anne_mikolay_120The moment a kid picks up his or her first guitar, the “rock star” dream is born. For most, of course, that dream never materializes, and is often usurped by time and more pressing commitments. Without some pretty powerful connections, or Lady Luck dropping them in front of Simon Cowell, the average kids will never have the opportunity to “rock out” on stage. Unless, of course, they know Middletown's Bruce Gallipani.

A Brooklyn native and current New Monmouth resident, Bruce Gallipani is the founder and director of Rockit for Kids, a unique musical program that enables youngsters eight to sixteen years of age to perform before a live audience at Red Bank's Count Basie Theater. As a former drummer for the 1980s group, Xdavis, Gallipani performed in venues throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, opening for well known artists like Culture Club; his Rockit students now reap the benefits of this extensive musical experience. Since its inception, Rockit has built a solid reputation that has been rewarded by a place on the Count Basie marquee; Rockit has opened for the Marshall Tucker Band at the theater, and recently took the stage during the June appearance of the Beatles tribute band, Fab Faux.

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Bill Schneider of Rockit For Kids sings "Carry On Wayward Son" at The Count Basie Theater. (Photo by Glen DiCrocco)

If you would like to learn more about Rockit for Kids, log onto www.rockitforkids.org. But the best way to find out more is to experience Rockit in person. Their next performance will be Saturday, August 29th, at 7:00 pm at the Count Basie, and Saturday, September 20th at 1:00 pm during the Taste of Red Bank Festival.

Interested in being part of the excitement? Mark your calendars: Rockit has added two more audition dates for aspiring young performers, September 6th and September 13th, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. (To audition, kids ages eight to sixteen must play guitar, drums, bass, piano, or sing, and currently study with a private instructor.) If your child is interested in Rockit, but doesn't feel ready to perform live, don't fret! Rockit is all about developing musical ability and self-confidence. This September, Rockit will offer a training program on Thursdays for young musicians not quite ready to participate in the end-of-summer concert. Skill-building and performance enhancement classes will offer the novice an opportunity to work in a band, and according to Rockit, “to develop the necessary skills and techniques to take their musicianship to the next level.”

If your child is an aspiring performer that has been bitten by the “rock star bug,” let Bruce Gallipani's “Rockit for Kids” make that dream come true.