60+ Central Minnesota School of Rock Kids Prepare to Rock Your Face Off
For the 8th year in a row, Central Minnesota kids with a musical spirit will join together in a band. Make that; several bands. The Central Minnesota School of Rock is underway this week and 60+ kids are hauling guitars, drums and keyboards to what, in most cases, is their very first gig.
Each year The Wirth Center for the Performing Arts teams with Sartell-St.Stephen Community Education to immerse kids in the experience of being in a band; from picking members, naming the band and compromising on song selection, to photo shoots, rehearsals and performances. The two-week program culminates with a huge concert on August 9th, where each band covers two songs, on stage, in front of a crowd. Over the next two weeks, the kids and their instructors are rehearsing at St. Katherine Drexel School in St. Cloud to prepare for the concert. Last year 650+ family, friends, and music lovers packed the house.
This year, School of Rock boasts 23 guitarists, 14 vocalists, 10 drummers, 10 bass players, 6 keyboardists, and new this year; 4 horn players. The kids, in 6th – 12th grades, have a varied amount of musical experience. But experience isn’t a major factor when an amazing team of talented instructors are on hand, as nine musical mentors listen, guide and hone the skills of young rocker hopefuls.
The instructors list is a who’s who of Central Minnesota musicians; Promoter/Producing/Music moguls Tommy and Jeff Vee, Bassist and producer Jeff Engholm, Slip Twister/Fabulous Armadillo’s frontman Paul (Stretch) Deithelm, Blimp/Stearn’s County Pachanga Society’s guitarist Mark (Hazzy) Hasbrouck, Rockhouse Production’s Producer/Engineer Thomas Cabot, and the multi-talented globe-hopping professional musician Mitch Johnson. Two new instructors have been added this year; Keyboardist Tom Bard, one-half of The Bill & Tom Show, frequent guest in The Fabulous Armadillos and Nashville songwriter Ashley Brown, who plays a mean fiddle and is a well-respected local music instructor. A pair of former School of Rockers have graduated to instructor as well; Tyler Kelm and Jordan Maiers will assist as junior instructors and they’ll be working together to form one band.
The concert is Thursday, August 9th at the Sauk Rapids Rice High School Performing Arts Center and is open to the public. Advance sale tickets are $6.00 and are available at Rocktown Music and Ham’s Music. Tickets will be $7.00 at the door on the night of the show. Check out our next generation of rock in Central Minnesota!