01/15/08 — Rock 'n' roll on loan at county's library

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Rock 'n' roll on loan at county's library

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on January 15, 2008 1:45 PM

Normally, the Wayne County Public Library is a quiet place.

No loud music. No singing.

You might even get shushed if you speak loudly across the table to a friend.

But Friday night was a little out of the ordinary for the Ash Street building.

Nearly 100 teenagers decided to turn the staid atmosphere on its head, with a concert featuring six rock bands.

The event was the idea of Parker Harris, a former Eastern Wayne High School student, who earlier this year appeared before the City Council asking for permission to open a place for young people to gather where no alcohol nor drugs would be tolerated.

But the City Council denied his request, saying there were too many questions unanswered.

That didn't stop Harris, who now attends Wayne Com-munity College.

And it didn't deter young adult librarian Brandon Robbins. Robbins knew Harris' mother who used to work at the library, and after meeting at the "Geeks and Games" event at the library, he started talking with her and asking her what Harris was trying to do.

"Brandon called me up and asked if we wanted to play at the auditorium here," Harris said. "Brandon's the one who has gotten this all set up. We wouldn't be here doing this if it wasn't for him."

Robbins shrugged off the compliment, saying that giving these teens a place to come and express themselves was just something the library needed to do.

So after the logistics were set up, Harris' band "El Toro En Fuego", which includes bandmates Brandon Williams, Joe DiCesare and Jon Aguilar, joined with a few other bands to start playing concerts every second Friday of the month.

And the best part is, the concerts are free.

"We just wanted to get together and play," Harris said.

This week, there were six bands, including one, "Exit Box", that traveled all the way from Charlotte and another, "Nugget", that traveled to the library from Greensboro for the second time.

What made them come to Goldsboro?

They saw the concert on the MySpace page for "The Boot" and just wanted to come participate.

"These guys are great," Harris said. "They came all the way from (Charlotte and) Greensboro to play, for free."

For some teenagers, it has become part of their normal routine.

Bethany Evans, 14, a freshman at Eastern Wayne High School, has been to every one.

She comes to see "Nugget" play.

"They are awesome," she said.

For others, like her friend Amanda Hodges, 16, a junior at Eastern Wayne High School, it was their first time attending.

"We came just to hang out," Ms. Hodges said. "Bethany told us the music was great."

Another first-timer, Rex Rose, 14, a freshman at Charles B. Aycock High School, said the concerts would be a permanent part of his calendar in the next few months.

"I will probably make this a normal occurrence," he said.

CoraBeth Hann, 14, also a freshman at Charles B. Aycock High School, said the concerts give a much needed lift to Goldsboro's social and night life.

"Goldsboro is like the weakest place ever, isn't it?" she asked. "But here, you don't even have to know the bands. You can just come and hang out. It's just something different to do on Friday nights."

Rose agreed.

"This helps (with the boredom)," he said. "Let's just put it that way."

Crystal Lemmon, 17, a senior at Eastern Wayne High School, said it was a very informal place to socialize.

"It's gives us something to do," she said. "It's just a nice place to come and hang out and listen to music."

That's exactly what Robbins wanted the concerts to be.

"We really try to make it both a place where they don't have to follow so many rules and make it safe," he said.

One staff member and one volunteer are at every event. For the most part, the teenagers behave. They realize that the library is doing something for them, too, Robbins said.

"We have had to break up a couple of mosh pits before, but that's about it," he said.

Starting with the next concert, Robbins hopes to have off-duty policemen there to help with security and safety.

Bu the teenagers aren't the only ones who find the concerts to be a good time.

Parents love them, too.

Guitarist Brian Heim's parents attended most of the evening.

"We love that the library is offering something for these kids," Jenny Heim said.

"It's a good thing," her husband Denny said.

Friday was the third concert in the series. Robbins and Harris hope to hold the events every second Friday through August. The June and July concerts may have to be held on the third Friday. They would like to hold concerts in October and November, but with holidays, it may be tough, they said.

Just stay tuned to "The Boot"'s MySpace page at myspace.com/thebootmusic for the details, Harris said.

Other bands in Friday's concert included SOS and Starlight.

And even though the concerts are going well, "The Boot" isn't out of his sights.

"The last word on the club was bleak, but I'm not giving up," he said.

Harris has a Realtor and a few bankers working with him to find a perfect place for his club.

"My dad is also helping me out a lot," he said.

Right now, he is looking at the recently closed Berkeley Four Cinemas, commonly called "The Dollar Theater" by most.

"I'd like to buy it if the price isn't too high," Harris said.

He knows he may have to go through a corporation to get the theater, but he already has plans in the making.

"I'd like to keep one room for $1 movies, make two rooms into concert areas and make one room into a video game room or something like that," Harris said. "I want to keep with the same idea as the original "Boot", but I need to rework the designs since it is for a whole new area. I'm working on it though."