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Jazzing up Dragon on the Lake's opening ceremony

August 13, 2014 - By Katie Winkler

Review Staff Writer

For the past two years, Buffalo Wild Wings' General Manager and local poet, Roberto Vecchi, has recited his original "On We Fly" poem during the annual Dragon on the Lake opening ceremony.

This year, Vecchi has added a saxophone and piano to his performance to jazz up the evening.

Vecchi's book of poems, "Dragon Within Redemption" showed his love for dragons, where he was inspired to write "On We Fly" for the DOTL festivities.

"I've loved dragons ever since I was a little kid," Vecchi said. "Dragons are really the only myth and legend that's cross-cultural. Every culture has it. In all of them, they are revered as marvelously intellectual, extremely wise and almost like a force of nature. They represent the best and epitome of what we can all be."

While conversing at Culver's weekly morning coffee house in June, Allan Nahajweski asked Vecchi about putting some of his poetry to music.

Nahajweski, a retired Chrysler communications employee, went home that day and wrote music to go along with "On We Fly."

"I think it was just after lunch that same day I walked into [Buffalo Wild Wings] to show Roberto the music. I brought my little recorder and headphones and a big smile came up on [Roberto's] face," Nahajweski said. "He writes so lyrically so you can tap your foot to keep the beat. If there are any poems that fit music, it would be Roberto's because he has a lyrical touch."

After writing the music to accompany the poem, Nahajweski insisted on his friend, Tom Zakarian, to join in with his saxophone.

Nahajweski and Zakarian play in a band together called "Half-Whacked."

The 2.5 minute song was performed for the first time last Wednesday. The trio will perform their song at Buffalo Wild Wings on August 22. Dragon Mead Brewery will have 16 different beers on tap for the evening.

However, the official début of "On We Fly" will be on August 24, during the opening ceremony of Dragon on the Lake, followed by the dragon boat races.

"The festival is special and I'm thrilled to be apart of it," Nahajewaki said.

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