The District 112 Garage Band took a tour to Chicago May 2-5.
Twenty-eight students from four schools (Chaska and Chanhassen high schools, Pioneer Ridge Middle School and Chaska Middle School West) combined to form three rock bands and performed at Hard Rock Cafe Chicago, 360 Chicago and Six Flags Great America Amusement Park.
The students also visited Chicago Recording Company (one of the top recording studios in the country), Navy Pier, Millennium Park, Andy’s Jazz Club (where they saw a performance by the Soul Message Band) and got to see the Chicago production of “Hamilton.”
The bands each performed a short set of music, ranging from classics such as Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park” and Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” to more current hits by Fall Out Boy and Keane.
The bands are run through District 112 Community Education and have five band coaches: Scott Prescott, Eric Songer and Maggie Zeidel, who are all music teachers in the district, and Heidi Songer and Kris Stauffer, who are freelance educators and musicians. The bands had three rehearsals before the tour.
The Garage Band program was started by Heidi and Eric Songer in 2004 as an after-school opportunity for middle school musicians.
The program has grown from one band to six bands that have a winter and summer season, and now also includes high school.
In addition to learning and performing songs, students learn how to work together as a team, music theory, improvisation, stage presence, singing harmonies and instrumental technique.