From the Montclair Times: Grandparents Who Rock Debuts Feb. 28

Here's a great story from the Montclair Times about Grandparents Who Rock; It explains just who are the grandparents who rock (No, it's not Mick and Keith...)

Grandparents Who Rock debuts Feb. 28
By Jill Berke
for the Montclair Times

What do a professional cabaret singer, two piano players at Nordstrom, a Latin music-loving couple with six grandchildren, a 62-year-old who last sang at her Mt. Hebron middle school talent show, and a 71-year-old who has been singing for the public since age 3 have in common?

Besides their passion for music, all are charter members of Grandparents Who Rock. It is the slightly grayer version of Parents Who Rock, which has taken Montclair musically by a storm.

Saturday, Feb. 28., is the debut performance of GWR. Eight song mavens will strut their stuff at the Diva Lounge from 7 to 10 p.m. Profits from the admission price of $10 will go to Little Kids Rock, a Montclair-based national organization that provides musical instruments for local public schools.

Jim Stiener, 71. a Montclair grandfather and businessman, is the muse for this silver-toned spin-off.

A veteran a cappella singer with New York City's Big Apple Chorus and a barbershop quartet tenor since college, Steiner was the 2007 winner of Sing New Jersey.

His girlfriend--full disclosure: that is me, the writer of this article--watched as he crooned and danced his way to winning the contest's adult division. Steiner rocked the house, and the idea of Grandparents Who Rock was born that night.

Alma Schneider, founder of Parents Who Rock, was receptive to forming an older-generation version of her nonprofit music organization.

"I love it," Schneider said when she first heard about Steiner and the possibility of putting other grandparentally aged singers together onstage. Schneider assembled an impressive roster of performers.

Montclair vocalist Barbara McCarthy, who has appeared off-Broadway, on television, and in local cabaret spots, will open the show. McCarthy said she "had a weak moment during the Obama inauguration when he talked about doing service.

When I saw a piece in the paper about this group, I just wanted to be a part of it. It's part civic for me and part social."

McCarthy, the only performer who is not a grandparent, will sing standards from her cabaret repertoire.

Meg Beattie-Patrick, 50, a mother of three, described herself as a jazzer, not a rocker.

"I'm channeling Billie Holiday," Beattie-Patrick said about her performance.

Vivian and Luis Schuchinski ar billed as "Bello and Bella." The couple sings Latin favorites backed up by family members.

Classically trained pianist and singer Joan Streit is one of the Nordstrom piano players to take the GWR stage.

Barbara Evans Hassenfeld, who plays at Nordstrom and with the JCC Jazz Ensemble, noted that "everyone in my family sings, including my three children, six grandchildren, even my granddog.."

Montclair native and grandmother Jane Susswein is returning to the stage after singing as a child at Mt. Hebron School and more recently at her synagogue.

Frank Cagliostro is a Frank Sinatra-type crooner and grandfather who says he just loves to sing

Together these are the sultry silver sounds of Grandparents Who Rock.

Age is just a number to each singer, and on Feb. 28 the magic number is three--three songs to a set that each will perform. It ought to be grand to hear them.

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