ML Youth Open Mic August 11th 2023

By Joseph Vincent Riggio

The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic presented by The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation made its first stop to the Belmar Arts Council on Friday, August 11th.

The room and Council is host to all types of art and expression for the community of Belmar, Monmouth County and beyond. They have a great stage, PA and lighting set up for musical and theatrical performances and visual art is always presented and displayed. It is a great meeting place for the artist community and the JSJBF is happy to partner with them for this event. JSJBF President Tom Baldino was in attendance and the event is still coordinated by myself board member Joseph Vincent Riggio. It turned out to be another incredible night of fun, friendship, and music.

First up on the fully blacklined stage was 14 year old Marel. Marel played a few times for us before in Red Bank and followed the event to BAC much to our delight! He shows musical prowess well beyond his 14 years if age and plays multiple instruments and styles of music including Rock, Jazz, Blues, Flamenco and R & B. He chose to stick to Jazz guitar this night and showed up with a beautiful 1980’s Epiphone he just bought. He stunned the crowd with super melodic versions of “Night and Day,” “Round Midnight,” “How High the Moon/Cherokee,” and “As Time Goes By/Stompin’ at The Savoy.” He is looking for other like-minded players in his age range to put together a Jazz ensemble, reach out him (and follow him) here on Instagram @marelhidalgo.

Next up was a brand-new crew headed by another familiar face to the us all, TJ. He contacted me a week before the event excitedly asking if he could have a featured set for their first performance out of the practice studio, I of course excitedly replied ABSOLUTELY! They call themselves Out Calt. They had a slew of parents, family and friends in attendance. They are an eclectic looking foursome and their set reflected the aesthetic for sure. Opening with “For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Metallica, sliding into “Killing Floor” by Howling Wolf, and slaying the crowd with “Basket Case” by Green Day. Since the crowd was roaring after that with just a bit of encouragement, I convinced them to play another, so they traded solos on a blues riff and ended with a fun full out jam.

The BAC is a perfect partner for the JSBF with their open minded and all welcoming support of all things art related. The event returns there November 10th 2023.

The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic is presented by the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation the second Friday night a month providing the musical youth community a forum to perform in a fun, supportive, friendly and inviting environment. Next scheduled for October 13th 2023 at Musicians Workshop in Manalapan NJ. Signup sheet available at 6:30 PM. Music happens from 7 PM – 10 PM.

$5 Donation to perform or attend (or $20 for a student membership that gets you in all year). 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.

Follow us on Instagram at: @ jsjbf_youth_open_mic