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Andrew Adoranti, Austin Di PietroUWindsor alumni Andrew Adoranti and Austin Di Pietro wrote a song in the finals of CBC's Searchlight musical talent competition.

Windsor duo seeking CBC Searchlight spotlight

UWindsor alumni Austin Di Pietro (BMus 2018) and Andrew Adoranti (BASc 2021) are finalists in a national talent search sponsored by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The musical duo and songwriters known as “The Bishop Boys” and their song Dark Days have made it into the Top 100 in CBC's Searchlight competition.

The competition began with 2,400 applicants and was narrowed to the top 100 on June 2.

Fans have until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8, to vote for their favourite band — and can vote once each day.

“The Searchlight Top 100 announcement was a huge surprise to both of us,” says Di Pietro. “The fact that our nomination came from the CBC Music producers themselves (and not the popular vote), makes it even more of an accomplishment for us, personally.”

Adoranti says the band almost didn’t submit an entry.

“We had tossed around the idea for a few days before making a last-minute decision to throw our hat in the ring,” he says.

The choice of song was a no-brainer for the duo. Their most recent single, Dark Days was written back in the first lockdown in May 2020 and features a pandemic-inspired music video and lyrics.

“Out of all our songs, we felt that this song's message would resonate with the most people,” says Adoranti.

Making music during a pandemic has definitely had its challenges. They weren't even allowed to be in the same room for much of the writing process.

“We were sending phone voice clips back and forth to each other for a few weeks before the original gathering limits were eased and we could finally get together to finalize the song structure and lyrics,” says Di Pietro.

The pandemic also limited their ability to work with musicians in the studio and a film crew on the video, so they actually ended up doing much of the recording and filming themselves. It hasn't been all bad, though. While working on the music video, they actually ended up learning a lot about filmmaking, videography, and directing. Watch it here.

The pair have been jamming and writing songs together since high school. At UWindsor, Di Pietro majored in music (trumpet), while Adoranti took jazz piano and accompanying as electives, while majoring in electrical engineering. They are perhaps best known as core players of the Windsor jazz ensemble the Coffee House Combo. Prior to the pandemic, the group held the longest-running residency at the nationally acclaimed music venue Phog Lounge.

The Bishop Boys emerged in 2018, as a 10-piece band fronted by the duo, immediately selling out venues and showcasing at festivals across the Windsor-Essex region.

Besides Di Pietro and Adoranti, the band features Natalie Culmone, vocals; Johnathan Kosty, lead guitar; Alex Leite, bass; Vanessa Harnish, drums; Derek Impens, auxiliary percussion and guitars; Sebastian Bachmeier, alto sax; Kelly Hoppe, tenor sax; and Matthew Lepain, trumpet.

—Susan McKee