Reesa Marchetti, right, and Maureen Simmons rehearse together in Marchetti's Glassboro home. JENNY SWIGODA / WIRE PHOTO
For most who even dare to dream of rock 'n' roll fame, such a lofty goal still seems like a pipe dream, and usually fades with each passing year.
But for Reesa Marchetti, the dream is still very much alive.
The Glassboro resident has faced many obstacles in her life. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1998, Marchetti was determined to live her life to the fullest. And though her physical strength may have waned, her passion for music has remained as strong as ever.
Marchetti once headed up the rock group Reesa and the Rooters, a 1980s band with a strong following in the region. Marchetti was known for her outrageous energy and costumes, wearing capes onstage and jumping around to the music. In 1982, after about three years, the band called it quits. Marchetti continued to play in other groups in the following years, honing her sound. Marchetti cites influences as diverse as Chuck Berry, Billy Holiday and classical music.
For her day job, Marchetti works as a web and graphic designer with her company Sheer Web Design, which she operates out of her home. Creative to the core, Marchetti's transition from music to writing and web design was natural.
"It's just how I am; I have a lot of energy. I don't want to just sit around," said Marchetti.
The transition into her illness, especially for such an active woman, was a difficult one.
"I kept denying it," said Marchetti. "I walked in one day and put some papers on a desk; when I turned to walk away, I fell to the ground."
Marchetti, who is now wheelchair-bound, attributes much of her newfound energy and confidence to the wheelchair dance lessons that she started taking about ten years ago with her husband, Dan.
"It really gave me a lot more energy to perform," said Marchetti. "When I'm in the chair, it's a part of me."
So when a friend reached out to her to participate in a tribute show at World Café Live in 2004, she jumped at the chance. It was there that she was reunited with Maureen Simmons, a fellow local musician who was part of Adam's Rib, a girl-group band in the 1970s and 80s. Simmons and Marchetti would run into each other at shows back then and had similar tastes in music. The pairing was a natural one.
"We had fun together and we can figure things out (musically) together," said Simmons.
During a recent rehearsal in her Glassboro home, Marchetti and Simmons practiced songs for an upcoming show. The pair now performs as Reesa B. and Mo, and with song names like "Ultraman in Surf Villa," "Casual Cat at a Laundromat," "Chocolate Freakout," "Dirty Tango" and "I'm a Bear if I Don't Get My Sleep," it's apparent that the duo is out to have fun and enjoy their shared creativity.
"I'm old and I'm fat and I like it like that," sing the ladies in "Fat Old Boogie."
"That's how I feel," Marchetti laughed at the end of the song.
Reesa B. and Mo will be performing at the Bus Stop Music Café, located at 148 S. Broadway in Pitman, on June 30. Tickets cost $8, children under 13 admitted free.