Having now developed a near mastery of the NYC subway system, Team Shorty navigated the once confusing metro system with ease and aplomb, arriving at Industry City in Brooklyn with ease and time to spare. This marked our first scheduled public performance, playing alongside New York’s Black Tie Brass Band at the Rock and Roll Playhouse’s regular Saturday gig. Industry City is a very cool venue, with a killer food court and home to the Brooklyn Flea market. But this stop was all about the music.
The Black Tie band kicked it off with strong renditions of the New Orleans standard “Second Line” and Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” A family affair, parents and children alike gathered around the stage and began to dance and sing along. The Shorty Academy band then took over with “Cell Block 9,” “Talkin’ Loud” and Lalah Hathaway’s “Angel.” The room soon filled to capacity with hundreds of appreciative listeners, and the Rock and Roll Playhouse team brought out hula hoops and a parachute to entertain the kids in the audience. Finally, the Black Tie and Shorty Academy joined forces for “When the Saints Go Marching In” while second lining through the building, then back to the stage to close it out with “Make It Funky.” Our students and the guys from Black Tie developed a mutual admiration society for one another through the language of New Orleans music, and we look forward to playing with them again tomorrow.
Spirits were high as we all headed back to Manhattan for a walk around the neighborhood where we are staying, which included visits to the Freedom Tower and the 9/11 memorial. No rest for the weary, as we headed uptown to Times Square for an evening of pure fun and entertainment. A group dinner preceded a walk up Broadway right in the thick of it all (including an obligatory stop at a souvenir shop that yielded some questionable purchases) which led us to the doors of the Winter Garden Theater for a performance of School Of Rock The Musical, which for most of the students was a first. The show was awesome and featured really young and talented kids in the band shredding on their respective instruments. A stand out was Gabrielle Greene playing the role of Tomika, whose gospel-tinged vocals brought down the house.
Everyone remains in very high spirits as we head into our final day in the Big Apple. An early wake up call will allow us to be back in Brooklyn for a 10 a.m. load in at the Brooklyn Bowl for our final performance. More on that to come!