Montclair organization Parents Who Rock hosts its '2016 Parents Who Rock Tribute Show: One Hit Wonders' event on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Bnai Keshet synagogue to raise funds and awareness for the 2016 Disability Pride parade. Pictured is Lincoln Saltzman, 11, of Montclair, who lives with Prader-Willi syndrome, at last summer's Disability Pride Parade in New York City.
FEBRUARY 9, 2016 LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2016, 4:27 PM
BY BOB CANNON
STAFF WRITER |
THE MONTCLAIR TIMES
From the Beatles to the Stones to Michael Jackson, the biggest names in pop music history all have a long string of hits. But every true pop fan also has a favorite flash in the pan - maybe Gerardo crooning "Rico Suave" or Debby Boone wailing "You Light Up My Life" - who burned brightly for a moment then quickly vanished.
The Montclair organization, Parents Who Rock, will be celebrating those momentary megastars with a fundraising event on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 7 to 10 p.m. Twenty of the area's musical talents from PWR will be dusting off their favorite obscure tunes at the 2016 Parents Who Rock Tribute Show: One Hit Wonders! The show will be held at Bnai Keshet, 99 South Fullerton Ave., to raise funds and awareness for this summer's 2016 Disability Pride parade, which will be held in New York on July 10. Tickets for the Parents Who Rock show can be purchased at the PayPal link at parentswhorock.com.
Over the past 11 years, Parents Who Rock events have spotlighted the music of artists like Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. But PWR founder, Alma Schneider, credited her husband, Brian Saltzman, with the one-hit wonder idea. "We had a lot of the women say, 'Why aren't you choosing a woman?'" said Schneider. "We didn't want to keep choosing men. But this gave people the opportunity and the option to do a man or a woman. This really opens it up, and it allows one-hit wonders from any era, and any type of music. So we're hoping that we'll have a nice variety."
It's not the first time that PWR has been involved with the disabled community. "We collaborated about five years ago with Parents Who Rock," said Dave Fucio, chair of the Township of Montclair's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, which addresses a range of disability issues for citizens of all ages. "They ran a concert where we were helping to organize the all-children's playground at Edgemont Park, because the playground was woefully in need of restoration. Alma knows, from her own experience, a lot of people who have kids with special needs. So there's lots of cross-fertilization between People with Disabilities and SEPAC, the Special Education Parent Advisory Council."
Tying the One-Hit Wonders event to the Disability Pride Parade has special meaning for Schneider. Her and Saltzman's son, Lincoln, was born with a rare syndrome called Prader-Willi, which prevents the stomach from sending a signal to the brain to say it's full. "It's very dangerous," said Schneider, "because people who have this can literally die from overeating."
Dealing with her son's condition, however, spurred her into action. "I was depressed because of Lincoln when he was born," she recalled. "It was so hard for me emotionally that somebody said, 'You need to get creative again.' And that's how I started Parents Who Rock."
Making a connection
Lincoln's diagnosis had one other benefit. While taking him into New York for treatment, Schneider met jazz musician Mike LeDonne, who has played with the likes of Sonny Rollins to Milt Jackson, as well as making Trumpets in Montclair one of his regular stops. LeDonne's daughter Mary also suffers from Prader-Willi, and was also diagnosed with hydrocephalus. After spending years observing the misperceptions and injustices heaped upon the disabled, he created the Disability Pride parade, which was inaugurated last July.
"Alma and I both got plunged into the same world," said LeDonne. "I think our two children were the first two children born in St. Luke's Hospital in New York City with Prader-Willi syndrome. That's how rare it is.
"Their hospital called us and said they had a mom who just had a Prader-Willi child, and she was having kind of a rough time. So she came over here, and we helped her. We said, 'Look, he's fine. The troubles that come up, you'll deal with them, and you can just make things work.'"
Parading for Awareness
"The parade is about two things," explained LeDonne. "The parade is about instilling pride in the community, and also tearing down the walls between the disabled and abled world. We want inclusion of everybody together, and we thought on a day of celebration, that would be a nice thing, where everyone is having a good time.
"We're trying to bring focus to the community. Period. All year long. To me the Disability Pride parade is the umbrella celebration for all issues for the disabled community.
"We're about inclusion. We want the abled people to stop feeling sorry for the disabled people and treating them like fragile little broken damaged goods. They might be in a wheelchair, or they might have problems from a disability. But they're people who need to make a living. They need housing, they need to eat, they want to get married, things that everyone else does, that's what they want to do, but they're actually just kind of shoved in the background now. And we're trying to take them out of the background, and say, 'They're just folks. These are people.'
Music of Montclair
"It's not just a fun musical get-together for parents to show their talent," added LeDonne. "The cause is not just a New Jersey thing that they're raising the money for. It's a worldwide thing. It has no boundaries of race, states, countries, religions, you name it, it has no boundaries. Because everybody is disabled, all over the world. It knows no limits."
"I'm always impressed by the volunteerism in town," said Fucio, of the Parents Who Rock event. "I think it's a good way to have a celebration of understanding that there is a lot of variety in the world. And people can be involved in things, regardless of whatever physical challenges they might have."
In short, the evening promises to be a fun gathering for a serious cause. It's a chance for the disabled community to reach out with the message that David Soul - a classic one-hit wonder - sang in 1977: "Don't Give Up on Us."