above: Charlie Mangold at one of his favorite seats in the house
Photography by Inga
A day without music is unfathomable for Charlie Mangold. He’s one of the lucky musicians who has been able to craft his life so that he’s not only playing and listening to music, but also encouraging and teaching others to embrace this love and make it their own.
With his business partner, Mike Devaney, these two Fairfield County natives have recently opened Vega Music, a one-of-a-kind environment providing recording, mixing, mastering, original music production, songwriting, podcasts, voiceovers and college portfolios right in the heart of downtown Greenwich.
“As soon as I walked up the stairs, I knew this was the perfect place for Vega,” he says. “It’s the space where Allegra Dance once was and where my daughter danced for many years. I took pictures, sent them to Mike, he said do it, and we signed the lease.”
Of course that didn’t mean the space was perfect as is. Walls came down, some went up, everything became sound-proof, and the result isn’t anything like the dark sound studios Charlie’s been used to. This space is light and airy, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking bustling Greenwich. There are two recording studios, each with comfortable lounges and conference areas. It’s outfitted with a Kawai baby grand piano and a variety of state-of-the-art equipment and technology.
“We’re here for individual solo artists, groups such as rock bands, jazz ensembles, classical quartets, orchestras and choirs,” Charlie says. The music education wing of Vega offers instruction in production (recording, mixing, mastering), voice, voice therapy, songwriting, piano, guitar, bass, trombone, cello, violin/viola and percussion. And the space is available to rent for charity events and private parties.
An important part of Vega’s mission is to bring the healing power of music to those in need. Recently, the Guardian Revival Band recorded its Irish-influenced, folk-rock songs at Vega. The band is part of the Guardian Revival Encore Project, a free program that provides veterans and first responders—active and retired—opportunities to learn, write, play, record and share music.
“These guys are the best, and the recording was the first of future things we will be doing with Guardian, including a fundraiser for both the Mangold Music Foundation [which Charlie heads] and the Guardians,” Charlie says.
Matt Sorena is program director of Guardian Revival, which includes three other programs in addition to Encore. “The three days we spent at Vega were inspiring,” Matt says. “Vega is such a great new place, and our musicians teamed up really well with Vega. We were so thankful for Charlie’s professional input, to see his expertise come through to help us out. The support our musicians received from Vega made their dreams become a reality.” The recorded songs will be produced under the Guardian Revival Record Label.
Adds Charlie: “What they do is why we partnered with Guardian. There was a SEAL team guy, a paratrooper, police officers and vets who formed this band. It was our pleasure to work with them.
“What we are providing in Greenwich is so much more than a recording studio,” he says. “If it’s musical, we’ll do it. We want to be an important part of the community,” a place where Charlie grew up and raised his family. “And most of all, we want to have a good time doing it.”
Vega provides a unique event space for charity events, cocktail or birthday parties, concerts, recitals, art shows or business meetings. In addition to the open-concept lounge space, there is a dining table, two powder rooms, performance area, grand piano and live band setup.
You can customize your event to include a pianist, jazz trio, cover band or string quartet, or run your favorite playlist through the studio’s sound system.
The Gift of Music
Charlie Mangold formed the Mangold Music Foundation about a decade ago as a nonprofit that gifts musical instruments and music education to children hospitalized with cancer. To date, the program has worked with Yale New Haven’s Children’s Hospital, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Westchester, Sloan Kettering and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York City, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, in addition to creating music programs for the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich and the Aspire program at Family & Children’s Agency in Norwalk.
He began volunteering at Sloan Kettering, singing the songs of James Taylor and John Mayer to children with cancer. But what he noticed most was that as soon as he put a guitar into the hands of any child, they would start strumming. “I knew immediately that this is the work I needed to be doing,” Charlie says. His first step was to start the Mangold Music Foundation.
He acknowledges that musical instruments are expensive, so he concentrates on giving out free ukuleles, a wonderful instrument that won’t break the bank but is exactly what most of these kids need to make music. mangoldmusicfoundation.org