The August Youth Open Mic Night

The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic

August 13th 2021

The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic (MLYOM) presented by The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation at The Women’s Club of Red Bank was back at the Anthony Reckless Estate on August 13th 2021.

The area’s musical youth come out to this event to entertain and share their talents as it continues to be an incredible night of fun, friendship, and music. Coordinated by JSJBF Board member, Joseph Vincent Riggio, this night was hosted by Denton Schmidt who is back from college. Denton brought along some friends and some of his many wonderful photographs for sale, framed and printed on canvas, and donated a portion of the proceeds to the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation with much gratitude.

Opening the night was Ruby Riggio, a recent return performer, with a memorable piano piece. She began by addressing the crowd, reminding us that this is the 5-year anniversary of the MLYOM event and reminiscing how it started on an extremely hot and humid Friday night exactly like this one. She played “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish with a fine tone in her voice thereby striking a fine tone to begin the evening, as well.

Carlotta Schmidt was up next. She provided excellent renditions of “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, “Way Out” by The La’s and “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain” by Carly Simon. Carlotta was also the opening act at the Chubby Pickle a week later on August 21st.

Last month a new performer graced the stage of the Women’s Club of Red Bank by the name of Bella Miller. She returned this night on electric guitar with a brother duo for support, David Meriney on drums and Brendan Meriney on bass. Bela was promoting her new EP release called “Winter Flower” available now on your favorite streaming site. She opened with the title track, “Shirt Pocket” which you’ll find on the EP. The added rhythm of David and Brendon really allowed her to express her beautiful voice and message.

MAST Junior, April Lynn, also returned to the MLYOM stage showing her mastery of multiple genres. She included a very well arranged original “Fly” in-between “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele and “Stay” by Post Malone. We can’t wait to hear more of her original songs and you’ll get the chance Sept 11th at 6:00 pm at the Chubby Pickle, 23 Bay Avenue, in the Highlands, April will provide the opening set at that venue plus don’t forget her regular gigs at Burlew’s, 59 W Front St, in Keyport.

Next, sisters Ruby and Eve Riggio returned to the MLYOM stage from last month’s stellar performance, alternating collaborations and performing on their own. Eve played acoustic while Ruby sang “Simon says” by Allie X and “You Only Live Twice” by Nancy Sinatra. Ruby is the 2020 Mark La Rochelle JSJBF Scholarship Award winner, and her voice filled the room with the tone and exuberance of a polished performer. Then Eve sang an original called ”보고 싶어요” which includes both English and Korean lyrics. Eve has been studying Korean and explained that the title is a phrase used to describe a relationship dilemma. Ruby ended the mini-set supporting herself on ukulele with “Mariners Apartment Complex” by Lana del Rey. She also promoted an upcoming house show the sisters put together where they will be playing and selling items from their custom clothing lines.

Carlotta Schmidt then returned to the stage on electric guitar to do a few Jazz tunes with her brother and emcee Denton Schmidt on percussion and his college friend and multi-instrumentalist Van Tassel on bass. They executed “The Girl From Ipanema”, “Samba De Orfeu” and “Satin Doll” expertly to the delight of the crowd. Last month, event organizer Joseph Vincent Riggio teased about possibly getting Carlotta a gig for her band (The 10 O’clock Jazz Trio) through his promotion company J v Archer ENTERTAINMENT and, true to form, Carlotta announced that gig scheduled for September 18th (5pm) at the Chubby Pickle. Let’s not miss it!

We also had a birthday in the house this evening. Denton’s friend Rebecca was the celebrant and her sister, Julia, decided to surprise her by singing Rebecca a few songs. Accompanied by Eve’s acoustic playing to support them. After a quick rehearsal in the parking lot, they got through a fun set of “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day, “Sunflower” by Post Malone and “Corduroy Dreams” by Rex Orange County.

Clay Kunego then returned to the stage after a few months’ hiatus from the open mic. Clay is working on a series of new original song releases set to come out this fall and was sporting a new tattoo he planned for after his 18th birthday. He punched out Screaming Trees’ ballad “Nearly Lost You,” the Green Day lesser known “Worry Rock,” and the well-known Beatles banger “Back in the USSR.” Remarkably, he accomplished these crowd pleasers despite the electric fans blowing all around him (notably, there is no AC in this historic mansion and the evening, remember, was restless and steamy).

The next two performers that night included Kenneth Blake (keyboardist from the popular band, Thelonious Funk) and Alexander Rausch. They were also returning to the Women’s Club of Red Bank after a long absence due to the Covid-19 threat. Alexander plays guitar well beyond his years, as does Kenneth, displaying incredible prowess on the keys. They chose to collaborate on three very difficult jazz tunes, subtly teasing, then exploding for the crowd while performing “Recorda Me” by Joe Henderson, “Party Time” by Lee Morgan, and a bossa nova by “Rio Mendez” leaving the crowd in awe.

Bella Miller then returned for a solo after she, too, borrowed Eve’s acoustic. She played “Flying Machine” set to be released on a later date and delivered it with a sweet clear tone.

Denton then invited Evan Quigly from the very popular local band “Ham By The Pound” to play a featured set to end this special anniversary night. Evan absolutely delighted the crowd, especially his many adoring fans who sang along with him and hummed the missing melodic parts of the songs they know well from his full recordings and exciting live performances. He refused amplification and belted out the Ham By The Pound original “Sunshower”, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” by Father John Misty, and “We Looked Like Giants” by Death Cab for Cutie. Evan ended with a yet to be tiled original that captured everyone’s attention, obviously inspired by the recent increase in violence in our American Cities. Intensely exploding the lyrics throughout the chorus that builds to a fever pitch, Evan’s performance brought down the house to end an exciting evening.

The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic presented by the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation is produced one Friday night a month. The next MLYOM night is scheduled for September 10th providing the musical youth community along the Jersey Shore with a forum to perform in a supportive, friendly, fun and inviting environment at the Women’s Club of Red Bank in the Anthony Reckless Estate,164 Broad St, Red Bank NJ.

Sign-up sheet available at 6:30 PM

Music happens from 7 PM – 10 PM

$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 

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