Four Beach High students provide a musical alternative for those not old enough to enjoy local bands in clubs and bars.
BY AVITAL ASH
as published in the Miami Herald, February 2003
“Welcome in …. Let them all in.” As Oren Maisner of the local rock band Jacobs Ladder sang the line at a recent Surfside Rocks concert, he was drowned out as many in the audience sang along.
The lyric, from the band’s song Stranger’s Words, was appropriate for the occasion — an all-ages show put together by a group of high school students. Inclusiveness was the theme of the evening.
The show, held a few months ago at the Surfside Community Center, was the second effort by organizers — headed by Jason Novack, Michael MacBride, Sam Boundy and Sergio Hernandez — who produce the series under their nonprofit, 1308 Productions.
Jason, 16, the son of Surfside Mayor Paul Novack, and Michael, 17, son of Commissioner Frank MacBride Jr., head a team of about 10 volunteers working lights, door, refreshments, decorations and promotions. Sam and Sergio, both 17, handle the sound.
The four perform together in Miami Beach High School’s Rock Ensemble, and the idea for the Surfside Rocks series came about when Michael and Jason began going to concerts a couple of years ago. They realized shows they wanted to attend were not only far away, but also many featuring local bands were held in clubs and bars, further restricting their access.
The two resolved to organize all-ages shows close to home. “There’s nothing really for the under-21 crowd to do except go to a movie, a mall, the beach or travel half an hour or so to see a show,” Jason said.
Proceeds from the shows are donated to music charity organizations and local music education programs, he said.
Their first show, held last May, featured three bands and drew a couple of hundred people. Hector A. Parayuelos, guitarist and backup vocalist for lassothemoon, one of the bands in the May show, was impressed with the effort. “While it was mostly run by kids themselves, everything went smoothly, and was done on a very professional level,” said Parayuelos, 22, who is also a student at Miami Dade College.
The second show, held in September, featured five bands and drew approximately 250 spectators, a significant improvement. “I got shivers,” said Jacob’s Ladder bassist Sammy Gonzalez, a senior at Miami Beach High. “We’ve never had that many people singing along. I was impressed by the number of people there. [Kids from] all schools from around the area came.”
The third and most recent show, held Ian. 16, featured live bands and drew about 300.
The four students and their volunteers promote the shows by passing out fliers at local schools, colleges, malls and shows. “It takes us; between planning, booking, promoting, at least 50 hours of work per show across an eight·week period,” Jason said.
The work paid off, said one concertgoer, 17—year—old Beach High student Thomas Murphy. “The setup was really cool,” he said ofthe community center auditorium. “I’m used to seeing it set up for old people.”