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Duo performs timeless Simon & Garfunkel tunes

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Antonio Gatto (left) and Jay Hitt, both from Pittsburgh, will perform their Simon & Garfunkel tribute show at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 22 at The Oaks Theater, Oakmont.

Even after Paul Simon finishes his current farewell tour, Pittsburgh performers Jay Hitt and Antonio Gatto will be keeping his and former partner Art Garfunkel’s music alive with their tribute shows.

The duo has been singing Simon & Garfunkel tunes together for 13 years, aside from the work they each do on their own as solo artists.

They will be performing their tribute concert on Sept. 22 at the Oaks Theater in Oakmont.

It was Gatto who came up with the idea for the act. He said he suggested it because he wasn’t aware of any other such duos performing Simon & Garfunkel’s songs.

Timless music

“Their music is absolutely timeless and I felt with all of the tributes being done, somebody needs to step up and do this,” Gatto said.

He had met Hitt at Nemacolin Woodlands, where they were doing separate shows.

“He had such a soft tenor voice, and I thought he would be perfect to team up with to put the act together,” Gatto says. “I approached him about it a couple of weeks later and he really liked the idea, too. Shortly after, we started rehearsing and put it together in about a month.”

Energy and emotions

Hitt said they’ve worked on maintaining the energy and emotions of the songs with two guitars and vocals.

“There’s a bit of a gap in Antonio’s and my ages,” he says. “I grew up listening to Simon & Garfunkel, so when Antonio suggested we do a tribute, I already knew the songs. Antonio had to learn them all. The folk music of the Sixties was a big part of my becoming a performing musician and writer.”

Hitt has written commercial music for radio advertising and appears regularly on “The Saturday Light Brigade,” a syndicated family-oriented radio program originating from Carnegie Mellon University on WRCT FM.

Since 1999, he also has frequently performed on “His Place,” an internationally broadcast program on Christian Television (CTV).

Gatto has performed in musical reviews, musical theater shows, operas and bands. He has worked for Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Opera, Prime Stage Theater, The Theatre Factory and Latshaw Productions.

In 2014, Hitt performed in the musical, “Ring Of Fire,” also for CLO, and in 2016, he was in the band for the show, “The Spitfire Grill,” at New Hazlett Theatre in Pittsburgh.

They both played guitar for a CLO production of “Always Patsy Cline.”

Gatto says their Simon & Garfunkel show is nostalgic and they do their best to make the songs sound as close to the original as possible.

“We’re very big on keeping the harmonies and guitar work the same as people are used to hearing,” he says. “We’d like to think that when people leave the show, they say to themselves, ‘Wow, it was so good to hear that song again … I haven’t heard it in years.’”

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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