Give me just a little more groove: Chairmen of the Board help out at South

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 3, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
LANDIS — Beach music legends Chairmen of the Board showed students at South Rowan High School how to move with the groove Wednesday.
Band members Ken Knox, Richie Figueroa, Thomas Hunter and Josh Diaz spent about an hour and a half with the school’s small ensemble, giving them tips on how to play their instruments while dancing.
“We’re showing them how to engage in doing routines during performances,” Knox said.
Band director Todd Whittington said he decided to invite Knox to the school a couple of weeks ago as the group was practicing for the upcoming Club Throwback concert, which will feature music from Kool and the Gang, ZZ Top, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Black Eyed Peas.
“When we decided to do this type of spring show I remembered seeing how exciting (Chairmen of the Board) was in concert and I wanted the band to do the same thing,” he said. “Basically, with all the music we’re doing you should not be able to sit still.”
But Whittington got a surprise when he asked Knox to come out to work with the students.
“I said I’ll do better, I’m going to bring the whole band up,” he said. “I appreciate Todd because he interjects homegrown music, you know Carolina Beach music.”
Whittington said he was “blown away” that Knox brought the entire band.
“This is completely volunteer, they are just doing this to help the school,” he said.
But members of the band said they didn’t mind taking some time out to pass along some moves and advice.
“It’s always good when you have schools and other groups in the community that want to keep the tradition and Carolina beach music alive,” Diaz said.
Hunter agrees.
“It is a good thing to keep this music alive so the generations coming up have the opportunity to hear some really good music,” he said. “It gives (the students) the opportunity to see something of culture and class instead of a lot of other things.”
Whittington said bringing Chairmen of the Board to the school was a way to show students that the music doesn’t have to end when they graduate from high school.
“My goal as a teacher is for them to continue after high school playing and there are so many opportunities,” he said. “Church is a big one. Lots of contemporary churches are now using a variety of instruments. And playing in a band on weekends to make some extra money is another one.”
Band members taught students how to do their new signature dance, the Carolina Shuffle, on Wednesday.
“It’s really exciting to have them here,” sophomore Mary Margaret Yates said. “They are professionals who know what they’re doing, so they are definitely going to make us look better.”
Yates said she prefers the throwback style of music and dancing. “It’s so much better than modern music,” she said. “I love it.”
Junior Jaime Parham said getting to work with Chairmen of the Board was a unique experience. “They are making learning fun,” he said. “They’ve been showing us some dance moves and giving the singers advice on how to project their voices.”
The ensemble will show off the new moves during a free concert at 7 p.m. May 14 in the school’s auditorium.
Chairmen of the Board will be back in Rowan County at 7:30 p.m. June 7 to perform during the Brick Street Live concert series downtown.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.