Spotlight on The School Of Rock: Performing Dec. 6 at FPL

mbrew brought to you by top adSpotlight on The School Of Rock: Performing Dec. 6 at FPLFerndale 115_FFL

(Jeff Milo, Ferndale Public Library, Dec. 2, 2014)

Don’t expect some cutesy kid’s band. This is the real deal. This is the School Of Rock and they’re coming to the Ferndale Public Library, this Saturday.

“If Rock n’ Roll is what you want,” offers musician and School Of Rock instructor Mike Latcha, “from 60’s rock to modern rock, country, soul, funk and blues, than you’d better be at this show.”

Latcha teaches a range of students, in age and skill level, at the Rochester chapter of the School Of Rock. Located at 415 Walnut Blvd, Rochester’s SOR is part of a nationwide franchise of the popular after-school education company. You might recall the Jack Black film from 2004? The original School Of Rock was started out of California around 2002-3 and has since spread across the country.

Latcha, along with Rochester’s music director Eddie Baranek, contacted the Ferndale Library last month, Jim Shaffer KELLER ad blackexpressing an eagerness to showcase the talents of its House Band during FPL’s monthly local music program, Start Here Saturdays.

“The House Band is the cream-of-the-crop-students and we plan on giving you a great rock n’ roll show,” said Latcha, who came to SOR in the fall of 2010. One of the programs that Latcha and Baranek are currently teaching is the “Bowie & Queen show,” with up to 20 students rehearsing songs by David Bowie and Queen on a weekly basis for three months building up until they’re ready for real shows inside real rock n’ roll venues. These concerts, which, Latcha assures, are impressive enough to wow any rock fan from any generation or age group, can give these young musicians the experience of an authentic live stage performance.

“Almost every student in our show LOVES Bowie, now,” said Baranek with charmed wonder. “How cooessentiall is that? A nine-year-old singing ‘The Man Who Sold The World,’ by Bowie? That’s oh so sweet!”

Latcha said that the range of students, in age, background and personality, varies considerably; some are already getting into music and have been playing an instrument while others haven’t ever touched in instrument and might be more inclined toward sports, math, science or drawing. “Part of my job here,” said Baranek, “is letting a student who may not play sports that that is ok and that you can play drums, guitar, or sing and you’ll learn the same skill set as you would playing football.”

Ages span from 6-18, with each student starting at varying levels of talent. Guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and vocal skills are what’s emphasized each week, focusing their developing talents through special themed programs (that are often inspired by curated songs by iconic rock n’ roll groups like The Rolling Stones or Red Hot Chili Peppers).

Latcha said that the students in SOR are not only learning key elements of rock n’ roll, but also integral lessons modern natural baby inprogressand skills to help them mature into better, fully rounded individuals. Music is an overarching aspect, but through collaborative performances (often in front of live audiences at major events and festivals), the students can learn about responsibility, leadership, camaraderie, time management, working in groups, and taking pride in a community. “But it also builds their confidence,” said Latcha, “to just take ownership of something and really go for something. My goal isn’t to make them the next Beatles but to teach them something about themselves and the world.”

As Baranek puts it, “…these are life lessons, sung to the soundtrack of rock ‘n’ roll!”

SOR students are taught by professional musicians, many of whom have considerable resumes bullet-pointed by big gigs they themselves have played in the past with local major rock n’ roll groups.10818548_10205078546058833_1227902261_n

Latcha has performed regularly with several bands over the last 10 years, having studied music at Oakland University and freelancing as a music tutor before joining SOR. Baranek, meanwhile, is best known as the frontman of Detroit’s renowned garage/blues outfit The Sights. The collective knowledge and insight of SOR teaching staff transfers into these younger, diminutive rockers in a remarkable way, giving them the gusto to go toe-to-toe with any other local rock group around the region. Like Latcha said, expect the real deal!

Start Here Saturday is an after-hours local music concert hosted every first Saturday of the month at the Ferndale Public Library. Doors open at 6:30 PM with music beginning around 7PM – free and open to the public, featuring two local bands. On Saturday, The School Of Rock Rochester is joined by lo-fi/electro-folk singer/songwriter Champion Of Heat Resistance. More info:


More info:
School of Rock, Rochester:

Start Here Saturday:

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