Van Zandts RockitCount Basie Theatre board members Maureen and Steven Van Zandt (center) are pictured with performers from the Rockit Live music program at a 2014 concert event. The Van Zandts will be guest of honor at Rockit’s inaugural fundraising gala on September 25. (Photo courtesy Rockit Live Foundation)

Press release from Rockit Live Foundation

The Rockit Live Foundation is pleased to announce its inaugural gala, honoring Maureen and Steven Van Zandt for their lifetime devotion and contribution to young artists and music education.

A benefit dinner will be held at Buona Sera Palazzo Banquet Hall in Ocean Township on the afternoon of Sunday, September 25, and will feature livemusical performances from the young Rockit musicians, along with Steven Van Zandt and special guests.

The Rockit Live Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, reaching out to help develop, nurture, and inspire young music performers to reach their full artistic potential through live music education offered at the Count Basie Theatre. The foundation’s defining mission and focus is outreach and music scholarships. The Rockit Live Foundation also endeavors to build character as well as talent, and instills confidence and team skills with an emphasis on live, stage performance. Our Artist Advisory Board members  include Maureen and Steven Van Zandt, legendary rock drummer Carmine Appice, and rising vocal star Jacquie Lee.

Rockit is the leading “live performance music  program” in New Jersey for young musicians, with alumni having gone on to tour with Steve Vai and perform with Keith Urban, The Marshall Tucker Band, Animals vocalist Eric Burdon, Steven Van Zandt, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Carmine Appice, Gary U.S. Bonds, Jon Bon Jovi, Deborah Harry, and many others. In addition, Rockit vocalist and alumni, Jacquie Lee, starred on NBC TV’s The Voice and is currently recording with Atlantic Records.

Rockit was created in 2004 by Brooklyn-based drummer Bruce Gallipani. The program was inspired by Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio show and the concept that rock music can provide positive reinforcement and well being for today’s youth. Its curriculum takes on full-length albums and themes to deliver outstanding renditions of classics like The Who’s Tommy and Who’s Next, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Janis Joplin’s Pearl, and a tribute to Woodstock. Since its inception, Rockit has worked with more than 1,700 young musicians to kick-start their careers and assist in leading them to the most prestigious music colleges in the United States.

Van Zandt is chairman of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, a non-profit that has developed a History of Rock and Roll curriculum called “Rock and Roll: An American Story,” an online educational resource offered  free-of-charge to educators and individuals everywhere. Interdisciplinary in nature, it is geared toward middle and high school students but includes resources for learning at all levels.

Steven and his wife Maureen, along with Paul Shaffer and Joe Grano (Jersey Boys), have joined Broadway-bound musical Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story as lead producers. Van Zandt will also serve as the show’s musical director. Recently it was announced that Steven and Maureen have also been named to the board of trustees and directors of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank as well as the Rockit Live Foundation Artists Advisory Board.

Take it here to reserve  tickets ($200 per person; $100 for Rockit musicians and alumni or children under 12), or for sponsorship info on the September 25 gala event, scheduled for 4 p.m.