Thursday, August 16 , 2018, 3:26 pm | Fair 77º


Santa Barbara Middle School’s ‘Grateful Dads’ to Rock Annual Songfest

Band members will accompany student singers during Saturday's musical showcase

With a “Touch of Gray,” a half-dozen former Santa Barbara Middle School dads are “Truckin’” back to campus this weekend to rock out and show gratitude to a school they love.

For 14 years, band members of the Santa Barbara-based “Grateful Dads” have contributed their talents to back up student singers at Songfest, the school’s annual musical showcase event.

“People are so thankful and appreciative. I like to say I would pay to be able to do it,” bass player Michael Adcock said. “It’s pretty much our favorite day of the year.”

Adcock’s two daughters attended SBMS in the late 1990s. He says it never would have happened without the school’s financial help.

“Besides the incredible joy of playing and participating, it’s kind of a payback for what middle school gave my family,” Adcock said.

Adcock and fellow Grateful Dads Tom Fogel, Peter Kornbluth, Rick Mellor, Ted Rhodes and SBMS Spanish teacher Marco Andrade play in a local band called Doghouse.

Fogel’s children also attended SBMS in the late 1990s. He said he enjoys the challenge of playing everything from Jimi Hendrix to Cyndi Lauper and Katy Perry.

“We spend about a month gearing up for this, and then the last two weeks it gets pretty intense because we don’t know the songs — we have to learn them,” said Fogel, lead guitarist.

He said his son, Greg, had learning challenges that were addressed at middle school. His son went on to spend months in China and Africa, earned two master’s degrees and is now a public policy analyst in Washington, D.C.

“I pin my children’s success in life on their middle school experience,” Fogel said.

For rehearsal purposes, the students’ list of songs they will perform is put on an iPod. The band listens to the music over and over until they can play it. Then they rehearse with the students.

Andrade says that beyond using iPods and YouTube to master the songs, the band has made great musical strides.

“This used to take a long time,” he said. “We would labor over these songs for weeks, and now it’s down to a couple weeks of crunch time. It used to be we would take weeks on one song.”

During the mid-2000s, Grateful Dad keyboardist Dan Diamond’s two sons went to Santa Barbara Middle School. He said he loves being part of a full band and playing for the students.

“It’s a real thrill to watch a kid be able to sing with a live band,” Diamond said, “and to witness both the confident students and one’s stepping out in front a crowd for the first time.”

Adcock concurs: “Often the kids who are the shakiest and having the biggest struggle get the biggest round of applause.”

“The event is more than just the big glory moments; it’s also about bravery,” Andrade said. “This is one of our school’s best opportunities for the students to get up and sing in a safe environment.”

Songfest will be at 2 p.m. Saturday on the Santa Barbara Middle School campus, 2300-A Garden St. The public is welcome. The event is free.

— Larry Good is a Santa Barbara Middle School parent.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >