Bob Marley party invites public to ‘Lively Up Yourself’

Staff Writer

 Tekeytha Fullwood Tekeytha Fullwood METUCHEN — The Old Franklin Schoolhouse will be “Jammin’” on Feb. 1, when the Borough Improvement League (BIL) plays host to a posthumous celebration of Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley.

“I don’t know many people that don’t like him,” organizer Mike Regan said of the dreadlocked performer. “Obviously, he’s going to go down in history, not only as one of the greatest musicians, but as a force in humanity, for diversity and peace in our time.”

Regan — a self-described amateur musician who plays bass — enlisted his fellow former bandmate Chris Bradley, from Philadelphia-based Ska band Barabbas Free, along with lifelong Metuchen resident and drummer Dan Cotton, to join with him in covering Marley’s music for the night.

Philadelphia singer Tekeytha Fullwood will front the band with her vocals, which locals might remember from last year’s Reggae Night.

“I thought she just blew everyone away,” Regan said of that event, adding that Fullwood has a beautiful voice.

But the band won’t be limited to just those four. Regan said other musicians are welcome to reach out to him or the BIL to let them know if they’d like to bring a guitar, keyboard or other instrument.

“If there’s anyone who sings Bob Marley songs in the shower, they should feel free to grab the mic,” he said. “It’s going to be more of a loose, open jam session.”

In addition to the stage being open to all, the event — in the spirit of Marley’s persona and music — will welcome all ages.

“He has that universal appeal. It’s just that happy music you hear. And it just strikes a chord with everybody,” Regan said, adding, “I really hope people bring their kids out to this. I really hope people view it as a family night.”

Maracas and tambourines will be on hand so that children of all ages can keep the reggae beat.

If attendees work up an appetite by grooving to the music, Jamaican fare will be available for purchase. Also, those who come out are welcome to bring their own alcoholic beverages.

Regan pointed out that the Bob Marley Birthday Party is not the first such event to be hosted at the Old Franklin Schoolhouse, with the BIL also having hosted events honoring Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia.

“We try to focus on big names like that, that everyone sort of universally loves,” he said. “It’s a good way to get people together to have a good time.”

Regan added that these events also bring attention to the great things being done by the BIL. He added that he became involved after meeting BIL President Tyreen Reuter and her husband, Steve Reuter.

“It’s just trying to put the Schoolhouse on the map as a venue,” Regan said. “And there’s really some great live music going on there.”

The Old Franklin Schoolhouse is at 491 Middlesex Ave., Metuchen. The Feb. 1 event starts at 8 p.m. Although no cover will be charged for the event, organizers are asking that attendees donate what they can at the door.