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Review and photos by BILL STEPHENSWhen you hear the words School Of Rock, most will think of the movie starring Jack Black. On June 27th and 28th, over 500 student performers from 34 different School of Rock locations showed off their training, talent and love for rock music on multiple stages at Summerfest in Milwaukee. The participating students came from 16 states nationwide and Australia to compete against each other and in some cases themselves. Performing in front of a live audience with multiple bandmates and various guest mentors can provide a learning experience, feedback and exposure in a real world environment.
I am an assigned photographer that each year spends each of the 11 days sampling from the 11 different stages and over 800 performances that Summerfest has to offer. As a live performance photographer I am charged with capturing images of performances in an effort to communicate the music visually freezing time using my eye and camera. These students not only demonstrate their musical aptitude and showmanship, they also believe in the music with all of their heart and soul.
Learning and performing any form of music takes dedication and hours of practice. In this case performing with musicians, they may have never met or performed with, increases the level of difficulty and adds another level of difficulty and learning experience. When performing in a band environment you are now part of a tight unit, a team, that when all members are working together communicates the thoughts and feeling the composer put down on paper.
While music takes many shapes, Rock, Country, Classical, Rap, Blues etc. and every musician has their own style, these students are no different, a musician's expression is more powerful than just playing the notes, anyone can learn to play the notes, painting a picture with the music and communicating that feeling from the heart is the difference. The School of Rock has been able to teach the student to convey the feeling and soul of the music, you have to believe in the music or you will never communicate with your audience. I attended part of the finals at the BMO Stage. Truly amazing performances by all and while I did not witness the winner, for the record, everyone is a winner, the students gaining experience and the audience being able to share their experience. Kudos to the School of Rock and Summerfest, I hope they continue this partnership for the sake of the students and the future of musical performance.
For more information on the School www.schoolofrock.com, for more photos, www.wmsphotography.com/CONCERTSANDPERFORMERS/THE-SCHOOL-OF-ROCK-SUMMERFEST.
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