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School of Rock Oak Park is Going to Europe!

Article by Taylor Haag of the Wednesday Journal

School of Rock Oak Park’s Show Team is heading to Portugal to perform at Rock in Rio this summer.  

School of Rock is a music school franchise across the United States and 15 countries overseas that teaches aspiring musicians master skills and aims to instill confidence in them by unleashing their creativity through music lessons – such as piano/keyboard, bass, guitar, singing and drums – and playing in their band programs. As the name suggests, they specialize in the rock genre of music.  

The Show Team highlights “the best and most talented” 12-to-18-year-old students enrolled in the school, according to music director, Ethan Loafman.  

“The Show Team… I’m always constantly so impressed with how great they sound,” Loafman said. “I think School of Rock is kind of amazing for building these like just young, absolute, phenomenal players.”  

School of Rock has locations in Portugal and Brazil, and they have a partnership with Rock in Rio. The partnership consists of allowing 48 School of Rock bands from around the world to perform at the festival, which made this opportunity for the Oak Park Show Team possible.  

Loafman submitted a song the Show Team performed during a set last fall as an audition for the selection process, and a panel of Rock in Rio representatives chose them to perform.  

Rock in Rio is a music festival that originated in Brazil and has now branched to locations such as Lisbon, Madrid and Las Vegas.  

The Lisbon festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The four-day festival brings in a large crowd on an average year, but this celebration is set to bring in hundreds of thousands from across the world.  

“I was looking at some of the headliners there, and I thought like wow this is like really, really big, really crazy,” said Bella Erpelo, a 16-year-old singer for Show Team. “I didn’t really understand like how big the festival was.”  

The headliners for Rock in Rio Lisbon include Scorpions, Ed Sheeran, Jonas Brothers and Doja Cat.  

Along with their immense musical talent, the Oak Park School of Rock Show Team fosters a community where everyone has a place to feel like they belong.  

 “They’ve [the band members] kind of got the same soul, like they all are there for that same reason, they all enjoy it, they’re all playing off each other,” said Jessica Richmond, the mother of Cameron Richmond, a 15-year-old guitarist for Show Team. 

School of Rock has become a home base for the students who take lessons and participate in their bands. Aside from rehearsals and lessons, rooms at School of Rock are open for students to do their homework, have a jam session and hang out with the friends they have made there.  

The opportunity to travel to Europe for a gig this size is an amazing accomplishment for this group of teens. Even more so, it is a way for them to connect more inside and outside the Show Team.  

“Some of the people [in Show Team] don’t actually live in Oak Park because ours is the biggest in the area, so a lot of people come from, you know, in the city or other suburbs, so it’s like I don’t get to see them all that often or like spend time with them like that,” said bassist Jamie Regenstein, 17. 

 “I’m just excited that we’re going to go to, you know, have five days like as a team just to get closer.”  

The 15 band members traveling to Europe this summer are living out one of their dreams of performing at a music festival. However, the cost of sending them there is significant.  

The parents of the Show Team band members are setting up fundraisers to help with the cost and to ensure that every member can participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  

They have set up a GoFundMe campaign, and have a partnership with Kribi Coffee where $5 donations will go to the band for each purchase of coffee beans.  

They also will hold a fundraising concert at Distro Music Hall, 6815 Roosevelt Road in Berwyn, on April 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the public to show their support and experience their talent firsthand. 

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