By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
From mom-and-pop op to corporate giant, the space is once again open to young shredders, ivory ticklers and timekeepers in the Red Bank area.
School of Rock, the national titan of the music lesson and performance industry, reopened its doors on a once-thriving block of music education late last month.
The move marks a full return to Red Bank for the corporation, which had operated out of the Community YMCA’s Children’s Cultural Center, across the street at 51 Monmouth, about five years ago. From January through May of this year, it subleased space at its current location from Summit Music for classes twice a week while maintaining a full-time spot in Matawan.
When Summit abruptly cleared out of 52 Monmouth, general manager Janet Wheeler jumped at the opportunity to bring the program back to town.
“We wanted the space all to ourselves. We found out they (Summit) were gone, so we reached out to the landlord and got in here,” said Wheeler, of Red Bank. “We’re really happy to be back.”
Wheeler told redbankgreen she has no idea what happened with Summit, which revamped its business model at the beginning of the year to focus on children’s music education but quietly left town just before Memorial Day. Summit’s move from Red Bank came within days of down-the-street neighbor Honey Child Music, a longtime kids music spot, pulling up stakes for Middletown.
The School of Rock chain, which has about 70 operations nationwide, officially opened on Monmouth July 30, and is currently working on outfitting the space with a new rehearsal studio while trying to pull in students for its next semester, which begins in September.
In School of Rock, students from ages six to 18 enroll for lessons in which they learn to play as a group, practice sets and perform at the end of the semester in a local venue, usually reproducing the music of past chart-toppers. Wheeler said she’s lined up a January performance of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” at The Downtown.
Wheeler, who’s son, Ryan, graduated from School of Rock and plays in a band, Outside The Box, said the school’s re-entry to Red Bank on a multi-year lease adds to the culture in town while offering options for the local kids.
“I just believe in it,” she said. “It’s a good place for the kids to go.”
The school serves Monmouth County. Registration is available on its website or via email here for info on a free trial lesson. Open houses are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the remaining Saturdays in August.