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by Judith Hruz
If the pandemic has taught the world anything, it is how to be resourceful.
And the Sherwood High School music students – all students, really – learned that lesson well.
The musicians and their teachers have decided that the show must go on.
Although the school’s wildly popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival 49 went dark after the first of its two weekends of performances last year, and no show was scheduled for this March, the Sherwood musicians are keeping the music playing.
“Carrying on the tradition of RRR [Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival] is important in many ways to many people,” instrumental music director Alex Silverbook said.
Silverbook, choral/music teacher Mike Maddox and choral/music teacher Johnathan Dunn took over the show in 2017, following the retirement of Sherwood legend Bill Evans, who led the show for 37 years.
To keep the tradition alive, the students and their teachers are aiming for a May 14 release date of nine music videos posted online. They will be linked from http://SherwoodMusic.info and also from the SHS Music twitter account at @sherwood_music.
They call the show “Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival 49.5.”
Last spring, the Sherwood musicians turned the extra time they had — because, like everyone, they could not physically gather with friends and classmates — into virtual magic.
They used their talent to create a video to “Mr. Magic” by Grover Washington Jr. They called their production “Quarantine Magic,” and it gained significant attention through social media.
Later, they performed “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” with vocals.
“We demonstrated that this virus is not going to stop us from collaborating, making music and putting forth positive energy into the world,” Silverbook said last spring.
He emphasized the need for music in preparation for this spring’s virtual “event.”
“Music is needed in our lives more than ever,” he said. “I can’t even begin to tell you how many students told me that it was being in their music classes that helped them cope with the stresses brought on by this pandemic. In addition, it gives student’s an understanding that being in touch with the arts makes for a more compassionate and intelligent human being, which is clearly needed more than ever in today’s climate.”
Not only have the seniors lost their final live Rock ‘n’ Roll show, Silverbook said, but they’ve also lost many facets of their senior year.
“Being able to put together this virtual performance is providing them an opportunity to fulfill their love for music, their love for this show, and remain a part of this 50-year tradition,” he said.
Silverbook said the videos “will end up being very special, as they are a keepsake they will have and cherish forever and be able to look back on as one of the craziest times of their lives. In addition, it’s educationally allowing the students to still work on their craft as musicians and performers. It’s giving them an expressive outlet during a time when they need it most.”
The videos will focus the spotlight on seniors.
“This year’s songs primarily feature our seniors, many of whom have participated in Rock ‘n’ Roll since their ninth grade year,” Maddox said. “Every component, from band to backup vocals, has been recorded by individual students, from the safety of their homes.”
About 10 days before the target release date, he said, “We are currently in the process of compiling over 200 individual video recordings, and mixing and mastering the combined audio, to form one cohesive musical performance.”
Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival has been a proud tradition at Sherwood High School, and Silverbook and Maddox hope to carry on the beloved institution.
“This show has a lot of meaning to the overall Sherwood music program, and the community as well,” Silverbook said. “Due to the pandemic, and various other reasons, enrollment in music throughout the Sherwood Cluster is very low. I’ve been the instrumental music teacher at Sherwood High School for 21 years now, and I’ve never seen enrollment in our cluster this low.
“Sadly, during a time where we need extra support to build our programs, the result is that the arts are being cut. Multiple music classes have been cut for next school year throughout our entire Sherwood cluster.”
Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival 49.5 is planned for a May 14 release date. The music videos will be linked from http://SherwoodMusic.info and from the SHS Music twitter account at @sherwood_music. No tickets or fees will be charged, but a voluntary donation link will be added so that the community can continue to support the future of the music program at Sherwood High School.
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