Middle school students are ready to rock ... for a cause.
The third annual “Rock-It!” concert is this Friday night in the Chaska Middle School West gymnasium.
The free concert began as a way to showcase the talent of District 112 middle school musicians, said Chaska Middle School West music teacher Eric Songer. It gives the students “a chance to show off how kids can work together, be creative and produce something greater than the sum of its parts,” he said.
The concert has continued to grow in purpose and scope. Now, teachers and students from industrial technology, art and language departments are all creating sets and artwork for the big show. “It’s a cool interdisciplinary event which brings together music, art, industrial technology and technology,” Songer said.
But the lessons go beyond music. Students are also helping others. Besides benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients program, this year the concert will also help out CMSW science teacher Jessica Zaback, who is fighting cancer.
Zaback was diagnosed with lymphoma when she was 19. Then two years ago, Zaback was diagnosed with breast cancer, which has developed into bone cancer, according to Amy Stone, a CMSW paraprofessional, who spearheads fundraising via the concert concession stand.
Zaback and her husband Chad have two boys, ages 8 and 6. Among other things, funds raised for Zaback will help offset medical costs, cover transportation costs and compensate for time missed from work.
“This concert serves several purposes,” Songer said. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase our nontraditional student music groups. It’s wonderful to give these students a chance to perform in a setting that is modeled after what pop stars experience performing at the Target Center or Xcel Energy Center. We are raising money for an important cause,” he said.
This year the concert features District 112 bands directed by Eric and Heidi Songer, Pioneer Ridge Middle School director Scott Prescott, and local musician Kris Stauffer. The entertainment includes two garage bands, a country/bluegrass band, a rock chorus, hip hop electronica DJs, and some of CMSW’s top dancers.
“In total, approximately 40 musicians are performing, several student artists and set designers are showing off their work, and a handful of students will be on our tech crew,” Songer said. “As far as the music, there is a range of great stuff including covers of Michael Jackson, U2, Guns N’ Roses, Pat Benatar, Heart, Smash Mouth, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Imagine Dragons, Paramore, and much more,” he said.