RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Joe Oriente thought he'd traded his musical career for parenthood -- until he discovered Dads Night Band.
All the village resident had to do was dust off his guitars and muster up the courage to play before a group of strangers for the first time in more than a decade.
“As soon as my guitars came back out again it felt really good to play,” said Oriente, one of several musicians in the band’s rotating cast of 12.
Dads Night band is an extension of “Dads Night," an organization that raises money for the Somerville and Hawes elementary schools.
The band provides the background music at all of the organization's events and held its final performance of the season on Oct. 25.
“I’ve been told listening to our music is like putting an iPod on shuffle,” said bandmate Rich Leonarz, who plays guitar, trumpet and mandolin.
The 40-song sets strike a balance between classic rock and modern music that the musicians' children can jam along to.
Dads Night Band performed "Best Day of My Life," by the American Authors and "You Wreck Me," by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, among other hits at the 10th Annual Motorcycle Classic last weekend.
“Classics are classics for a reason," Leonarz said. "You need to keep that stuff in the back pocket.”
Dads Night Band has a high turnover rate: To participate you must have children in elementary school. The comings-and-goings add interest -- and challenges.
“You get people who have different tastes of music and skill,” he said. “At the same time, it’s tough to see how they fit in with the rest of the guys.”
Leonarz and Oriente both agreed that Dads Night Band has brought them friendships they might otherwise not have had.
“We’re a great group of friends all playing for a super good reason," Oriente said. “It’s nice to be brought together under the objective of helping raise money for our schools.”
CLICK HERE for Dads Night Band's Facebook page.
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