Southern Regional Grads Part of Band Competing in ‘Rock to the Top’ Finals at Stone Pony

Feb 20, 2019
Photo by: Supplied photo The band Shallow Green, which includes Southern Regional graduates Jack Bonacorso (far left) and Owen LaRocca (far right), will play in the Rock to the Top final at The Stone Pony on Saturday, March 2.

During the past six months, the band Shallow Green has landed some gigs as it seeks out locations to entertain masses of people with its progressive rock sound. But recently the four-man crew of Jack Bonacorso, Owen LaRocca, Jack Mangan and Steve Riccobono have been generating some hype at arguably the most famous rocking hotspot along the Jersey Shore – The Stone Pony in Asbury Park.

“It’s amazing when you get on the stage and see the history of the place, knowing how many thousands of great bands and musicians have played there before,” said LaRocca, a 2018 Southern Regional High School graduate and the band’s saxophonist. “The atmosphere is great. The crowds are great. Being there, entertaining people, is an awesome experience.”

LaRocca and his bandmates for the past couple of months have been competing in the Pony’s exclusive showcase competition, Rock to the Top, and on Saturday, March 2, Shallow Green will be part of a nine-band final. The winning band receives a cash prize of $2,500 along with $1,000 in promotional services, as well as opportunities to be a headline act at the Pony and open for a national act at the venue at a later date.

The current competition – The Stone Pony operates several of these per year – started in January with three nights of preliminary rounds, followed by three nights of semifinals. The remaining nine bands each will have 45-minute sets; the final round begins at 4 p.m.

Bonacorso, who graduated with LaRocca after they had spent four years performing in several of Southern’s bands, is one of the original members of the band. He and Mangan previously were part of another band that dissolved midway through last year. Bonacorso, a drummer, asked his friend LaRocca to join the group, and Mangan, who plays electric guitar and leads the vocals, asked Performing Arts Academy classmate Riccobono to come aboard as well.

“We formed about six months ago, and it’s been really cool as we work together to develop our unique sound and come up with music we believe in,” LaRocca said. “Jack and I have been friends since middle school, and we’ve played a lot of music together, so it’s been a lot of fun to continue to share our musical experiences together.”

Now the two young men will get to share in another extraordinary musical experience – one LaRocca said is “like a dream come true.”

“For this competition, we played in the semifinals and found out the next day we made it to the final, so it was a bit of a shock for us. We almost didn’t believe it,” he said. “We’re just four average guys who love music, who enjoy playing together and sharing our music with everybody. We’re really excited about the chance to do it in the finals.”

Advance tickets are available for $12 per person, or $15 at the door on the day of the event. For more information about Rock to the Top, or to purchase advance tickets, visit

— David Biggy

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