Rocking On

A Look at Rock Ensemble

Jamie Claar, Staff Writer

    I remember being in 7th grade and watching my brother up on stage with his Rock Ensemble class and at that point I knew what I wanted to do. The Rock Ensemble class of State High, to which I am a somewhat-proud member, provides a refuge from the stress and discontent of being in this prison, or as most people see it: school. It’s secluded home of room 38 North, lets us be ourselves and focus on the things that matter most, music or mainly ourselves.

   We, as musicians love our work and camaraderie almost as much as we love ourselves. Kristen Nodell, junior, said, “Rock Ensemble was a really cool environment to be in. There are so many talented musicians in this school. You just have to look for them, and I had the privilege to be in this awesome program that taught me so much about music, myself, and others. It’s a really special opportunity to be able to play music as a group in school.”

   A usual day in regular Rock Ensemble, which I might’ve mentioned I am a part of, consists of a 20 minute set-up of the equipment followed by another 10 minutes of people showing how great they are at playing “Stairway to Heaven” all at the same time (thanks Bear). By this time we usually start the songs we’re actually going to perform, currently that’d be “Rudie Can’t Fail” and “Rock the Casbah”. By this time, since the class is actually two short classes and, apparently, people have better things to do, many of the people have left the class for study hall, but as people leave people will come: the next class starts. At this point we actually finish some songs with a sense of organization. What goes on in Advanced Rock Ensemble is unknown to us unenlightened folk, but I imagine it’s much like watching angels sing, as in not chaotic and beautiful. But we did get it together at the end just in time for the Annual Winter Rock Ensemble Concert, thanks to James Robinson.

    One dim light in the North Building on the only snowy day in January, the 22, signaled to all that the annual Rock Ensemble Winter Concert had begun and with it a welcome to paradise, which I kicked off. The crew and I had performed a litany of songs, ranging from the classic vibe of the Beatles to the twisted harmonies of Muse. The crowd had more than doubled since the previous year, which was surprising, to say the least. The man in charge of Rock Ensemble, Robinson, said, “The Rock Ensemble concert was excellent, it showed a great amount of musical maturity among the players, and was very well organized.” Senior Joe Caldwell, a member of the Advanced class, said, “It was the most exciting concert yet. It was the best audience, not just in size but in terms of reactions.” It was indeed Joe, it was indeed.  First timer and resident Englishman, Jon Taylor, sophomore, said, “It was really fun. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed being up there playing the fish (electric bass) instead of being in the audience.”

   In all seriousness, I love working with all of these great people and have nothing but the utmost respect for them, and I think what we do is enjoyable and fun not only for us, but those who come and rock out at our performances. Since I first came to Rock Ensemble my freshman year, these people have been nothing but kind and generous to me. Back then, our concerts were nowhere near as big as they are now, and I am happy that we have been able to grow as much as we have . I hope we can one day grow enough for our Advanced members to actually get advanced credit, kind of like Choir. But thank you, all you who listen to our noise and you who sing and play those sounds.