HARLINGEN — “If everybody had an ocean, across the U.S.A., then everybody’d be surfin’, like Californiayyy.”
That classic Beach Boys tune came to life Thursday at Jubilee Academy where the tribute band “Sail On” performed for several hundred children.
“It was cool,” said Jackson Galbreath, 10. “It had a lot of jamming in it, more like classic rock.”
The concert was another presentation by the Harlingen Concert Association, which brought the world-renowned group to perform Wednesday at the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium. The five-man group performed at Jubilee as part of HCA’s student outreach and was scheduled to perform in McAllen Thursday night.
“We have been wanting to do something with Jubilee for awhile,” said Julie Castillo, education outreach chair for HCA.
The organization has brought concerts to children at Veterans Academy in San Benito, Lee Means Elementary in Harlingen, the Harlingen Performing Arts Center and other venues.
Castillo was excited about bringing Sail On.
“We just had this incredible opportunity,” Castillo said. “They are the world’s most booked Beach Boys tribute band. They have performed all over the world. They bring such a youthful energy.”
The Beach Boys were a world-renowned band in the 1960s, hitting the music stage with upbeat songs about girls, surfing and hot rods. Such songs as “Wendy” and “Girls on the Beach” melted young hearts world-wide, and “Little Deuce Coup” popularized sports cars of the era.
Thursday the tribute band performed such memorable favorites as “Surfin’ Safari,” “Get Around” and “Be True to Your School.” The kids were quickly drawn into the moment, their heads shaking up and down, bodies gyrating back and forth, hands slapping folded legs. They erupted into frenzied clapping after each song.
“Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world,” the group sang, the lyrics and melodies harkening to another era, with music the children’s grandparents might have enjoyed. Now the kids were caught up in the joy of the 60s. Arms went up, high, waving back and forth.
Now the band stopped and spoke with the kids.
“Good morning to you,” said Mike Williamson, vocalist.
“We come from Nashville, Tennessee,” he told the kids. “Have any of you heard of Nashville, Tennessee? A lot of music comes from Nashville.”
Hands went up.
“Have any of you heard of the Beach Boys?”
A few hands went up.
He then explained how the Beach Boys used separate music parts which they locked together in a single piece. The band then demonstrated that effect with a performance of “In My Room.” Arms went up and swayed more slowly in movement to the song.
The next number “Do You Want To Dance” brought the kids onto the gym floor where they danced without restraint. Two girls grabbed hands and spun together, then several locked hands and danced in an ever-growing circle.
The musicians appreciated the response.
“This is so much fun for us,” said Williamson. “This isn’t the age group we usually play for.”
A little girl walked up, shook his hand, and said, “I liked your songs.”