April Music Schedule…

Jody Rush opened up the Weston Center Winning Smiles Stage last night with a great pre-game set, and the sounds of Baseballtown continue throughout April and the rest of the 2012 R-Phils season. 

Jody Rush (jodyrush.com)

Opening Night, Thursday April 5th, features the return of Reading native and former frontman of Burnt Sienna, Jeff Ebert.  Back for his second straight Opening Night performance, Jefe is a Governor Mifflin HS graduate, and a true showman.  Although he now makes his home in Delaware, and performs down the shore for the most part, he always welcomes a return to Baseballtown and the opportunity to entertain his hometown fans.  Jeff will perform pre-game from 2-3:30PM.

Jeff Ebert (jefesolo.com)

Saturday April 7th features the first 2012 performance by the world famous Reading Phillies Mascot Band!  This special Kids Club concert event will include the usual Rock n Roll classics, with some children’s music favorites such as Mary Had A Little Lamb and The Wheels on the Bus.  Despite a recent lip-syncing controversy, the Mascot Band is the real thing.  As Quack always says, “If someone else was playing our instruments, we would probably sound a lot better!”

The String Tree Community Music Showcase returns for 15 dates this season, the first 3 of which take place on April 9th, April 10th, and April 11th.  Each showcase will feature a variety of performers during the pre-game, from 5:30-6:15PM.

April 9th – Alvernia University Tap Dancers, Singer/Songwriter Kendal Conrad, Solo Performer James Torakeo

April 10th – Albright College Choirs (Albright Angels & The Main Men)

April 11th - Perkiomen Valley HS Jazz Band

Friday April 20th will bring Grammy Award Winning guitarist David Cullen to the stage for a pre-game set (5-6:30PM).  David has been a part of the R-Phils family for many years, and fans always enjoy his wonderful music and amazing personality.  When it comes to music in Baseballtown, it doesn’t get any better than David Cullen.

David Cullen (cullenguitar.com)

Saturday April 21st is Irish Heritage Night, and will feature both pre-game and post-game enertainment.  The pre-game (4-5:30PM) will include performances by Irish Pipe & Drum groups, as well as Irish dancers.  Sullivan’s Bridge will perform post-game, immediately following the fireworks.

The String Tree Community Music Showcase rounds out the remainder of the April dates on the Weston Center Stage.

April 22nd – Pottsgrove HS Dance Team, Reading Orchestra Zone Brass Ensemble

April 24th – Muhlenberg MS Jazz Band (The Blue Groove)

April 25th - Twin Valley Elementary Fiddlers, Solo Performer Angelina Gonzalez

Stay tuned to the Sounds of Baseballtown for upcoming pre & post-game shows, as well as the 2012 Yuengling Friday Night Concert Series.  Rock n Roll!

 

 

 

Music Matters

Who is the most talented musician in the R-Phils Mascot Band?  Who cares!  This furry rock-n-roll band was never conceived with actual talent in mind, but simply a love for music, and a desire to make people of all ages dance, laugh, and feel comfortable expressing themselves through song. 

The band has certainly evolved over the past 10 years, and we have actually reached a point where people enjoy the melody as much as the mahem.  While none of the members are “trained” musicians, everyone spent time involved in some sort of music education program as youngsters.    

Quack the “Duckling” was a Suzuki violinist, and then an alto sax player through his elementary and middle school years.  Even though he walked away from music for a number of years, that early exposure allowed an older, more mature Ducky to pick up a new instrument and continue making music (at least plenty of noise!) with his friends.

Even if Quack had never played another note after middle school, the benefits of that early experience would have paid off around the pond.  Music education is about more than music.  It’s about the mind, and releasing the potential that ALL young people are born with. 

According to the Reading Musical Foundation, allow a child to play music and…

  1. Subjects like Math and Reading will be easier
  2. They will learn how to be better leaders and better team players
  3. Their self-confidence will surge
  4. They will have a better chance of graduating high school than their peers
  5. Valuing excellence will be a lifelong habit
  6. They will be less likely to try drugs and alcohol
  7. SAT scores will be higher
  8. They will be more likely to volunteer in their communities as adults

It seems obvious to encourage young people to participate in music, however, we see countless examples of music programs losing funding, or being completely eliminated as “unnecessary” investments.

In an effort to highlight the importance of music education, the R-Phils are proud to announce the return of the String Tree Community Music ShowcaseThe String Tree is a Berks County based string instrument specialist, providing and repairing top quality instruments for musicans of all ages.  For the second straight year, The String Tree will provide free tickets for performers who will be featured on the Weston Center Winning Smiles Stage at 16 games this season.  Along with having the opportunity to perform for a large audience, the Community Music showcase also allows each music program to tell their story, and raise awareness about the importance of music education.

2012 Community Music Showcase Schedule:

  • Monday, April 9th – Wilson Southern Middle School Jazz Band
  • Tuesday, April 10th – Albright College Choirs
  • Wednesday, April 11th – Perkiomen Valley High School Jazz Band
  • Sunday, April 22nd – Reading School District Orchestra Zone & Pottsgrove HS Dance Team
  • Tuesday, April 24th – Muhlenberg Middle School Jazz Band (Blue Groove)
  • Wednesday, April 25th – Twin Valley Elementary Fiddlers
  • Monday, May 14th – Cocalico High School chamber Choir
  • Tuesday, May 15th – Reading Middle School Jazz Band
  • Sunday, May 20th – Conrad Weiser Middle School Chorus & Jazz Band
  • Tuesday, May 29th – Fleetwood Middle School Chamber Orchestra & HS String Ensemble
  • Wednesday, May 30th – Hamburg Area MS/HS Jazz Band
  • Sunday, June 10th – The Red Hill Band
  • Sunday, June 17th – (TBD)
  • Sunday, July 15th – (TBD)
  • Sunday, August 5th – The Forty Niners Chorus
  • Sunday, August 26th – (TBD)

We hope to see you at the ballpark for the Community Music Showcase, and to do everything you can to support music education in your community! 

Floating into the Holiday Season

It was an early wake up call for the National Penn Bank R-Phils Mascot Band on Saturday, but as the sun broke through the clouds on Penn Street, the world’s furriest rock ‘n’ roll band came to life and spread holiday cheer to the over 10,000 parade-goers attending the annual Reading Holiday Parade.

The day ended with the unexpected awarding of 3rd Place overall to this triple threat float, featuring the Mascot Band, long-time sponsor National Penn Bank, and the always entertaining R-Phils Dance Team

This was the first appearance in the parade by the Mascot Band, and could have never happenned without the help of some great R-Phils friends.

“That’s never gonna float!”, said Blooper the Hound Dog as Rick the season ticket holder arrived with his trusty trailer in tow.

Mascot Band roadies began loading up the gear, as Rick worked diligently to secure the ever-safe “tailgate”  (a single yellow strap).  Change-Up the Turtle quickly volunteered to position himself and his protective shell at the rear of the elegant and safety-conscious stage on wheels.

 

Loaded up and on the road to downtown Reading, Bucky’s “best friend” Mike was enjoying the crisp 33 degree morning air, as Blooper’s “best friend” Gene got comfortable amongst Screwball’s drums.

 

Sitting in parade position on a quiet side street, the band arrived and tuned up for the impending performance.

The youngsters in the back of the National Penn Bank truck seemed to enjoy hearing “Feliz Navidad” over and over, as the band dialed in what proved to be a crowd favorite along the parade route.

 

Rick’s safety strap became a necessity as we almost lost Change-Up upon accelerating into final position, but all was well as we turned onto Penn Street to see the parade route ahead of us.

We cranked the sound up to “11” as we floated forward, followed closely by the Dance Team, movin’ and groovin’ to a mix of “Rudolph,” “Jingle Bells,” and atleast 7 renditions of “Feliz Navidad.” 

 

 

 

Said to have been heard as far as 3 blocks away, anyone sleeping in along the parade route was certainly awakened by the world’s largest cuckoo clock, with Quack the Duck “singing” at an unprecedented decibel level.

It was a tremendous day, and a definite highlight in the decade-long history of the Mascot Band.  Thanks to everyone involved, including National Penn Bank, the R-Phils Dance Team, season ticket holder Rick, and the thousands of screaming and dancing kids along the way.

Feliz Navidad, Prospero Ano y Felizidad! 

Mascot Band on Wheels

Just when you thought you’ve rocked out with the Mascot Band for the last time in 2011, this just in:

The R-Phils Mascot Band will be rockin’ the Reading Holiday Parade!

That’s right, the world’s furriest rock ‘n’ roll band will now be performing aboard the National Penn Bank float during this annual holiday celebration.  The boys will be doing more than just waving, as the band is planning its first ever Mascot Band Concert on Wheels!

Over the years, the band has packed up their gear and performed at several locations other than FirstEnergy Stadium, including Veterans Stadium & Citizens Bank Park, but this will mark the first time that they will actually perform in motion.

We recently caught up with lead guitar player Blooper the Hound Dog for his thoughts regarding this unique concert event:

“Quack said something about ‘Travelin Band’, but I thought he was referring to the John Fogerty song, one of my favorites.  All I know is, there better be a fire hydrant on our float.  Parades can be long!  Woof!”

You won’t want to miss this one, so head down to Penn Street in Reading on the morning of November 19th and say hello to the R-Phils Mascot Band.  You’ll probably hear a little “Feliz Navidad” and “Rockin Around the Xmas Tree”, and of course, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”  He’ll be there!

Stay tuned for photos of the parade and a recap of what stands to be a new highlight in the world of the one & only R-Phils Mascot Band!

 

So You Want to be a Rock Star?

After spending 10 years as the “Front Duck” of the Mascot Band, the R-Phils have given me the opportunity to discuss something I love more than anything in the world…Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Over the last decade, along with the evolution of the Mascot Band, Baseballtown has played host to hundreds of amazing musicians.  No longer just a place to watch a ballgame, FirstEnergy Stadium has evolved into the area’s most unique live music venue.  With the birth of the Weston Center Winning Smiles Stage in 2011, it seems like the perfect time to start a blog focusing on R-Live Music!

My mascot buddies and I may not be the most talented musicians in the world, but we love to have fun, and we’ve had the honor of sharing the stage with an amazing collection of bands, each with their own unique story and love of music.

Music is the universal language, allowing even a simple duck to communicate with humans of all ages.  I look forward to sharing The Sounds of Baseballtown with you as we move forward, and I thank all of the wonderful musicians that have shared their talents so far at America’s Classic Ballpark.

As the Mascot Band always says, “Let’s Rock!”

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