Long before Jack Black recruited a classroom full of kids to start a rock band in last fall’s hit comedy School of Rock, Philadelphia’s own Paul Green was teaching kids to master the craft and mentality of rock music.
In 2004, the real School of Rock is still going strong and exposing audiences in South Philadelphia to the preteen guitar heroes and adolescent rock divas that are carrying the torch of rock n roll to the next generation. With the addition of several new branches over the past year, The Paul Green School of Rock is quickly becoming one of Philadelphia’s great institutions, and it’s one of the places you need to be this fall.
At the SoR, students from the ages of 10 to 18 take on the roles of instrumentalist, vocalist and sound technician with the simple goal of creating an inspiring live rock experience for themselves and the audience. Green always assembles a full band, presenting the students with the most musically challenging rock compositions of the last 35 years by artists such as Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Queen, Rush and Van Halen. The arrangements mirror all of the drum fills, distortion voices and guitar solos that are performed on the original recordings, with occasional improvisations by some of the more talented students.
Various members of the SoR have performed for audiences across the country and received invitations to international music festivals. By popular demand, the program has spread to five different corners of the mid-Atlantic region, with branches in Philadelphia, Downingtown, and Bucks County in Pennsylvania, and divisions in Cherry Hill, Somers Point and Bergen County in New Jersey. Although the SoR is taking a temporary hiatus after their summer season of tours, you can still catch the Philadelphia branch play two final shows before they go into rehearsals for another season of performances.
The School of Rock’s last scheduled performances of the season are tonight, Sept. 24 and tomorrow night, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m., at 1418 Darien St. in South Philly.
For this weekend’s show, the kids are playing only Van Halen, a catalogue featuring the most jaw-dropping guitar acrobatics of the late ’70s and ’80s. For more information, visit the School of Rock’s Web site at www.schoolofrock.com.
John Alexander can be reached at email@example.com.