FROM THE NY DAILY NEWS
Horn to be wild: Ex-punk Tom Goodkind gets neighbors marching together
By JUDITH WILMOT
A "master of shrewd thinking" is what songwriter Chris Butler of the Waitresses, once called his friend Tom Goodkind — an apt label for the punk-rocker turned community bandleader.
In the late 1970s, Goodkind's punk band, US Ape, performed on the small, hallowed stage at CBGBs. Today, the Battery Park City resident plays larger stages — out of necessity. It takes a sizable bandshell to contain the 23-member TriBattery Pops, the community band that Goodkind founded and leads.
The idea of bringing friends together to entertain their neighbors came naturally to Goodkind, 52. A married father of two who works as a CPA, he has deep roots in downtown Manhattan. His grandfather's clothing store, Bert Green, was among the buildings razed to make room for the World Trade Center.
Goodkind's rock 'n' roll career lasted through the 1980s, when he toured internationally as a founding member of the popular neo-folk band Washington Squares. When he hit 30, he took stock of his music career, and decided he should consider other options. "I had to work at something normal," Goodkind says. "I remembered this teacher at NYU who said there is only one Willie Mays, but there are a lot of accountants. I decided to get an accounting degree."
Goodkind married his college sweetheart, Jill, and they moved to Battery Park City. He traces the next dramatic change in his life to Sept. 11, 2001.
"After 9/11, I suddenly starting talking with neighbors I had seen in the elevator for 15 years. Battery Park City residents had to leave their apartments, and we had a real problem of knowing where to live and how to take care of our families. All of us held on to each other through blogs, and memorized each other's names. ... Now, we all know each other."
He got the idea of forming a community band during a family vacation on Cape Cod.
"The town had an old fashioned gazebo band. The conductor was an older guy, and the band members looked like firemen. They just harrumphed into the song, and played a little squeaky and out of tune.
"We sat on the lawn with family and friends all around and listened in the evening to a two-hour concert. It was wonderful. I thought that downtown New York needed that kind of feeling around Ground Zero."
Not long after that trip, Goodkind was helping organize a block party and needed a band. He called Lisa Eclund-Flores, director of the nearby Church Street Music School.
"She said, ‘Cool, just come on by and we will figure out something.'" With Eclund-Flores' help, Goodkind not only assembled the TriBattery Pops, but also gained rehearsal space at the school, which now lists the band in its catalogue as one of its adult-education programs.
At the orchestra's first rehearsal, six people showed up. "We talked for two hours, ordered pizza, and then the band played the ‘Stars and Stripes [Forever].' It sort of sounded like the song a little bit, and it was perfect."
This year, the TriBattery Pops will play six performances for downtown residents. Any money they receive is donated to the Church Street Music School.
Musicians' entire families are involved in the concerts. Goodkind says. "We have kids marching around on stilts while we play, handing out American flags." The band has found a fitting performance space in the Washington Market Park near Battery Park City, which has an old-fashioned gazebo.
At a Friday-night rehearsal, Goodkind bounces about the band's rehearsal space with a rocker's manic energy, putting out the sheet music, which includes a march he composed. The spring in his step masks the fact that he is not only a rock 'n' roll survivor, but a heart-attack survivor as well.
"My pacemaker was put in this October," he says. "I have an electrical problem with my heart, which probably has to do with the radiation treatment for Hodgkin's disease I had when I was 22. That's why I went into music instead of business. I figured I had a short lifespan."
Goodkind waves the conductor's baton about, and admires it with his playful smile. "I learned to conduct from watching Leonard Bernstein's show when I was a kid."
Tonight's rehearsal is scheduled for 6:30, and by seven the pizza has arrived along with three out of the 17 members expected. They happily gather chairs and music stands from the school's various storage spots.
A tuba player, an increasingly rare type of musician in the city, comes to rehearsal, his first with the orchestra. He is as excited to have a place to play the tuba as Goodkind is to have this essential instrument join the community band. They begin rehearsal with the theme from "Rocky and Bullwinkle."
The TriBattery Pops' musicians, many of them former rockers like their bandleader, accept the limits of their current lives. "We only have nine rehearsals, and [they're] on Friday nights, because the rest of the week we have meetings or something we have to do with the kids," Goodkind says.
"We talk a lot and then we play. If we know the songs a little, then it's perfect. If we get too good it ruins the sense of a community band."
The experience of being displaced and essentially on their own after 9/11 taught downtown residents about what it means to be a good neighbor, Goodkind says.
"I thought after 9/11 that someone would come and rescue us, but nobody has even mentioned the displaced residents. Was 9/11 a long time ago? Yes. Do we see a hole there every day with nothing going up? Yes. Is the community closer than it was? Sure. We have been though a bad time, and we are working class. We can take care of ourselves, but we do need guidance, and that we didn't get.
"Downtown has become a small, tight-knit, community that takes care of itself," he adds. "When the Tri-Battery Pops community band started to play, everyone pitched in to help, and it has been very cool."
The TriBattery Pops' concert schedule is available on the Web: www.tribatterypops.com.
The TriBattery Pops Tom Goodkind Conductor is downtown NYC's first all volunteer community band in a century. The band's founder and conductor is what songwriter Chris Butler of the Waitresses, once called "a master of shrewd thinking," an apt label for the punk-rocker turned community bandleader.
Performing to an American Masterpiece dance by Trisha Brown and Robert Rauschenberg in Manhattan, the band's live performance was praised as "robustly rhythmic" by New York Times dance critic Roslyn Sulcas.
Downtown NYC's Community Band
The group records an album annually, and has an album of all of its best material (25 songs) titled "Community Band" available through Apple iTunes. Their music, often up for Grammy Nominations, is distributed to radio stations internationally by College Music Journal. They performs six shows a year, starting with the April Downtown Little League Parade and ending with 4th day of July fireworks near the Statue of Liberty in Wagner Park. The band's logo was designed by Marvel Comics' creator Stan Lee, the childhood next door neighbor of the conductor.
Origin Battery Park City, U.S.
Genres Community band
Years active 2004-present
Labels TriBattery Pops available on iTunes
Associated acts Any woodwind and horn band that enjoys using a gazebo for a free neighborhood performance.
Current noted members are:
Alan Sturm (trumpet & flugelhorn & musical leader since inception)
Olivia Goodkind (glockenspiel)
Carla Rupp (flute)
John Gray (tuba)
Jessica Parr (tenor sax)
Dahlia Yoeli (clarinet)
Heidi Hunter (flute)
Paul Vercesi (tenor sax)
Joe Ferrari (alto sax)
Jeff Mittler (drums)
David Nobel (euphonium)
Thomas Ellison (trumpet)
Paul Matulef (tenor sax)
Mark Altman (trumpet)
Matt Sanders (trombone)
Maryna Lansky (triangle)
Brooke Pashker (flute)
Nisha Phatak (flute)
Kimberly Mossel (clarinet)
Marcy Fuerch (clarinet)
Jonathan O'Donnell (alto sax)
Cal Johnson (tuba)
Jo Ellen Fusco (clarinet)
Michele B. Kaufman (bari sax)
Accordion: Robert Simko; Baritone Sax: Greg Shatan; Bass Drum: Chris Butler;
Clarinet: Neil Haiduck, Zachary Young, Jason Speenberg; Drums: Gerry Hemingway, Yumi Nam,
Billy Ficca, Michael Fadden, Paul Moschella, Bob Lepre; Euphonium: Claire Hunter;
Flute: Lucy Simko, Michelle Strait, Karla Harby, Debbie Lewkowcz, Juren David (and Irish Whistle);
French Horn: Vincent Chancey; Glockenspiel: Bianca Bob, Jaime Monroe; Tenor Sax: Bob Mover,
Brian Dutton, David Aaron; Trombone: Dikko Faust, Francois Huaulme, Starlyn Lopez, Adam Fine,
Carson Church, Sara Wildavsky; Trumpet: David Behl, Joseph Ho, Elizabeth McCourt, Elizabeth Chubback;
Tuba: Alan Gilbert (& Sousaphone), Andrew Phelps, Jamal Ahmed, Jonathan Deutsch; Vocals: Theo Simko.
RIP: our great love - Judy Karnas(tambourine)
SUELLEN EPSTEIN'S CHILDRENS TUMBLING STILT WALKERS accompany the group at every show.
Outstanding in Their Field (2004)
West Street (2005)
The Beat Goes On (2006)
13 Stars (2007)
Under Construction (2008)
We're In The Money (2009)
Community Band Greatest Hits (2010)
The Magnificent 7th (2010)
Suspicious Package (2011)
10th 11th - Whitman Sampler -12inch dub step mix (2011)