Rock & Roll 101 meets every Friday, right after school, at Petaluma Junior High School. Directed by Preston Bailey, the program teaches young musicians how to argue about band names, how to form and break up groups, how to strike a pose on stage and how to start, play and stop a song together.

It’s great fun, and Charlie Cowles of Tall Toad Music in Petaluma came in to participate and support the program.

Preston introduced him to the 35 kids and 5 or 6 adults that dedicate time and energy to lighting the path – a youngster asked me “isn’t it a little weird that the Tall Toad guy is here when you support this program?”

What a wonderful question! Because it gave me a chance to make a point that I was able to share with the kids, and that I would like to share with you:

Charley and I stand on the same side of the counter. In fact, Tall Toad and Zone HAVE counters to stand behind. We’re not competitors, we’re colleagues – because we both have the satisfaction and best interests of our musician clients primary in our hearts – we’re part of a larger community and ultimately, we care about our community.

I say this because there has been a tremendous erosion of “sales” of everything from boots and golf clubs to keyboards, guitars and drums away from retailers with an interest in our communities — these sales are lost to the internet, where even if “price” is the same, these mostly out of state on-line resellers don’t charge sales tax, and they get the sale, because we “brick and mortar” retailers do charge sales tax.  Charley and I have even experienced people pumping us for information so that they could make an informed on-line purchase, saving themselves the sales tax amount. Does this sound right to you?

And whatever you think about it, that 9% sales tax gets computed in people’s minds as 10% – right? Who goes “hmmmm 9% of 1135.00 is XXXX” — whereas we all know that it’s about $113.00 bucks.  bottom line — the internet has a 10% price advantage compared to local retailers — but local retailers put heart and soul into our community — and support local music education programs like Rock & Roll 101.

Charley and I agree that our services make a big difference in the lives of our communities, and we share the belief that shopping with us will be worth your while. We’re in this together!

Anyway, back to IGNITION — today, five of the eight bands played, plus a couple of versions of adult guest artists — and we could feel the energy turn — we could feel that ROCK & ROLL is alive. This is what makes it all worthwhile. Watch out for the 8 bands coming thru Rock & Roll 101, and get ready to dance.  Big thanks goes to Director Preston Bailey — without his time and energy, these kids would not have the opportunity to live their dreams!