Rock the Park V bridges the generation gap

Courtesy of  Great River Arts

Rock the Park V will bridge the generation gap with musicians of various ages performing music from different eras. Pictured is the horn section (from left): Preston Weber, Gary Tschudy, Dwight Nelson and Jocelynn Moran.
Rock the Park V will bridge the generation gap with musicians of various ages performing music from different eras. Pictured is the horn section (from left): Preston Weber, Gary Tschudy, Dwight Nelson and Jocelynn Moran.

Back for another year of musical talent and an evening of fun, organizers say Rock the Park V is guaranteed to be an event for everyone to enjoy.

Taking place at Maple Island Park in downtown Little Falls Saturday, Aug. 16, and presented by Rudolph Auto Solutions and Great River Arts, Rock the Park is a free annual outdoor concert and fundraiser for Great River Arts.

The opening act Bobb Gatts and Kristen Blann will start at 6 p.m. and Brother’s Tone and The Big Groove will take the stage from 7 p.m. -10 p.m.

Rock the Park offers a unique concert experience because of the representation of local talent from various generations.

Rock the Park is bridging the generation gap both in performance and performers. The separation of generations among the horn section is particularly interesting.

Members of the horn section include Dwight Nelson, Gary Tschudy, Craig Mesenbring, Jocelynn Moran and Preston Weber. Moran and Weber being part of the Millennial generation, while Tschudy, Nelson and Mesenbring are of the Baby Boomers. Rock the Park successfully bridges generation gaps by bringing musicians together to create music that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Growing up listening and performing music of the 30s and 40s, Tschudy, an alto saxophone player, is actually experimenting with a different genre of music with Rock the Park. “I’m the one having the most trouble with Rock the Park music. I’ve played mainly the Classic Jazz Standards in my playing career,” Tschudy said.

Rock the Park is sticking to its rhythm and soul groove with music from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

Although the style of much of the music is not representational of Moran’s and Preston’s generation, relating to the classic music is not a problem. Nelson, a former Little Falls high school band director, trumpet player and lifelong musician is confident the younger generations are able to relate to the Rock the Park music.

“The genre of music we play is truly timeless,” Nelson said.

Moran, a young, but experienced trombone player, finds herself relating more to the classic music chosen for Rock the Park than the music of her own generation.

Moran said, “Most, if not all, of the songs we have played I grew up listening to at some stage in my life. My music library ranges from Beethoven to Led Zeppelin. I love all music making Rock the Park one of the highlights of my entire summer.”

Working with a generation gap may seem like a daunting task, but the horn section members love rising to the challenge. Nelson enjoys encouraging the younger players to reach their full potential through music.

The appetite for music is shared among the generations. Working closely with other experienced individuals that harbor a similar ardor for music is a unique opportunity.

Moran acknowledges the passion found among her section members for music. “What makes their experience in music even better is their love for music,” she said. “Being with others who love what they are doing is truly inspiring.”

The two generations came together based on their pure love of music. The enthusiasm for music is not only enough to bring the two generations together, but enough to create a special bond between them.

A new appreciation for both the older and younger generations has developed through the understanding and enthusiasm for music.

The younger members take advantage of the chance to learn valuable skills from the more experienced members that enjoy teaching them everything they know.

Weber, a tenor saxophone player, and current music education major at the University of Minnesota, values the opportunity to grow as a musician.

“Working with people of many different ages is a wonderful learning experience. Some of the people have been performing music for decades, and they have a lot of knowledge and experience that I try to absorb,” Weber said.

“It didn’t take me long to realize that this young man was years above his age with a gift of music talent and maturity. He surpassed my expectations,” Nelson said of Weber.

Rock the Park not only develops camaraderie among band members, but resonates unity throughout the audience as well. The classic music gives the community a reason to come together and take in a summer night on the banks of the Mississippi.

“If you listen to classic rock and can’t dance, sing along or smile, there’s something wrong with you,” Nelson said.

Rock the Park’s audience ranges from kids to adults and is enjoyed by all.

Food and beverage vendors will be onsite.