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Fairbanks-based band Burnt Orange builds fanbase with its good-time grooves

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Posted: Friday, October 19, 2012 12:21 am

FAIRBANKS — Radio personality Vmax from KWLF 98.1 FM calls it the “hardest-working band in Fairbanks.” They call themselves Burnt Orange.

Once a week, Ted and Suzy Coronel’s living room turns into an energetic, playful and ever-sarcastic rock concert. “We support each other and heckle for fun,” 25-year-old drummer Jana Malingowski said.

Burnt Orange is a local band that started in early summer of 2011 with the short-term goal of playing at the Tanana Valley State Fair. “After the fair, everyone had so much fun and great chemistry, that Burnt Orange was formed and the rest is sort of history,” band manager Suzy Coronel said.

Their first official gig was last October, but by now they have performed more than 50 times, primarily in bars, but also in weddings, parades and festivals. On any given Saturday night, chances are you’ll find them rocking somewhere. “We’ll play anywhere if they let us,” Malingowski said.

The six-person band practices once per week, working to fine-tune each song and morph it as necessary. “We don’t make good music by happenstance, we work at it hard,” keyboard player Larry Fifer said.

The musicians have all played professionally in other bands, though some are just getting back into the music world. Vocalist and guitarist Angela Wright hadn’t been in a band for 10 years when Fifer convinced her to join. “I was busy being a single mom,” she said.

With diverse backgrounds and interests, the band finds constant communication important. “It’s such a group effort and we’re very diplomatic,” Ted Coronel, the band’s founder, said. “We vote on the songs we do, and everybody tries to involve everybody so someone’s not off in the corner.”

The band plays a little of everything but considers rock its primary genre. “Most people want to hear covers in the party atmosphere, so we’ve got to cater to that,” Malingowski said.

More important than choosing a specific genre, they try to keep the music entertaining and danceable. “It’s fun, especially when the crowd is energetic, and we feed off that energy,” Wright said. “Except when they get really excited and crash into us.”

Burnt Orange won first place in the rock category of a Battle of the Bands contest hosted at Fort Wainwright this past summer, and members attribute it to polishing during practices.

“They really are the hardest-working band in Fairbanks, I think,” manager Suzy Coronel said, “and it shows in their music.”

About the band

• Ted Coronel — lead guitar, band leader/founder, vocalist

• Dave Partee — bass, vocals, music arranger

• Joy Coon — vocalist, percussion

• Angela Wright — vocalist, lead and rhythm guitar, percussion

• Jana Malingowski — drums, percussion

• Larry Fifer — keys, vocals

• Suzy Coronel — band manager

Check them out

Want to see Burnt Orange in person? The band is performing from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday at The Marlin, 3412 College Road, and from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Oct. 27 at The Big I, 122 Turner Street. Future gigs will be listed in the Latitude 65 event calendar.

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