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Wantagh Band Making Strides While Honoring Fallen Friend

Count To Ten signs to record label and debuts on iTunes and Youtube after forming in wake of Wantagh High School freshman Brittany Vega's tragic death last year.

In the wake of the of freshman Brittany Vega last year on Sunrise Highway, three of the teen’s close friends have tried to immortalize her through music.

Vega was a passionate musician and artist before after being struck by a Toyota Camry while crossing Sunrise Highway on the morning of Sept. 22, 2010. Soon after the tragedy, Vega’s close friends Jon Zaitz, Alex DeSalvo and Dan Wolf sought to ease their pain through writing poems and songs in her memory. Out of this spawned the band, Count To Ten.

"We miss her so incredibly bad and time has not made her death any easier but seeing this type of thing grow from her death helps put a smile instead of tears on my face," said Brittany's mother on how the band Count to Ten is helping to keep her daughter's memory alive.

What began as a very informal beginning quickly became much more serious for Count to Ten when Alex’s father, record producer/songwriter, Russ DeSalvo, who has worked with music legends Carlos Santana and Celine Dion, heard the group playing together and asked them to record a cover song at his studio. Directly following that session, Count To Ten returned to DeSalvo’s studio with an original song that blew the veteran producer away. It was at this point that DeSalvo started to work with Count To Ten as a solidified band.

Immediately impressed by the Wantagh teens' mature writing style, DeSalvo realized their potential.

“I’ve worked with a lot of very young artists, but I hadn’t seen that level of insight into their own direction and musical vision in any of the artists that preceded them,” DeSalvo said. “I found it compelling that they were writing on the level that they were.”

Shortly after meeting with DeSalvo, the band members, who range in age from 14 to 16-years old, were introduced to singer/songwriter, Tina Shafer, who led the New York Songwriter’s Circle for almost 20 years. Upon hearing their material, Shafer placed them in her Young Songwriter’s Circle and it was in this environment that Count To Ten started to make waves.

The band soon earned the number two and three spots (for “I Guess We'll Never Know” and “What I Need To Breathe,” respectively) on the SongCircleMusic.com website for more than five months. The group remains active in the New York Songwriter’s Circle community.

During the past month, Count To Ten has aligned with New York-based independent record label, Airgo Music, led by Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer, Jimmy Greco and vice president of A&R/artist management, Phil Schuster. Greco has worked with pop star Jennifer Lopez and guitar legend Santana while Schuster has experience working with LIVE and Shirley Manson.

Airgo Music is in the process of launching a grassroots marketing campaign around Count To Ten’s holiday single, “The Only Gift I Need Tonight.” However, the band of local Wantagh musicians is seeking the public’s help and is urging people to watch their music video and share it with your friends, family, and anyone who would enjoy a light and funny holiday tune.

The holiday single is available for purchase on iTunes. A Youtube video of the song has generated more than 2,000 views since being posted on Dec. 15.

“We want our music to help people and for it to evolve and grow while our fans take the journey with us,” the band said in a statement. “Brittany, an avid music lover herself, would no doubt appreciate the effort that these young men are exerting to keep her memory alive.”

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