Four years ago, when musicians thought up the idea of doing a fundraiser to help the Elks Special Needs Fund in Hoboken, some thought about getting members of the old high school band back together.
“But when we put it out on social media, we really didn’t get a big response,” said James Marnell, who among other things, plays trumpet. “So we thought, why not reach out to all musicians from Hoboken who played here over the years.”
In 1970s and 1980s, Hoboken was seen as a musical mecca on the level of Austin, Texas and Seattle, Wash.; a breeding ground for local talent.
As the idea grew, the Hoboken All Star Music Jam began to bring together some of Hoboken’s legendary bands, focusing on Hoboken-bred musicians and bands from the ’70s and ’80s who made their mark on the local scene playing festivals, clubs, and bars in one of the trendiest, most influential, recognizable cities in the country.
“Many of the people come from all over the region, having moved on from Hoboken, but still see Hoboken as their home,” he said.
Although many of these people wandered near and far, Marnell said, few forgot their roots in Hoboken, and so when the idea grew into a real event, the response was overwhelming. Some traveled back to take part from as near as Secaucus or Bayonne, while others came from places like Old Bridge and other towns in central and southern New Jersey. Some even responded from places in Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
Over the first two years of the event, members from bands such as Krystal, Pegasus, Attacker, Mad Dog Mary, Calimax, Rachel, Pops Mamin, Dorian Gray, Centerfold and others came together to jam.
This year’s performance will be held on March 25, from 2 to 10 p.m. Tickets cost $26. Hoboken Elks Lodge 74 is located at 1005 Washington St. All money raised will be donated to the Hoboken Elks Lodge 74 Handicapped Children’s Fund. The go to: www.facebook.com/hobokenjam for ticketing information.
Too successful to manage
In the past, the six-hour event was more successful than many imagined, raising $14,000 the first year and $20,000 last year. However, the sheer number of musicians proved unwieldy when trying to get them all together to rehearse.
“They are coming back to Hoboken to play again and to raise funds for needy children.” – Nancy Marnell
Nancy Marnell, singer and flute player, who recently took up the saxophone, said she evolved out of classical music and has since transitioned to rock.
“We decided to break the jam up into smaller groups so they could organize themselves,” she said.
The group that she, James and Nancy Truppner belong to is called Summer 16, and has about 12 members, covering a variety of music from rock and Latin to R&B and classic rock. They rehearse in Bayonne, Hoboken, and Jersey City.
“These are very talented people,” Truppner said.
“And we’re playing for a great cause,” James Marnell said.
“They are coming back to Hoboken to play again and to raise funds for needy children,” Nancy Marnell said.
Students from Stevens Institute of Technology will be involved both as volunteers as well as performers.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.