Shifted on Rodeo

By Anne Marie Miranda | Staff Writer

Night Shift, the 36-member Citrus College student band, put on a once-in-a-lifetime five-hour performance for the Beverly Hills centennial anniversary celebrated on Rodeo Drive.

The city turned out in droves on April 27 for the BH100 Centennial Block Party themed “Dancing in the Street.”

Night Shift was invited to sing at the 100th birthday party as a result of a long-standing relationship with Craig Donahue, the producer of the centennial celebration on Rodeo Drive.

The band performed cover songs like “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, “Superstition” by the legendary Stevie Wonder, “Treasure” by Bruno Mars and “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5.

The event included a performance by Motown legend Martha Reeves, lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas, whose hits include “Nowhere to Run,”  “Jimmy Mack” and “Dancing in the Street.”

“This is the biggest gig Night Shift has ever performed,” said singer Lupita Jacquelien Rosales, 21.  “Performing with Martha Reeves was a dream come true. Her performance is captivating, and she’s a master at her craft.”

William “Mickey” Stevenson, Motown singer and writer of “Dancing in the Street,” joined Night Shift and Reeves in singing the classic hit, causing a dance outbreak.

“It was unbelievable that two living legends were sharing the same stage with Night Shift, and it was incredible having everyone in the street dancing to us performing,” Rosales said.

The block party lasted nearly five hours and stretched three blocks long between Wilshire Boulevard and S. Santa Monica Boulevard.

“The event was amazing and I have to say it was my favorite gig Night Shift has ever done,” said Professor Gino Munoz, director of Night Shift.  “We rehearsed all of the material for that event the week of.”

“It was a long day. Lighting got there at 3 a.m. to set the stage. Band arrived at 10 a.m. Show ended at 8 p.m., and it wasn’t until 1 a.m. that all the equipment was stored at Citrus. This is a typical weekly thing for us.”

The centerpiece of the celebration was a one-of-a-kind 4,000-pound birthday cake standing 10 feet high, 15 feet wide, 20 feet long, depicting the iconic Beverly Hills city hall tower and Rodeo Drive.

“It was the most people I’ve ever performed for by far,” said guitar player Gregory Gillis, 29.

“Over 50,000 people were there. It was almost overwhelming, but you can’t let that affect your performance. It’s an experience like no other.”

The event also included tasty treats, carnival games and rides, including two Ferris wheels.

The block party ended with Sophie Rae Gonzalez belting out Cheryl Lynn’s hit song from 1978 “Got to be Real” along with dazzling fireworks lighting up Rodeo Drive to commemorate 100 years of history.

“My favorite part of the block party was the giant crowd we had,” said singer Gonzalez, 21, who also was impressed by Martha Reeves.

“She has awesome range and so much attitude when she performs,” Gonzalez said.  “She definitely inspired me.”