RBR GETS HANDS-ON WITH THE LENNON BUS

lennon-bus2RBR’s Fab Five students, who had a chance Thursday to record a song in the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Short of a class trip to Abbey Road Studios, it’s tough to compete with what Red Bank Regional students were treated to on Thursday: The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a sleek, sky-blue recording studio on wheels that typically garners reactions similar to that of Matt Dubrow, a senior.

“I’ve been recording studios before, but never one on four wheels,” he said. “It’s awesome. It’s awesome.”

The bus, named for one of the Fab Four and outfitted with top-of-the-line instruments and recording equipment, made the stop to give a select group of students the chance to record a song and music video in the bus. All other students and staff had an opportunity to geek out over the Lennon paraphernalia and instruments on display outside.

“It’s kind of like field day, but for music,” said Kerry McNulty, RBR’s band director.

lennon-bus1Matt and Chris Dubrow, of Shrewsbury, act John and Paul-ish outside Red Bank Regional High School, where the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus made a stop. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

The bus, put into commission in 2008, travels here, there and everywhere, you could say, for most of the year. Its most recent endeavor was traveling with the Black Eyed Peas. Driver Chris Walker said the bus and crew hit random events, concerts, trade shows and conventions showing off and letting people into the studio.

But more than anything, its purpose is to pull up to school parking lots and give students a hands-on experience in recording music.

Nine students from the school’s new music technology department were chosen to spend serious time in the bus, composing and recording a song and music video with the bus’s team of producers and engineers. The students learned how to use the studio, and got a chance to do some editing as well. The finished products will be available on the bus’s website, YouTube and RBR website, said Barbara DiLea, supervisor of the visual and performing arts academy.

Throughout the day, students milled around the bus and some tried on the guitars on display outside. During a break in recording, Dubrow and his younger brother Chris picked up the bass and guitar and did an impromptu version of “Baba O’Reilly” by The Who — not a choice you’d expect two teenagers to break into.

But McNulty, a musician and Lennon lover, said watching the students during the day gave her a new perspective on the tastes, and knowledge, of the ones she’s teaching.

“You would be surprised how many kids love The Beatles and love Lennon,” she said.

And you might be surprised to know how much McNulty wished she was in their shoes Thursday.

“For me, it’s really fun to have the kids involved in this thing,” she said, but, “I’m almost jealous of them.”