On January 7th, 2022, the area’s musical youth came out to start the year off by, again, sharing their talent at this monthly event. The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic Night is presented by The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation at The Women’s Club of Red Bank in the Anthony Reckless Estate (164 Broad St).
This open mic night for local youth is coordinated and hosted by me, JSJBF Board Member Joseph Vincent Riggio, to further promote our local musical heritage at the Jersey Shore. January always brings some of our college students back in attendance due to the holiday break. This year was no exception, with several of our beloved participants, all JSJBF scholarship recipients to boot, returning and enjoyed by all.
Opening the night was 2021 JSJBF scholarship recipient Steven Sharpe on guitar back from his first semester at Berklee School of Music in Boston Mass. He bought his friend Julia Raisley along to sing and play ukulele. They played a Julia original aptly titled “Boston” with “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver and “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles. Steven’s guitar prowess is formidable and smoother since his time away and Julia has a relaxed tone and delivery we are hoping to see more of and develop.
Next up was 2019 JSJBF scholarship winner, guitarist/vocalist Jessie Roberts on break from TCNJ and she bought her friend Colin McTernan to assist her on her last two tunes on bass guitar. She played “Cherry Wine” by Hozier on her own and her voice was as sweet and mellifluous as we all remember. Colin jumped in on the Tom Petty hit “Free Fallin’” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler both of which received raucous applause.
Melissa LaRochelle is a staple at the event and really shined this evening with a new confidence after her first ever club set December 4th at member venue The Chubby Pickle under her belt. She also had some work done on her father’s heirloom guitar and all the electronics were finally in working order! It is a bit of a running joke that I plug in her many guitars just to find out they do not work electrified only to externally mic them. She opened with “First Man” by Camila Cabello followed by the lesser known “Go to Hell” by Clinton Kane and ended with one of her favorites, the mega hit “Dancing Queen” by ABBA.
Kyler St. Phard is a local singer songwriter working on her first single release due out in early February. She opened with a cover, “All We Know” by Alessia Cara followed by the original songs “I’ve Made a Mess of Things” and “Why Do Girls,” both about ex-love experiences delivered with amazing tone and emotion as all her songs are. Then with a bit of prodding by me she graced the crowd with another original “Here’s To” the single due out soon as aforementioned. I made her promise to come back to promote the single when it is released and encouraged all in attendance to follow her on social media so they can hear it as soon as it is available, and I encourage you to do the same @kylerstphard on Instagram.
Closing the night was a four-piece ruckus crew of young men known to the open mic but in newly-formed band called Just For Show. Delaware University student Andrew Ahlborn of Sunsets From Jupiter fame is the drummer and is a 2021 JSJBF scholarship winner. The rest of the crew are Danny Mitchinson on guitar, and Thomas Hicks on bass, both also of Sunsets fame. They hooked up with Luke Rossoniello who played acoustic guitar and is fronting the band. They promoted their debut club performance that was set for the next day at The Chubby Pickle. They hit us with Foo Fighters “Learn to Fly,” a powerful rendition of “Green Day’s “21 Guns” and a smooth version of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” with an extended solo by Luke.
As the crowd assisted after the performances in clearing the room and putting away the equipment (both a bonding experience and a tradition at the Women’s club), everyone chatted about their holidays and anticipating the pandemic to end with all being safe and healthy. I wish us all the same!
Next scheduled for February 18th, The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic night, will be set to begin at 7:00pm (Sign-up sheet available at 6:30 PM). Presented by the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation one Friday night a month, this venue is designed with the purpose of providing the musical youth community along the Jersey Shore and beyond with a forum to perform in a fun, supportive, friendly and inviting environment. Please join us for our next gathering at the Red Bank Women’s Club in the Anthony Reckless Estate, 164 Broad Street, Red Bank NJ.
WHEN: Friday, Jan 7, 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.