The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic presented by The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation was presented on a beautiful night last Friday July 8th, 2022. As always it was an incredible night of fun, friendship, and music.
Opening the night was a new group of youngsters calling themselves The Charming Men. Not only was it their MLYOM debut but their debut out of the practice studio as well. They played three rock covers tunes, “Dammit” by Blink-182, “NIB” by Black Sabbath, and “Everlong” by The Foo Fighters, switching lead singers along the way. Since it was their debut, I gave them an encore and they hit us with “There is a Light and it Never Goes Out” by the Smiths. It is fair to say we witnessed the birth of a fun new group and we are grateful to have been there to witness it!
The Charming Men brought an exuberant group of friends with them and one of them played drums, he decided to impromptu perform for us. Performing under the cryptic name T.I.A., he vigorously pounded out a solo of varying tempos and dynamics at times accompanied by one of the Charmers on guitar. He promised to work out something for us formally for the next event and I can’t wait to hear the results.
Up next was a familiar group of players calling themselves this night – Jessie and The Besties. Consisting of the very musically talented friends 2019 JSJBF Scholarship awardee Jessie Roberts on vocals, Sam Ferrara on guitar, and Collin McTernan on acoustic bass and sax as well as Jessies’ brother Greg on drums. They played the Roberta Flack mega-hit “Killing Me Softly,” “Isn’t She lovely” by Stevie Wonder and “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor all with groove and soul much appreciated by the crowd. Jessie played “Homeward Bound” by Simon and Garfunkel solo on acoustic as well, you can catch her at venue member The Chubby Pickle on October 13th at 6pm; she is bringing her besties so be there.
After Jessie and Collin left the stage Sam absolutely slayed an acoustic instrumental song that changed in dynamics and intensity often keeping everyone totally engaged.
Then 18-year-old, recent Keyport grad, regular MLYOM performer and 2022 JSJBF Mark LaRochelle Scholarship Award Winner Eve Riggio played accompanying herself on guitar. She delighted the crowd with two unique takes on popular covers “Light My Life” by Greta Van Fleet and “Take It From The Top” by Austin Moon.
Following her sister, JSJBF 2020 Mark LaRochelle Scholarship Award Winner Ruby Riggio performed, singing and playing with her cool pink ukulele. Her hybrid strumming and finger picking style added an interesting twist to her songs. She began with “Eyes Wide Open” by Sabrina Carpenter followed by the Billie Eilish bangers “Male Fantasy” and ‘Everything I Want.” Check her out at Crossroads in Garwood, NJ August 4th with a cool lineup of young bands.
Breaking with recent tradition of opening the night the last several months, Mellissa LaRochelle was up next singing and playing acoustic guitar. The crowd cheered when I announced she was a 2022 JSJBF Scholarship awardee. She played “Boy x” by Taye McRae followed by “Something Stupid” by Frank Sinatra, “Stupid” by Cate Canning with her usual sweet vocal tone and playing.
Luke Russoniello came to help me set up and break down and was kind enough to close the night by debuting two original songs teasing an EP release by his full band Just For Show due out early fall.
Next scheduled for August 12th, The Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic is presented by the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation one Friday night a month providing the 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.
Signup 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.
Follow us on Instagram at: https://instagram.com/jsjbf_youth_open_mic?igshid=12eeptkjxlvs9
The next Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic night is August 12th.