Youth Open Mic Night back at Woman’s Club

MLYOM youth open mic

July 9th 2021 marked the return of The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic (MLYOM) presented by The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation (JSJBF) to its original home. The Women’s Club of Red Bank is ready to host live events again at the Anthony Reckless Estate.

The pandemic had the event displaced since last March (member venue, The Chubby Pickle, has graciously supported this monthly production of the JSJBF as the event’s temporary home and we are all grateful beyond words for their kindness). Coordinated by board member Joseph Vincent Riggio, and hosted this night as well, the area’s musical youth come out to entertain and share their talent in what continues to be an incredible night of fun, friendship, and music.

Opening the night was MAST Junior April Lynn welcoming back the Women’s Club crowd like a pro. Showing her pro chops and mastery of multiple genres, she supported herself on guitar on two very well executed songs. “We’re Good” by Dua Lipa and the Journey mega hit “Don’t Stop Believing”. She apologized for having to leave after she performed, as she is a community supporter volunteering with Bayshore EMS and an EMT in training. Proving that she, like all the performers at the event, are talented overachiever with diverse skills and interests making this an incredibly exciting group of people to be around.

Next, sister act, Ruby Riggio (Mark La Rochelle JSJBF Scholarship Award winner for 2020) and Eve Riggio on guitar collaborated sharing lead and harmony vocals. Their voices blend incredibly well (i.e., they have been doing this since they both could talk) and a several attendees in the crowd mentioned “chills” after hearing their renditions of Dave Mathews “Loving Wings” and “We Do” by K-Pop supergroup Super-M. They promoted an upcoming house show where they were playing and selling their custom clothing lines at as they left to much applause. As previously mentioned, diverse interests and skills.

Allison LaRochelle, another former JSJBF Scholarship Award recipient and lifetime participant of the event (her father bares the memorial name of the event) was up next. Allison is a Berklee School of Music graduate and has the finest blues voice you will even hear, coupled with her hard hitting yet gently strummed guitar, she is always a delight to behold. She played “Wild Love” by James Bay and the Warren Haynes “Soul shine” leaving everyone wanting more.

COVID-19 took a lot from us the last year denying regular attendees of the open mic sessions the joy of Carlotta Schmidt’s monthly performances. She looked forward to playing each month, always thinking carefully about exactly what she wanted to present to the crowd. Her family is indispensable to the event, helping with set up and break down and often providing drinks and snacks for the attendees. The Schmidt family also hosted other events and artists including Carlotta’s brother Denton Schmidt who Emcees (hosts) the event quite often. Carlotta made up for the lost time by showing improved vocal and guitar control on three classics, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’ by Leo Sayer, “The Story” by Brandi Carlile, and the Aretha Franklin version of the Beatles classic “Elinor Rigby”. Joseph Riggio teased about getting her a gig for her band, The 10 O’clock Jazz Trio, in September and delivered by booking her via his promo company J V Archer ENTERTAINMENT at the Chubby Pickle on September 18th 5pm sharp… let’s all be there!

17-year-old Keyport homeschooler Eve returned back solo with her guitar. She delighted the crowd with “Happy” by Mitski, “Simon Says” by Allie X, and a really fun and original acoustic version of the Wham! Hit “Careless Whisper.” Her set had the crowd smiling and bopping as she hummed the sax solo to a quite fadeout.

Eve Riggio and older sister, accompanied herself on her slick pink ukulele. Strumming and finger picking her way gracefully through two pop hits, “Haunting” by Halsey and ending with the first song she ever performed on uke, her namesake tune “Ruby” by Twenty One Pilots.

Newcomer to the family, Julia Affinito, also came with her friend Joe Rinaldi to provide backup on her all-original songs. At just 18 years old, Julia has an album, an EP, singles and some featured songs out under the artist name “Babie.” These pieces are all easy to find on social media and music platforms. Joseph complimented her strong, smooth R n’ B/pop-blended vocals very well on his clean electric guitar. They performed “That’s Love I Suppose”, “I’m Ready Are You”, and “Long Sleeves.” Riggio then invited her to play one more to truly invite her into the fold and she pulled up to the keyboard to accompany herself on “It Starts with Touch” which seemed to be the crowd favorite.

Mellissa LaRochelle performed as well. It has been mentioned before that she spent a lot quarantine time building her guitar and vocal chops. She displayed beautiful tone and fine control on “Two Week’s Notice” and “Enough For You”.

Another new performer graced the stage this fun-filled night that being Bella Miller. She sang and performed on acoustic guitar three originals with a relaxed manner (after a bit nervously plugging her forthcoming release “The Winter Flower EP” due out this fall). The first two, “Winter Flower” and “Shirt Pocket,” will be on the release. The third, “Flying Machine,” will be on another compilation. She was welcomed into the fold with enthusiastic applause by the performers and guests. We can’t wait to see more of Bella and her supportive family.

Ending this special night, Joe Rinaldi returned to wow the crowd with his formattable guitar skills. He played two classics, Johnny Mercer’s “Satin Doll” and “Darn That Dream” written by Eddie DeLange and performed previously by a host of singers including Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Joe then asked for a microphone and sang along with his slick guitar to “Neon” by Joh Mayer. The syncopation was a nice juxtaposition to how smooth the evening flowed and a fantastic way to end the evening.

Next scheduled for August 13th, The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic, presented by the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation, will be on our event schedule one Friday night a month, providing our local musical youth community a forum to perform in a fun, supportive, friendly and inviting environment at the Red Bank Women’s Club in the Anthony Reckless Estate in 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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