“I’m gonna live this life with all my might/Make the most of everyday,” sings Roger Street Friedman on “Everyday,” the first single from his second album, “Shoot the Moon,” which was released in January. The Sea Cliff singer-songwriter is living up to his words. This spring he will be touring with his band, Roger Street Friedman, which includes fellow Sea Cliff musicians Frank Ferrara and Matthew Schneider. This summer the band will take part in Schneider’s fifth annual SummerStrings! RockFest, playing music and sharing insight with string players in elementary, middle and high school. The festival culminates with a concert at The Space in Westbury on July 26.
“I am really excited to participate,” says Friedman. “I think working and performing the songs with the kids will be a great experience for all of us.” Friedman’s new album has been noted to combine Americana, folk, blues, and soul. Schneider, who plays bass with the band in addition to leading the music festival and teaching private string and piano lessons to kids throughout the year, believes Friedman’s songs will introduce kids to “some of the American traditions in string music. Roger’s music has roots in country music, blues, gospel and fiddling music,” says Schneider. “This record just released and I thought it would be cool for kids to be involved in a project that is being born right now.”
All band members, including drummer Jim Toscano, violinist Concetta Abatte and guitarist Frank Ferrara, have much experience teaching music to kids. Ferrara, who has taken part in past SummerStrings! concerts gives private lessons, helps his students form bands and encourages them to play at local events. He learned by playing with other musicians and is looking forward to mentoring kids at SummerStrings!
“Playing an instrument on your own is an absolutely wonderful thing,” says Ferrara. “However, to experience more fully what it means to be a musician, playing with and for other people, is something for which there is no substitute. I want students to have the full experience of ensemble performance, the ‘on-the-job’ training.”
Schneider designed the festival to do just that. Working with professional musicians “brings real-world musical experiences and artistry to teaching,” he explained. Friedman enjoys sharing the inspirations for his songs and looks forward to giving SummerStrings! kids insight into his songwriting. Tracks on “Shoot the Moon” describe life’s challenges as well as beautiful moments. “Songwriting is difficult, but also the most fulfilling and cathartic aspect of being a musician,” Schneider says.
While SummerStrings! draws kids from surrounding areas, rehearsals take place in Sea Cliff, a few blocks from where Friedman recorded “Shoot the Moon” in his home studio. He filmed the video in Sea Cliff for his song “Everyday.” “We shot it over the course of two days at a number of locations including Woodpecker Hall and Still Partners,” Friedman explained. “Sea Cliff is such a beautiful and magical place. The whole community was very supportive and having so many friends participate was wonderful.”
Watch Friedman’s video at https://youtu.be/DTXmc1Eld5Q. Then visit www.seacliffmusic.com for details about how to see the band perform a full set with the SummerStrings! kids in July.
“I am always amazed at the level of talent of the kids in this community, as well as the support for the arts programs,” says Friedman. “These children are the next generation of musicians and to participate in a small way in their musical development feels great.”