Twice every week the members of a Jacksonville band known as The Flashbacks collect in a gymnasium to observe.
There are as many as 15 members at anyone time and most of them sing and play devices, starting from the keyboard and bass guitar to drums and ukuleles. They carry out well-liked music from the Sixties to the 2000s, together with blues, pop and nation.
Bryant, who on this case will solely be referred to by his first identify, sings and performs the tambourine.
“I’m a reasonably quiet particular person … Music has helped me to seek out my voice,” he mentioned. “It has helped me to grasp the language of speaking to individuals.”
Bryant and his fellow band members are purchasers at Pine Castle, a work- and life-skills coaching and exercise middle for adults with mental and developmental variations. The Spring Park Street middle offers a variety of alternatives, from primary tutorial coaching and hands-on job experience to leisure actions and life-skills teaching.
Pine Fortress requested that purchasers’ final names not be used to guard their privateness.
New director introduced in new devices
When Abigail Gruber, Pine Fortress’s music director, arrived in 2018, the band had a slender focus as a part of a percussion and music class. Some members had been already proficient with their devices, however she introduced in a greater diversity of devices and ready the band for performances.
In 2019 members picked their identify — The Flashbacks: Pine Fortress Band — and started performing publicly. They performed at the Riverside Arts Market, then-Hemming Plaza, Fleet Touchdown and Fortunate’s Market Cafe and Pine Fortress’s annual fundraising luncheon, she mentioned. In addition they recorded a digital album of Christmas-themed classics, “Vacation on the Fortress.”
Through the pandemic, they’ve been performing quarterly for fellow middle purchasers and in occasional live shows on Fb Stay. Members sit up for having the ability to carry out in public once more and to file their second album, this time specializing in oldies.
Anna sings and performs the ukulele. She mentioned she enjoys the band’s camaraderie and having the ability to present a respite for listeners.
“I just like the band as a result of Ms. Abigail is sweet and the band members are variety to me. They’re cool,” she mentioned. “I really feel like I’m a rock star that helps individuals.”
Gruber has watched them blossom.
“I’ve gotten a lot pleasure out of educating this glorious group of individuals about music, what it takes to be in a band, efficiency etiquette and music appreciation,” she mentioned.
Being in an organized band, she mentioned, does greater than create rock stars.
“It’s an exquisite alternative to develop personally … being a part of musical household of kinds,” she mentioned. “They every get particular person consideration and help with their instrument, they get to carry out solos and discover ways to specific themselves by music.”
Success is measured by observe, attendance
Gruber units no specific benchmarks for band members to fulfill. She measures their success by their capacity to observe assignments at residence and to commonly attend — and play nicely — at practices and performances.
“I’m all the time blown away by their work ethic and skill to take no matter I throw at them,” she mentioned. “They don’t wait till now we have an viewers to present their finest, they all the time give their finest. That may be a fixed inspiration to me and a reminder to myself and my very own musical initiatives to by no means give something however one hundred pc of your capacity.”
Due to the pandemic, the band at present rehearses within the Pine Fortress health club to accommodate social distancing. Members are inspired to observe on their very own time and lots of have their very own devices at residence.
“I like being concerned with music. It’s my ardour, and having the ability to be concerned with music and my pals is nice too,” mentioned Vanton, who sings and performs the melodica. “The band has helped me to be extra structured and career-driven and I’ve realized easy methods to work as a staff.”
One other inventive outlet for Pine Fortress purchasers is WPCR-1670 AM, an on-campus studio from which they broadcast a live morning show. When it debuted in 2014, it was the primary radio present in Florida written and produced by adults with mental and developmental disabilities.
Beth Reese Cravey: email@example.com
THE FLASHBACKS: PINE CASTLE BAND
To view band performances, go to facebook.com/pinecastle/videos or bit.ly/2Z9SEz9. To buy the band’s digital vacation album, name (904) 733-2650 or go to pinecastle.org/holiday-at-the-castle or theflashbackspinecastleband.bandcamp.com/album/holiday-at-the-castle.
To donate, volunteer or get extra details about Pine Fortress, name (904) 733-2650 or go to pinecastle.org.