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by Judith Hruz
This is arguably some of the best news of the year: The Sherwood High School Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival will take the stage this month after being forced to cut short its 2020 performance because of COVID-19 and not being able to perform live at all in 2021 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
And on top of being able to attend the show in person on March 4, 5 and 6 and March 11, 12 and 13 in the high school’s Ertzman Theater, it is Revival’s 50th show.
The theme is “Timeless,” but many regular patrons would say the school’s display of talent, which showcases music from numerous decades, has always been just that.
“Yes, we are moving on with the show this year,” teacher Alex Silverbook said.
He added, “This is my 22nd year as the instrumental music director at Sherwood, and I am thrilled that the show will be back in person. After what has happened with the pandemic these past two years, I feel everyone needs the positive energy of live music back in their lives. Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival has always been a positive force as a show that brings our community together in many ways. I know everyone is excited for the show this year.”
Silverbook and his colleagues received word in mid-February that county officials would allow 100 percent audience capacity in the theater for each show. Tickets went on sale Feb. 21 and most were sold by press time.
Other directors of Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival are Mike Maddox and Johnathan Dunn.
This marks Maddox’s 13th year as a full-time music teacher in Maryland public schools, 10th in Montgomery County Public Schools and ninth at Sherwood. He has been co-directing Rock ‘n’ Roll since show No. 43 and serving as the show’s producer since Rock ‘n’ Roll 46.
“Teaching at Sherwood is my absolute dream-job, and I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this music department and the humbling 50-year tradition that is Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival,” he said.
And the beat goes on
The beloved Olney tradition has been going strong since 1971 after several Sherwood students were inspired by a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Silverbook, Dunn and Maddox took over the show in 2017, following the retirement of Sherwood legend Bill Evans, who led the show for 37 years.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival 49, “The Name Game,” hit the stage March 6-8, 2020, but the performances on March 13-15 of that year were canceled because of COVID-19.
Adding to the celebration is 2020 was that the show’s directors, Maddox, Dunn and Silverbook, were honored as the Greater Olney Civic Association’s Citizens of the Year. But even the in-person award ceremony, set for March 15, was canceled.
In true musical style, the show did go on in 2021, even if virtually.
The students and their teachers released nine music videos online last May.
They were linked from http://SherwoodMusic.info and also from the SHS Music twitter account at @sherwood_music.
They called the show “Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival 49.5.”
In 2020, 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 in 2020.
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 did last year’s seniors lose 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.
The videos focused the spotlight on seniors.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival has been a proud tradition at Sherwood High School, and Silverbook and Maddox hope to carry on the beloved institution.
At The Greater Olney News press time, tickets were being sold at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/58915. The majority of tickets were sold. Show dates and times are 7:30 p.m. March 4, 5, 11 and 12 and 2 p.m. March 6 and 13. Also at press time, a mask mandate was in place at all indoor MCPS events.
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