Marc Capponi, also known as “Boogie Woogie Bennie” of Rocknoceros, has watched his audience grow up before his eyes. That’s what happens when you perform to a room full of toddlers, elementary school kids and their parents, for nearly 15 years.
“Luckily, no matter when it was in the last 14 years, there’s always been a group of families that come to see us play a lot. And when the kids start to go off to school and get older, they come less,” says Capponi. “But as they age out, you’ve got another new, younger group of kids coming in to enjoy our music.”
Local children’s band Rocknoceros formed in Fairfax in 2005 with Capponi, and his two best friends, David “Coach” Cotton and Patrick “Williebob” Williams. Cotton and Capponi had been best friends since they attended elementary school together in Fairfax, and after Cotton had children in the early 2000s, the trio was inspired to create fun, kid-friendly music that would be educational and enjoyable, even for the adults in the room.
The band has played weekly at Jammin Java from the beginning, and has since released five albums and performed all over the United States, including Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and The Kennedy Center. Now, they’re returning to their weekly venue on Sept. 28, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their 2009 album Pink!.
The band is planning to play the entire album, but with a little surprise (yet to be fully confirmed because, well, more children are involved). Former super fans of the band (Coach Cotton’s children, who are now teenagers), are expected to perform with the trio as a “horn section,” according to Capponi.
“Alumni jam sessions,” as Capponi calls them, have been on the band’s radar and they’re hoping the performance at Pink!’s 10th anniversary will get more former fans interested.
“There were a lot of kids who would pretend to be playing [instruments] in the audience while we were performing, and some of those kids are now playing real instruments, and they’re actually really good,” says Capponi. Two of which were Cotton’s kids, who were around 5 and 7 years old when Pink! was released. “So we’ve thought a lot about doing a showcase with the older kids to come up and play where we feature different kids and parents to get everyone back together.”
The band is hoping that the first of the “showcase series,” will be a hit at the anniversary celebration, and plans to continue with performances through the rest of the year and into 2020 by also bringing in students from local music programs. Capponi is still amazed that kids continue to grow up loving and pursuing music simply because of the beloved band.
“To have that effect on people, I feel like it’s a very positive thing,” he says. “And it’s so great to see the kids get into it.”
More than anything, Capponi hopes that Rocknoceros will see plenty of new and old fans come around to sing along to their favorites at Jammin Java, and show the community just how impactful the band’s presence has been.
“I am so grateful for this experience,” says Capponi. “It is not uncommon for us to marvel at how lucky we are as we’re setting our stuff up and thinking, ‘Wow, we’ve got it made.’ We are lucky to have had so much support that has allowed us to do this in the DMV and beyond.”
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