Music community remembers Andres Rivera; a beloved friend and musician


Rivera, a bass player, died at 29 years old in September due to complications of leukemia.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC ) — Andres Rivera was a central figure and bassist in the music community in Rochester. He died on September 7th at 29 years old due to complications of leukemia. He is survived by his wife, Carla, and his two daughters Mariana, four years old, Aria, one year old, and his father Thomas Stewart.

Andres, or “Dre,” was most known for playing with Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People and The English Project.

He was also well-known in the church and gospel music community, as he and his wife ministered and at Grace Road Church and Light of the World Assembly of God Church.

Poster for the event.

“He just meant us much to so many people in the musical community, his family, and his church community,” said Avis Reese, keyboardist, Musical Director for Danielle Ponder. “So we just wanted to do something to support his wife and his two young girls.”

Friday night, dozens of musicians, friends, and family gathered at Flour City Station, remembering Rivera. Donations were gathered at the door. All of which went to the Rivera family. The celebration was through music and food, donated by Big Boy Caterin’.

“We got Spanish-style chicken, meatballs, mac and cheese. how he likes it, green beans with mashed potatoes, how he likes it, and we have authentic Spanish rice,” said Corey Owens, owner of Big Boy Caterin’. “Those are his favorite dishes.”

Family and friends remember him for his humor, humility, and the fact he was always there for them.

“He was a pleasure to work with, a real easy going guy,” Reese said. “Dre was really quiet, but he had this quiet humor about him. If you just me him, you would not how to read him… He was very straight-faced.”

Musicians remember Rivera on the day of his passing:

Walter Chatman had his own bout with stage four cancer, which Rivera helped him through. and wnated to pay his character forward.

“He was always a man of his word,” Chatman said. “Anything he could to help you, no matter what the situation was, he was there to help you. He was always there, you could always count on Andres.”

“He was a well-rounded person,” Reese said. “Not just a great musician, but a great human being. He was compassionate, he was funny.”

Musicians remember him for his incredible musicianship and ingenuity.

“Really just a musical genius,” Reese said. “The levels of his musicality were unbelievable.”

They also remember his incredible tone.

Listen to his “tone” here:

“His tone is what so many bass players strive for,” Reese said. “So many people don’t realize that it’s not enough just to play notes. A single note can sound a million different ways based on how you approach it. And Dre just had this ability to approach a single note with so many different varieties and tones… So many people play the instrument, he became the instrument.”

More musicians react to his tone:

In his short time on earth, he passed a long a lesson or two as well.

“Andres really taught me how to be humble,” Owens said. He played drums with Rivera in Danielle Ponder’s band. “A lot of situations that I didn’t like, I would reach out just to talk, just to bring me down. How to be humble. I’m just glad he taught me that.”

“As musicians we sometimes get stuck in a certain box, we get stuck in a certain form, and showed me that there are so many different approaches, there’s so many ways to break things apart,” Reese said. “That applies to music and life. It can be something absolutely magical and something absolutely beautiful if you’re willing to take that risk.”

Reese says that all the “big fuss” on Rivera would probably have put him off, but would be grateful that so many came together for music, and community.

Andres Rivera. Photo by Aaron Winters.

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