Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Rockits and the Highlites

This is the first summer that I haven't been pouring myself into my art in the evenings. Instead I've been spending a lot of time with my big new Italian family, The Rockits and the Highlites. The Rockits are a band that's been playing together since the 80's and they play a lot of 50's and 60's music plus a few tunes from the 70's, and The Highlites are a singing group from Vegas that in the last couple of years hooked up with the Rockits for many of their performances. Both groups do solo performances as well as working together, and their music is both lively and soulful, and so much fun to dance to. They perform at a lot of coffee houses in the evenings as well as weddings, block parties, retirements and so forth. And I try to attend as many of these events as I can, including their rehearsals, as pictured above.

These next two posts were shot last weekend at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim for a birthday party where both the Rockits and The Highlites played together. Lots and lots of dancing. Yes, I'm burning hundreds of calories :)

The next 5 posts were shot on Fourth of July in Laguna Niguel for a block party. On saxophone is my good buddy Dan, a retired school principle, who hosts all the practice sessions and provides food and drink for everyone. It's so much fun when they are practicing because all the neighbors stop by with their children to listen to the music. The kids really respond to the music from the 50's.

Next we have bass guitarist extraordinaire Jimmy from Jersey, the head honcho in Human Resources for Taco Bell in their Santa Margarita office, and one of the nicest men I've ever met. Jim has been heading up bands since he was in high school, and is one of the background singers for the band. Jim also has a keen eye for the Fine Arts, and is quite the craftsman himself. He is a close follower of my blog and has commissioned Caroline Ma (one of my senior art stars) to collage one of his bass guitars and it's case. She's almost done and I'll be posting the results soon.

Then we have Patrick on keyboard. When we get really lucky he'll pull out his accordion and play any song you ask him to. The other night he played Moon River for me (one of my all time favorites) Pat is also an amazing artist. He hand letters signs professionally and also plays in a cowboy band when he's not playing with the Rockits. Pat told me the other night that he's been playing since he was 7 years old, and when he was on tour in Vietnam, he entertained the troops with any piano he could find.

Next we have Bobby on drums. I think his wife Michelle told me that Bobby plays for 4 different bands a week. He's got a crazy schedule. He is also one of the lead singers for the band.

And here is Tony, the lead guitarist, as well as the lead singer who is a pure joy to listen to as he makes his guitar sing. So yeah, the Rockits have pretty much adopted me into their fold and have brought so much beautiful music into my life. Now I'm trying to talk my two kids into coming with me to hear them play. Not sure that's ever gonna happen but wish me luck!

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