September 20, 2009
Mark Fontes, WZBN News
Hamilton Jams For Life
In “America’s Favorite Hometown,” Hamilton’s homegrown rockers each year come together to dazzle Mercer County audiences at the Jam For Life. This year’s event attracted a crowd in the thousands to Trenton’s Katmandu, and they enjoyed rock of all ages by Hamilton’s own.
All of the bands that participated are friends with Jam For Life’s creator, Papa Carl. “This all started four years ago in my backyard.” Papa Carl said, as he presented three acts with special awards.” But I decided, why not make this an even bigger event annually with more bands, and make it about a good cause?” Today Jam For Life proudly raises money for organ donation and also hosts auctions to benefit life causes. The bands seen at the event also regularly play throughout Hamilton Township like the Ivy Tavern and JoJo’s.
JoJo’s was where recent Jam For Life addition and guitar prodigy Charles Laurita Jr. became part of the scene. In 2007, event co-creator Lisa Bouchelle saw Charles jamming away on his guitar. She was so thrilled; she offered to make Charles a fill-in guitarist for her on occasion. They played some sets one night a JoJo’s. Papa Carl was in the audience, and he took a liking to Charles and how well he played Bouchelle’s song with little to no practice.
Before Long, Charles was playing Papa Carl’s tracks like “Dark Knight.” He eventually recorded that with Papa and once those at The Music Box heard Charles jamming away in the song, they invited him to teach guitars lessons for them.
And so soon after, Charles was added to the Jam For Life lineup. Today he rocks out to some of his own tunes, and also covers a wide array of groups. One of those at this year’s event was Michael Jackson’s Beat It.
“My father was a disc jockey,” say Charles Laurita Jr., who recently turned 18. “He introduced me to so much. I mean from David Bowie to Michael Jackson to Johnny Cast, to Earth Wind & Fire…a whole mess of different genres.” “I want to spread music around the world, and do what I can to have my music help and inspire others.” Today, Laurita hopes to take his music to a professional level.
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