Rock and a Heart Place (DVD)

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In 1993, East Coast rock 'n' roll guitarist Tim McCloone made history by forming The Holiday Express - a collective of some 400 New Jersey musicians and volunteers, devoted to staging a series of free holiday concerts and spreading the spirit of Christmas to the poor, elderly, handicapped and ailing. Astonishingly, the mission - carried out at retirement homes and soup kitchens - not only thrived and ballooned above and beyond its original size, but drew the attention and interest of no less than Bruce Springsteen, when The Boss himself decided to do a concert walk-on. Yet, in the wake of 9/11, the organization's mission grew overwhelming enough to render itself almost unbearable. Such is the starting point for the documentary Rock and a Heart Place, which observes the Express at a time of great need. In the fall of 2001, with the entire country spiritually broken, McCloone and co. find it necessary to mount a whopping 50 concerts in the 30 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Meanwhile, their funds start to drain, conflict erupts between the musicians and the volunteers, and serious questions arise about the organization's ability to pull together given the many obstacles that seemingly stand in their way. Rock and a Heart Place provides a rare and telling glimpse of these men and women at their most giving and compassionate as they stretch themselves beyond all measure to help those less fortunate. The film thus provides a striking and inspiring redefinition of the meaning of Christmas. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi, Rovi

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