RockRoots had two assemblies in Northeastern NJ, close to the City. It was to be a long day, in that we were to do assemblies spread out between a 9:30 am gig and a 1 pm gig on the same stage (!!) with the early set bussed in from near by. Road Trip for the K-3rds!
Traffic was really bad, leaving at 6:45 for a 9:30 show. I got there at 9:20, and thanks to the band and the school we were ready at 9:31 (sez Kevin) and we actually waited for the last group of kids to come in. On stage in 15 minutes after driving (a lot of sitting…) in Jersey traffic for two and a half hours. (‘I think I can, I think I can…”) I had two hiccups – one I knew (slide solo after first verse, sorry Wayne…) and the second was leaving out the World Music section and jumping to the final Rap stuff. The band actually wondered if I did it on purpose, but, in retrospect, it was my ‘wind up the show’ instinct kicking in. Good for the lads and good for the situation (get the kids back on the buses).
We had a large space in between shows. We headed to a Jersey diner and I treated the lads to some food. It was simply good to take some time and check in with the band, especially since I usually drive separately.
I was glad for the coffee from the diner. We got back with a half hour to spare, I changed my guitar strings and the 4 – 6th graders came filing in. This group was cranked and we played particularly well, even though it was our normal nap time. Back in the car at 2:10 and off to PA. A much quicker drive back.
It’s a shame that the demand for the RockRoots assembly is not what it used to be. It invariably is appreciated by kids, teachers and lunchroom ladies across the state. I was able to support my family for many, many years by getting in my car from either PA or CT and driving to NJ, crack o’ dawn. The Crash of ’08 really cut back on school arts funding, and the fertile Young Audiences of NJ connection has not been the same. That is balanced by the fact I’m not up for driving to NJ three times a week anymore.
It’s a really good show and I’m proud of its theatrical and educational strengths.
I am always amazed by the professionality of Nick, Wayne and Kevin. They deal with the traffic and each other, show up on time, go on in time and play the show with intelligence, good humor and the ability to roll with my punches. They (we) always do a good show.