sept. 5, Sept. 12 and Sept. 19

• 4 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12, Oct. 19 and Oct. 26

The following performances take place at The Village Squire Restaurant in South Elgin:

• 4:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 17, Aug. 24, Aug. 31, Sept. 7, Sept. 21

• 8 to midnight Oct. 10, Oct. 17, Oct. 24 and Oct. 31

The following performances take place at The Breakers Restaurant in Crystal Lake:

• 7 to 10 p.m. Nov. 6 and Dec. 4.

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