OLD ORCHARD BEACH – At an age when most children are finding ways to avoid their parents, 16-year-old Nicholas and 20-year-old Kyle Jandreau have made it their business to spend two to three days a week, all summer long, playing classic rock and roll alongside their father, Kevin Jandreau, in the band Hat Trick.
“I remember as a boy listening to my uncles. Music was always around us and I think I started playing in a band when I was 15,” Kevin Jandreau said, remembering his childhood in Aroostook County.
“I’ve always loved music,” he said with a smile and laugh. “I must’ve – I’ve been doing this for 32 years.”
There are three boys in the Jandreau family – Jacob, Kyle and Nicholas – and while their parents never pushed them in any one direction, they always exposed them to the arts and music in general.
“I really didn’t want to ruin it for them,” Kevin Jandreau said. “If they wanted to play, they would decide.”
Each boy first learned music and music theory using traditional instruments and played in both school orchestras and bands. Jacob plays the violin, Kyle the traditional stand-up bass and Nicholas plays the cello.
“You can learn a lot from playing songs, but I wanted them to get more exposure to music theory,” Kevin Jandreau said. “Bach basically invented tonality and I wanted them to know more than just the song.”
Like his sons, Kevin Jandreau grew up playing a different instrument as a schoolboy. He played the saxophone in the school band, but as he entered his teenage years, he soon moved on to his first love, the guitar.
“I went to (the University of Southern Maine) in Gorham to be a music education major, but at one point I had to work with a junior high school band,” he said. “That was a real eye-opener. I didn’t think that was for me.”
Not knowing what to do, he started to look at the classes and work his future wife, Sharon, was doing in the business department, and he decided to change majors.
“I thought I could do that,” Kevin Jandreau said.
He graduated with a degree in business administration and now is a full-time bookkeeper.
Sharon, 47, now laughs when she thinks about her role in the family business.
“I really try to keep things running smoothly so (the boys) can get to the shows.”
She manages the bookings, pays the bills and handles most of the administrative duties for the band.
“They all have full-time jobs and then they add on the music,” Sharon Jandreau said.
“They all work about 55 to 60 hours per week during the summer,” she said.
Currently there are three family members in the band, but Kevin Jandreau said that Jacob is learning to play the drums and has been sitting in occasionally as the family learns new songs.
“Jacob plays the violin and that would really add to the sound,” Kevin Jandreau said. “But he really doesn’t want to be out front, so that’s OK.”
“They practice wherever,” Sharon said. “Sometimes the bedrooms, the living room or just about anywhere. There’s always music.”
Kevin Jandreau is not sure how long they will manage to stay together as a band, but he knows they all want to continue making music.
“As long as I’m physically capable, I’ll be playing somewhere,” he said.
The band plays at both Hooligans and The Sunset Deck on The Pier in Old Orchard Beach and both the staff and their customers seem to appreciate the band.
“They really are great,” said Janelle Oakes, a waitress at The Sunset Deck. “We play them loud and they bring them in off the beach. They interact with the crowd and they make sure to say ‘Don’t forget to tip your servers’ at least once a set. That’s huge.”
As she finished her sentence, the band began playing an old Van Morrison classic and a couple who had clearly seen a half-century of life moved up front to dance. Their practiced rhythm made the boys in the band smile.
A younger man, who looked to be about half the age of the dancing couple, and sporting a tattoo of his favorite Patriot’s jersey, grinned and mouthed the words to the song.
With the breeze from the shore, the last few notes to the song drifted toward the sea and Kevin Jandreau reminded the crowd, “We’re here every Saturday from 2 to 7. Come see us.”