MLYOM Sept 8th 2023

The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic, organized by The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation, made a triumphant return to Ocean County Music in Point Pleasant Beach on September 8th, 2023.

OCM is owned by the dedicated Mike Corona, with invaluable support from his multi-talented brother-in-law, Vinny, and brother, Sal. It offers comprehensive services for both budding and seasoned musicians, including instrument and accessory sales, rentals, musical instruction for individuals and house bands, and even professional recording services and now is home of the newly started record label Banditt records! It was yet another enchanting evening filled with fun, music, and friendship. Myself, along with VP of JSJBF John Fernandez and board member Gary Neuwirth were in attendance.

The evening kicked off on a beautifully lit, fully back lined stage with the youngest of our student house bands, Aurora. They kicked off the night with the B52s “Rome” and “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift, featuring Sherri on vocals. They then continued with a Bangles leaning version of “Hazy Shade of Winter” and concluded with a killer version of the 4 Non-Blondes’ banger “What’s Up?”.

Next the house band Sound Hogs were ready to rock the stage. They opened with the ambitious Rush instrumental “YYZ” with a standout performance by Liam playing bass and keys simultaneously at times just like Getty Lee. They kept with the ambition on the Allman Brothers “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” with Ryan really nailing the feel of the rhythm on guitar and then slipped into a cool rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” with Ryan on vocals. Instructor Vinny stepped up to help out on vocals on “Alright Aphrodite” by Canadian indie pop band Peach Pit. And concluded with RHCP “By The Way.”

Moving right along, the programs newest power trio, consisting of Hayden on guitar, Mia on drums and vocals, and Joselyn on bass, known as Crimson Caravan was up. They opened their eclectic set with STPs “Interstate Love Song” and slipped right into an early 2000s sludge metal song much to the surprise of the crowd. Hayden then shared vocal duties on a Miranda Lambert tune. They ended with a punk version of the Dire Straits hit “Sultans of Swing.”

The audience was then treated to a punk rock leaning house band called The Insano’s. The spirited Connor was on bass and vocals. They slammed the crowd with “Olympia” by Rancid, the Misfits “Hybrid Moments,” and “Territorial Pissings” by Nivana. They snuck a well-arranged original song in between it all as well.

Makaley and Jack are both students of the program and both in house bands but decided to team up this night with the assistance of instructor Vinny again. They played “Breed” by Nirvana, “American Idiot” by Green Day, and ended with a slamming version of “My Hero” by The Foo Figthers.

Without missing a beat, the most seasoned of the house bands, Your Dad’s Radio, closed the event. They began with two excellent original alternative rock-style songs including the first one they penned “For Now,” featuring vocals and strong guitar work by frontman Ryan. Liam held down the bass rhythm with precision, and Makaley’s powerful drumming. The evening concluded on a high note with a little-known Hum song “Hello Kitty” leaving Vinny and I with a huge smile since we both had the pleasure of seeing that song performed live at The Brighton Bar (RIP) in the 1990s.

The Ocean County Music program is like a family, much like MLYOM, and it remains a perfect partner for the JSBF. Mike Corona and his family/staff are dedicated to providing quality instruction, musical services, and mentorship to young musicians, with a focus on enriching the musical community in NJ and beyond. It’s no surprise that two of their students received our scholarships in the last few years. 

Youth Open Mic is coordinated and hosted by myself, Board member Joseph Vincent Riggio.  The next one is scheduled for October 13, 2023 at musicans workshop in Manalapan NJ where any of the local musical youth will find a friendly, supportive and fun forum in which to perform. It will be our Halloween edition be sure to attend! 

Signup sheet available at 6:30 pm.

Music starts 7 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 may enjoy.

Music is not limited to Jazz and Blues.

Full backline provided, musicians bring instruments and pedals.

For further info contact me @ 732-670-2157.

Instagram: @jsjbf_youth_open_mic

continue our friendship/collaboration.