Blog on the WMS performance of “Grease” coming soon…

The Weston, CT Middle School brilliantly perform “Grease”.

Weston Middle School’s production of Grease last year was pretty impressive. Being there was just like being back at Rydell High School in the 50′s. The music, the diner, the leather jackets, the poodle skirts….everything was vintage. The impeccable live music by the pit band included both teachers and students. The performances were fun and dead on to the characters in the original movie. I would say that the characters were cast perfectly.

I may write more about this play at a later date. But, after a year has gone by, this same middle school put on an even more spectacular performance of Seussical. This will be my next blog post.

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I Love The School of Rock

 

Sheer elation of a job well done by the Fairfield School of Rock at the Black Bear Saloon in Norwalk, CT.

The School of Rock is a performance based music instruction organization. They are nationwide. Kids (and adults!) take lessons on the core rock instruments; guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and vocals. The typical student also signs up for one of their semester “shows”. For example, this winter’s choices at the Fairfield, CT location are Radiohead, Alman Brothers vs. Lynard Skynard, The Beatles Sgt. Peppers album show, best of Bowie, SoCal 4, New Wave,  and Rocket Man vs. Piano Man. Each show is geared toward all different levels of ability from beginner to advanced. The advanced shows are designed to challenge students with new and complex concepts, rhythms, harmonies, etc. Some of the more recent advanced shows have been Rush, Yes, and the music of Frank Zappa…

Fairfield School of Rock performs the music of Frank Zappa at the Acoustic Cafe in Bridgeport, CT.

The School of Rock also delves into other types of music. It’s not just classic rock and roll. This past list of shows included Michael Jackson, U2, Coldplay, and Dave Grohl. They also do One Hit Wonders, Women of Rock and other shows. One of the more interesting performance was the “Nothing but the Blues” show. This particular show played at Stage One in Fairfield, CT and featured old and new blues songs. It was an excellent show and reknowned drumer Carmine Appice was on hand to play a couple of songs with the kids.

Carmine Appice shows his appreciation for the kids from the Fairfield School of Rock at Stage One in Fairfield, CT.

Emotion filled performance at the Nothing but the Blues show at Stage One in Fairfield, CT.

When a kid enrolls in the School of Rock they basically sign up for a 45 minute lesson each week along with a three hour rehearsal with the other kids in their show. Each kid is assigned 4 or 5 songs to learn with other kids. An adult music director is assigned to each show to help guide the kids through their songs concentrating on teamwork, timing, tempo, and stage performance. The instructor in the respective lessons works on the individual parts that the kids must learn. This goes on for a good four months and culminates in a performance at a local venue on two different days. If you ever go to a performance be sure you get there early as the seats fill up fast.

The music of Frank Zappa by the Fairfield School of Rock at the Acoustic Cafe in Bridgeport, CT.

Then it gets interesting. At each show the music director and other instructors decide which two songs were the best at each show. Those two songs compete with the other best two songs in the other shows to represent that school at an area competition. In this case the Fairfield School of Rock battled it out with the School of Rock from Shelton, CT and New Canaan, CT.

Young rocker at the Best-in Show performance at the Black Bear in Norwalk, CT

 

The bass is bigger than this young School of Rock girl!

From there about an hours worth of music is chosen as “the best” to represent the county in a tri-state competition in New York City at the famous Highline Ballroom. School’s from Westchester, NY, Chatam, NJ, and New York, NY are represented for the ultimate school winner. I went to one of these performances and was blown away. I didn’t have a camera then so I didn’t take any pictures. But the music was absolutely amazing. The kids are very talented.

That’s not all….at the Fairfield School of Rock they have what they call a “House Band”. This house band is comprised of the “all stars”, if you will, of the school. They rehearse independently of the various shows that the kids are in and play a variety of songs. They are active in playing various venues throughout the year as a way to help promote the school and the fun music education that the kids end up getting. If you ever have the chance to see the House Band (or any School of Rock performance) I highly recommend it. These kids are truly talented and play some really great music.

Amazing 11 year old drummer for the Fairfield School of Rock House Band at the blues festival in Westport, Ct.

 

The Fairfield School of Rock House Band at the blues festival in Westport, CT.

Stop by the Fairfield School of Rock any day and you’ll see and feel the energetic vibe and buzz of kids and rock music. Needless to say I am a big supporter of the School of Rock and would highly recommend it as a school for kids of any age and ability who want to learn an instrument and, most importantly, learn how to Rock!

http://fairfield.schoolofrock.com/

SV

 

 

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The Sandy Hook Tragedy

Newtown, CT Memorial

I live very close to Newtown, Connecticut where the awful tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School unfolded a week and a half ago. I felt compelled to “do something” to both help out and to relieve myself of some of the anguish that I was experiencing even though I did not know any of the people/kids personally who perished. So I went there to their “ground zero” to lay down a stuffed reindeer and a small evergreen tree.

Only a portion of a growing memorial at “ground zero” in Newtown, CT.

I really didn’t know what to expect. I parked the car and walked toward the above pictured area. I crossed the street and it was only then that I noticed that this little area was only a small part of a huge tented memorial with thousands upon thousands of all kinds of stuffed animals, candles, flowers, pictures, poems, flags, you name it. I placed the reindeer and tree in a tucked away corner not wanting to intrude on anybody’s space. I then walked up the sidewalk to try to find a way to appreciate the memorial.

This is the epi-center for the Newtown, CT memorial. Police in the background stop people from going up the street to Sandy Hook Elementary School.

It was at this point that I realized that I was very close to Sandy Hook Elementary school where the inconceivable horrible act occured. I noticed that the police continued to prevent people from getting too close and blocked traffic from entering the street. Eventually, I turned the corner to see that the memorial was bigger than I thought.

It was very hard to keep composure at the Newtown, CT Memorial.

It was impossible not to feel the weight of the sorrow. People all around me couldn’t help but break down and cry. I felt the weight as well as tears filled the corners of my eyes. I had hesitated taking my camera. I actually felt like I would be intruding by taking pictures. Maybe I did. But, I’m glad I had it because it helped me compose myself and partially take my mind off the anguish and despair that I noticed was all around me. I paid my respects one last time, took one last picture and left. The last picture I took said it all to me. Less than two weeks before Christmas this awful tragedy occured. 20 children were looking forward to Christmas and the holiday season. Little stockings on the bridge with all of their names on them. God rest their souls.

Little stockings for the 20 little kids who perished on that fateful day.

Let’s all hope and pray that something like this never happens ever again.

SV

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