Rock 'n Roll at Woodhull School
Woodhull's School of Rock was in session for a recent series of three concerts that provided a creative outlet for band members and enjoyable entertainment for hundreds of students and teachers.
The club is led by teacher Paul Esposito, who meets with students throughout the year, teaching, tutoring and encouraging them. Mr. Esposito molds the group into a functioning band. Members rehearse a set of songs and later perform for their classmates each spring. This year's show was the sixth annual concert since the School of Rock was created.
The band, which goes by the name of Dark Knight, performed seven songs in whole or part and had a blast doing it. Separate shows entertained incoming fifth graders visiting Woodhull during an open house, as well as current fifth and sixth graders.
This year's club includes Ryan Hotine (guitar), Tommy Riley (guitar), Billy Garfinkel (keyboards), Steve Yeh (keyboards), Robert Simon (drums/percussion), Elizabeth Berejka (drums/percussion), Jack Glicker (saxophone), Matt Montefusco (trumpet), Torre Palmer (saxophone), Rachel Roday (clarinet) and Lauren Sage (clarinet) and singers Eileen Flores, Andrea Gomez, Ariana Pereca, Tom Stock, Mary Kate Wolber, Ifedayo Balogon, Eric Gudiel, Kayla Gomer, Ana Luna Mancia, Brenda Garcia, Nick Newell, Christie Reinertsen, Carla Tejada, Wendy Zinn, Andiz Lopez, Amber Zulijani, Luis Cuji and Katy Dara.
Dark Knight performed songs by Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin and Spencer Davis Group, in addition to two original compositions. Each of the songs was introduced by Mr. Esposito. There were also guitar solos by Messrs. Hotine and Riley.
"It was a good group to work with," Mr. Esposito said. "Each person comes with a different skill level. Some club members joined, quit and rejoined. It is a learning experience for everyone. It was a lot of fun."
Parent Mark Dara provided Mr. Esposito with musical assistance. Mr. Dara played bass guitar during Dark Knights' performances to fill out the band's sound.
Prior to Dark Knights' show, the Mr. "E."- Street Band performed. With Mr. Esposito as the group's front man on vocals, Tony Barca on guitar and vocals, Woodhull art teacher Todd Hiscox on keyboards, music teacher Mitch Malle (or Rob Lindner depending on the specific show time) on drums and Mr. Dara on bass, the band warmed up the crowd with a short set that really left everyone feeling pumped.
Mr. Esposito went out into the crowd with a wireless mic and put on an act that amazed many students. The youngsters responded in a variety of ways, from clapping and singing along to waving their arms or even dancing. "It's great to see the kids really getting into the music," Mr. Esposito. "Every entertainer likes to see that, no matter what their age is."
School of Rock members get to explore music in a unique way. They often get to discover what it is they really like and dislike and then work on refining their talent. The entire club looks forward to the series of concerts, which typically draw a crowd of parents, too.
It's been nine years since the first School of Rock club meeting. Mr. Esposito said he hopes the club continues "forever." The recent concerts seemed to stoke new interest in the club from students in the audience. "We're always looking for new members," Mr. Esposito said.
Contact Mr. Esposito (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about the School of Rock.