PWR to the parents

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

of The Montclair Times

“Go Play Outside” is on its way for people to play.

The debut CD by the Parents Who Rock assemblage is packed with tunes performed by local musicians. Profits from the CD’s $10 price will be donated to the construction of a playground being developed in Montclair for all children, including kids who need some extra help when playing outside.

“It’s a huge musical bang for the buck because it’s only $10,” said Alma Schneider, a Montclair resident who founded Parents Who Rock.

The nearly two dozen tracks include rock and folk tunes, love ballads and blues, Brazilian jazz and pop. “We are an open-opportunity association,” Schneider said. “Half the songs are originals, half are covers.”

Several years ago, Schneider had the vision to initiate a lineup of musicians who, as with herself, had put aside their instruments or relinquished live performances. Many of them had shelved their youthful rock-music lifestyles and, instead, became wage earners, spouses and parents.

She perceived that creating Parents Who Rock would be a catalyst for reinvigorating the Dr. Rocker sequestered within Mr. or Mrs. Homebody.

“These are all people who put their music aside to do other things in their lives,” Schneider said of the many Montclair members.

Parents Who Rock performs live several times each year, most recently in the Diva Lounge on Bloomfield Avenue and the Commonwealth Club on Northview Avenue.

After establishing the organization, Schneider realized that just as getting together made members feel good, they also possessed the power to do good.

She and her fellow rocking parents decided to donate the ticket prices for their performances to local, national and international charitable efforts, such as financial relief for tsunami victims.

“It’s all these different people doing what they love to do, all for a great cause.”

As a mom, Schneider focused on the playground in Edgemont Memorial Park, which is slated to be reconfigured, as the next beneficiary of Parents Who Rock.

“We want to raise money and raise awareness for this playground,” Schneider said. “It’s going to be an awesome playground for everybody. Not to be corny, but this is a place where everybody will be on the same playing field.”

The special, or full-access, playground, will be built in spring 2008 and will feature a play-stations, surfaces and entrances “all designed to accommodate children with disabilities and special needs,” according to Township Manager Joseph Hartnett.

“Unfortunately,” Hartnett explained in a release, “playgrounds of this nature are extremely expensive, costing as much as four times or more what a standard playground costs.”

The Township Council has committed $200,000 to this project and Montclair has obtained a $50,000 state grant towards the endeavor.

“But the playground is going to cost $400,000,” Hartnett stated, “which is why we have a fundraising goal of $150,000 to seek from private donations and foun-dation grants.”

Hartnett has formed the For All Children Committee to raise private donations to construct the full-access playground in Edgemont Memorial Park.

Herself a committee member, Schneider, through Parents Who Rock, intends to raise money for the full-access playground. Along with proceeds from “Go Play Outside,” she expects Parents Who Rock to perform a fundraiser in spring 2008, and she may even organize bake sales in town.

She’s reached out to several businesses, schools and the YMCA to purvey the CD, and Schneider intends to get local synagogues and churches to spread the musical sales.

Joining the many musicians who have donated songs and performances to the CD are Dave Cushing of Snowdome Studios in Montclair, who recorded, mixed and produced “Go Play Outside,” along with playing drums on two tracks, and graphic designer Lauren Kaiser, who created the CD cover. Stephen Chukumba of Marksmen Productions is constructing a Web site for Parents Who Rock.

“It’s a serious recording. Everybody sounds professional,” Schneider said of “Go Play Outside.” “Dave Cushing is the man behind the music. This wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for him. He’s definitely a parent who rocks.”

Schneider’s ambitious goals for “Go Play Outside” are limitless. She cited “the ‘no teacher left behind’ mission of Parents Who Rock: We want every single teacher, assistant, therapist, nurse and other school staff to receive a copy of the CD for the holidays. Go out and buy one for your kids’ school staff for the holiday.”

The group has created a Web site,, featuring samples of music on the CD.

“The more you buy, the better you will feel,” Schneider whimsically stated to The Times. “Great music, supporting your neighbor’s musical endeavors, supporting a charity and giving someone or yourself a unique gift.

“This is a perfect example of the community spirit of Montclair and the holiday spirit of ‘gift giving,’ with all the performers donating their time and talents,” Schneider observed.

“It really shows the spirit of the holidays.”

Contact Mark S. Porter at

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