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Teens rock out at River City Days
by Mark Olson
Jul 29, 2011 | 904 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Chaska Middle School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Eric Songer (pictured at right) performs at the 2010 River City Days.
The Chaska Middle School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Eric Songer (pictured at right) performs at the 2010 River City Days.
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The next “Boston Pops”?

The next “Rolling Stones”?

The next “Stomp”?

The next “Trampled by Turtles”?

You just might be seeing the next “(fill in the blank)” at River City Days.

For the fourth year, middle school students will be performing a variety of music at the show, under the direction of Eric Songer, a Middle School West teacher, who instructs these groups through community education.

The groups range from bluegrass to jazz to rock to percussion to orchestra.

New this year is the “Movie Band,” a 40-member concert band that plays movie themes such as “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” and “Kung Fu Panda.” Another new group this year is the “Stomp” group, which performs percussion pieces with trash cans and plas-tic tubes.

Returning will be a garage band, which is also taught by Heidi Songer; the Chaska Middle School Jazz Ensemble; and a bluegrass band.

“My philosophy of education is that we need to think out of the box when it comes to music education,” Songer said, of the eclec-tic groups.

Students who don’t have an interest in more traditional groups, such as choir and orchestra, join these other bands, Songer said. They are now getting a formal music education, Songer notes, “and not just trying to teach themselves.”

River City Days provides a chance to showcase these new talents. “I think it’s a wonderfully run event and a wonderful opportu-nity for kids to play in front of a big group, a big audience,” Songer said.

“And at the same time, it’s informal, so they all get nervous, but when you’re in that setting, you don’t have the lights going up and the people sitting in the auditorium staring at you, and the crowd is much more enthusiastic. The applause they get, the kids feel like rock stars.”

Teen Bands

What:
Young students perform, under the direction of Eric and Heidi Songer

Who: Chaska Middle School Jazz Ensemble, Garage Band, Movie Band, ‘Stomp’ Group, Country Bluegrass Band

When: 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, July 30

Where: Near the City Square Park gazebo

Info: songerstudio.com

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