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Our Story

Neil Letendre

Rhode Island native Neil Letendre is a highly sought after R&B/Pop/Gospel singer and songwriter who has performed with The Free Downloads as its male lead vocalist since the band's inception. Born in Central Falls, RI, Neil took an interest in performing at a very young age, spending much of his time at home singing along to his favorite records. After earning a bachelor's degree in Music Education at Rhode Island College, Neil has played many roles in the music industry, from performer, songwriter, and producer, to educator, vocal coach, and studio engineer. Neil has opened for major label artists such as Patti LaBelle, Trey Songz, J. Holiday, Eric Darius, Cece Peniston, and Lisa Fischer (Rolling Stones). In 2003, Neil was blessed with the opportunity to perform at Oscar nominated actress Viola Davis' wedding, as she selected him to sing at the ceremony. Neil has worked with artists and engineers such as Grammy winning Gospel singing group Trinity 5:7, Grammy nominated singer Blu Cantrell, singer Brooke Hogan, Making The Band singer Donnie Klang and Grammy winning engineer Ken Lewis. Neil continues to write his own music, which can be found on music download and streaming platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.

Sheree Dunwell

Sheree is an award-winning vocalist from Boston, Massachusetts. She began singing at the age of 16 after being offered a scholarship from the Handel & Haydn Society to study voice at the New England Conservatory Preparatory Program. After a year of formal training, she went on to pursue a degree in music at Carnegie Mellon University where she earned her BFA in Vocal Performance in 2007. During her tenure there, she performed lead roles in a number of shows including: A Chorus Line, A Little Night Music, Little Shop of Horrors and Handel's Alcina. She was also one of three vocalists selected to perform with Michael Feinstein and the Pittsburgh Pops in 2007. Upon returning to Boston in 2008, Sheree began performing with The Free Downloads and has been performing in the New England area since then. In 2013, she won the title of North Shore Star, a vocal competition conducted by the North Shore Music Theater, and more recently was named its 2015 Champion after competing against past North Shore Star winners. In April of 2015, she earned a spot as a championship finalist on Community Auditions: Star of the Day. When not performing, Sheree is usually volunteering and training for marathons. She's run the past five consecutive Boston Marathons for The Mass Mentoring Partnership raising more than $65,000 for kids in need.

Marc Trachtenberg

Since his first piano lesson when he was 7, Marc has never stopped playing the keys. Middle school rock bands led to high school jazz ensembles led to college jam bands, where he received his B.S. in Music Education from N.Y.U. There he studied and played with some of the best music professionals in New York City. Since then, Marc has gone on to perform with Jay and the Americans, The Blues Brothers (Aykroyd & Jim Belushi), New York cover band, The Tremors, and recording artists including film/TV composer and singer/songwriter PT Walkley. Marc has composed and performed for television and web (Gillette, Ad Council, Hasbro, Team Umizoomi). He moved to Rhode Island in 2010 with his family and continues his musical endeavors. Here he has worked with Miss Wensday & The Cotillions, Rory & The Blues Hounds, and jazz vocalist Jan Schmidt. But that's just at night. By day, Trachtenberg performs with Rock-a-Baby, a music class for infants and toddlers. He created the company in New York, and then brought it to Rhode Island. They now have two CDs, a children's book, they perform at birthday parties and concerts, and hold weekly classes throughout the year.

Greg Takemoto

Greg Takemoto has been playing saxophone for 27 years, since he was 9 years old. Before moving to RI, Greg lived in Sacramento California and attended Chico State University with a focus on Music Performance (saxophone). He then toured for a couple years with several funk and groove bands, opening up for bands such as Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Robert Walters 20th Century Congress, The Slip and Vinyl. He also shared concert bills with such notable bands as Leftover Salmon, Galactic, Ozomatli, Spearhead and Widespread panic at the Mountain Air, Cascade, and High Sierra Music Festivals. In 2003 Greg moved to the east coast to study saxophone with world renowned saxophonist Greg Abate.

Greg Takemoto now plays gigs regularly with local musicians, and composes and performs with his original jazz/fusion band Kyoshii . He also teaches at the RI Philharmonic Music School, More than Music (a music school in southern R.I.), and directs the band at Our Lady of Mercy Middle School in East Greenwich RI.

John Wilson

John is an entirely self taught musician with a terrific ear for any style of music. Although his main instrument is Bass, he has played guitar and drums professionally and his unique vocal abilities allow The Free Downloads to cover even more musical territory than they already do. In the late 1980's John was the frontman and composer for the band Eddie's Haircut, a multi genre group that produced multiple full length albums and was regionally successful in the Key West/Tampa Florida music scenes. He later went on to play bass and compose with the Soukous band Orchestra Matata. After moving to New England in 2000, John started the experimental groove band Bixit which focused mainly on his compositions. When John is not playing with The Free Downloads, he is composing, building modifications for his guitars/amps, and playing with fellow TFD bandmates G. Leonard and R. Pearlman in their band 'The Geo Trio'.

George Leonard III

George has been the guitarist and bandleader of The Free Downloads since 2009. He is also a full time guitar instructor at the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School, Rhode Island College, and White's Music Education Center. A graduate of the Berklee College Of Music, George began his professional music career as an orchestra guitarist with Royal Caribbean International. It was during his brief tenure with RCI that George got a closeup look at the hospitality industry and realized that he wanted to eventually start his own enterprise that combined great music with event planning and providing excellent service.

When he is not working with The Free Downloads, George performs with Kyoshii, Trenton Street Collaborative, Georgie Porgie & The Crybabies (recently inducted into the RI Music Hall Of Fame), Chuck Rejto's Gypsy Nights, and his original band The Geo Trio.

Riccardo Pearlman

Born in Naples, Riccardo had his first taste of American pop music listening to artists like Steely Dan and Aretha Franklin on AM radio in the late 70's. At 13 he started playing drums but was self taught until 22 at which time he left his pursuit in medical illustration at Boston University to study music more seriously. Fortunately, he was already in the neighborhood of the drummer who mentored many of his heroes. He auditioned and was accepted to study with world renowned instructor Gary Chaffee (Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Smith, Marvin Smith). Riccardo continued under Gary's tutelage for 7 years while sharing the stage with such notables as The Drifters, The Platters, and jazz great Dr Lonnie Smith. Riccardo's unique style was simultaneously shaped by Gary's Jazz and Fusion techniques as well as his love for African and Cuban music. Today, Riccardo is putting his technique and love of multi genre music to use with The Free Downloads, featuring a one of a kind array of electronic and acoustic drums. When not performing with the Free Downloads, Riccardo enjoys playing with local jazz artists in Boston and Rhode Island, and getting in over his head working on his motorcycle.


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