February 2022 Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic Night

Youth Open Mic Night

The February addition of The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic on the 18th was a success, drawing some of the area’s most musically talented youth. Coordinated by myself, board member Joseph Vincent Riggio, this was teased by me on social media to be a “love” themed installment of the monthly event since Valentine’s Day was on Monday. Ironically the night was plagued with technical difficulties on both the musicians and my end. Guitars, mic stands, cables, Direct Boxes and the electronic piano all needed changing or resetting as the night progressed. 

Veteran participant Melissa LaRochelle opened the night, whose electronics on her recently “fixed” inherited guitar was the first to fail for us. After a quick micing set up change she played “Go To Hell” by Clinton Cane (Melissa reminded us it had the word “love” in it), “Make A Move” by Lawrence, and “Uh Oh” by Junior Doctor all sung very well in a controlled and sweet toned contra alt,o saying as she left “I guess they all are love songs if you want them to be.” 

Notables of the evening were Taryn Gonzalez, who has played the open mic for us a few times at member venue Chubby Pickle during our venue swap due to the pandemic, but this was her Woman’s Club debut and she bought newcomer Emily to sing harmony and back her on guitar. It was Emily’s debut playing in front of an audience. I assured her she was amongst friends and that she would be shown all the love we had. They played “Jigsaw” by Conan Gray with a bit of nerves noted in Emily’s voice until the first chorus, and then “Treacherous” by Taylor Swift. By the time they announced their closer, the Beatles classic “Hey Jude,” the two really hit their stride and harmonized extremely well. I reminded the crowd it was Emily’s first time in front of an audience, and they cheered loudly asking her to return.

Next after a rare two-month hiatus Carlotta Schmidt returned, whose family is indispensable to this event in both setup/breakdown, providing snacks and drinks as well as being one of the events biggest cheerleaders. She covered 3 classics with her consistently improving deeper vocal range and an impressive improving right hand on her electric Guild this evening. They were “Second Hand News” by Fleetwood Mac, “Destination” by Nickel Creek and “Old Soul” by The Highwomen. Then with only a tiny prompt from me giving her a “one more finger gesture” she gave us “Cold as Ice” as an encore by her favorite band The Indigo Girls. 

Eve Riggio needed to be externally miced since her acoustic guitar refused to cooperate as well, played two slickly executed and equally slick lyrical original songs for us “#KillingUnderwater” and “Greatest Shame” after opening with “A Car A Torch A Death” by Twenty One Pilots totally ignoring the love song request as expected by the regulars of the event.

Closing the evening was, past JSJBF scholarship awardee Ruby Riggio who belted out two including one of her favorites by Halsey leaving her usual instrument of choice the ukulele at home this time and playing both on electronic piano that needed a total reboot before working correctly. 

Proving this event is truly always all love, the crowd smiled and laughed along with me as I joked and worked through all the afore mentioned issues and giggled about them as they assisted in breaking down the equipment with me and exchanged social media info with our newcomer Emily.

Our next Youth Open Mic is scheduled for March 11, 2022 at the Woman’s Club of Red Bank where any of the local musical youth will find a friendly, supportive and fun forum in which to perform.

WHEN: Friday, Feb 18, 2022. Doors open and sign-up sheet available at 6:30 PM. Music happens from 7 PM – 10 PM

WHERE: Located at the Red Bank Women’s Club in the Anthony Reckless Estate at 164 Broad Street Red Bank NJ (directly across the street from the Red Bank post office)

$5 Donation to perform or attend Under 21 to perform

All ages welcome to enjoy

Full backline provided (musicians bring instruments and pedals)

Music not limited to Jazz and Blues

For further information contact Joseph Vincent Riggio at 732-670-2157

The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic Presented by the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation Started by our dear friend and late Board of Trustees member Mark LaRochelle, this event occurs one Friday night a month providing the musical youth community a forum to perform in a fun, supportive, friendly and inviting environment.

Our next Youth Open Mic is scheduled for March 11, 2022 at the Woman’s Club of Red Bank where any of the local musical youth will find a friendly, supportive and fun forum in which to perform.