HOLLYWOOD — Robert North sees rock ‘n’ roll possibilities inside the Hollywood Boys & Girls Club music studio.
Two top-notch, complete drum sets fill the floor; a row of electric and acoustic guitars, including two Fender Stratocasters, line a wall. Among the periphery: two keyboards, a xylophone, several amps, yards of electric cords and a “state-of-the-art” soundproof recording booth.
“If a tribal youth is so inclined to music, art or poetry, then the metaphor that ‘the world is a stage’ can be right here. We encourage them to take the stage,” said North, director of the Seminole Boys & Girls Club tribalwide.
On a Saturday morning in August, the Tribe’s business giant, Hard Rock International, kicked in with a little decorative inspiration.
Using a hammer and level, Hard Rock design and installation technician Michael Edgar graced doorways and walls with two sets of drumsticks and four retro posters.
The drumsticks are from the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego and the former Hard Rock Café in Sacramento. The posters include Little Richard with the Beatles at the Tower Ballroom and the Silver Beatles at the Cavern Club, both in 1962; the Jackson Five and Diana Ross and the Supremes at the Grand Theater in 1971; and Michael Jackson at Wembley Stadium in 1988.
Hard Rock boasts more than 70,000 items of memorabilia in its collection. Items can be seen, according to the website, “from a lock of hair to a 5-ton psychedelic bus” at www.memorabilia.hardrock.com.
“I take real joy in my work. It’s fun getting to see all the awesome pieces,” said Edgar, who recently helped stage an exhibit completely in Fender guitars played by Jimi Hendrix. “It’s always good to have an element of Hard Rock in the music environment.”
North said the donation came after a conversation he had with Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola.
Councilman Osceola told North, “Whatever you need let me know.” North asked him to help decorate the room, so Councilman Osceola called Hard Rock, “and here it is. We’re bringing the outside in,” North said.
The Hard Rock donation adds to creative “stepping stones and building blocks” already in place at the Boys & Girls Clubs, North said. In Immokalee, Brighton and Big Cypress, the clubs have similar spaces to create and explore artistic expression but in ways dictated by the children’s collective interest.
“The whole goal (of Boys & Girls Clubs) is not necessarily to produce a bunch of musicians but to help children become comfortable knowing that their expression is important,” North said.
Immokalee children show more interest in photography and video so they have more iPads and digital cameras. Big Cypress kids enjoy performing arts so the community center stage has been upgraded with surround sound for big-time karaoke nights.
In Brighton, the Boys & Girls Club relocated last school year from a trailer at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School to the old culture education building. North said the larger space will allow for future enhancements as the community sees fit.
For Hollywood kids, the music studio, which also includes a separate recording control room, is used by individual musicians and departments.
The Culture Department uses the rooms twice annually to record preschool children singing at Christmas and showcasing Mikasuki language skills at graduation. Meanwhile, youth, including Ozzie Holdiness and Kyrell Josh, rehearse and record for monthly and quarterly community performances that attract crowds.
“There are all kinds of opportunities. Our children are taking us one step closer to the future,” North said.