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Concert will rock with 60s and 70s music to help worthy causes

Food, money and rock-n-roll all share a helpful purpose as some students from Fallbrook High School’s Madrigal and Warrior band programs get to strum and sing with the San Diego award-winning classic rock band, Rockola, to a crowd of more than 500 on March 20.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. and benefit the Fallbrook Food Pantry, the Madrigals choral group and the Warrior Band. It will be held at the Bob Burton Center for the Performing Arts.

Pavilion seating is $20 a ticket and orchestra seating is $25. Tickets can be purchased at the Fallbrook Food Pantry, Fallbrook Albertsons store and Major Market, or online at Rockola.com.

This is the third year Rockola has performed at the school, and as they did last year, band members will work with music students and give them the chance to participate in the concert and show off their talents on stage.

Whitney Leehey, a FUHS senior and member of the Madrigals, performed on stage with Rockola at last year’s benefit that raised money for Ugandan children.

She and other choral music students served as backup singers for some of the songs.

“It was a lot of fun and a new experience to perform with a full band,” she said.

One of Leehey’s favorite songs performed by Rockola was “Let it Be,” she said.

“Let it Be,” is an original Beatles hit song that dozens of artists have re-mixed since its release in 1970 – and today still captures millions of eyes with videos of the song on sites such as You Tube.

Rockola is a tribute band that plays music from 1960s and 70s era artists such as The Beatles, James Brown and Smokey Robinson.

Rockola has performed live shows of entire Beatles albums, and the quartet recaptures the decades-ago style not only with their four-part harmonies but with their vintage guitars and clothing.

“They are spot-on with renditions,” said Dave Evans, organizer of the benefit concert and teacher at FUHS. “Whatever it is they play – if you close your eyes it was as though you were listening to the original band.”

Evans said although some students will be performing with Rockola, the concert is geared more toward the baby boomer generation, parents of high school students who want to come out for a great show and help the community.

Bob Tedde, lead and band manager for Rockola, said the band has become passionate about working with kids.

“It’s magic. It really is,” he said.

Tedde said that before Rockola began including kids in their concerts, they had been attempting to combine rock-and-roll shows with orchestras.

“More and more players excited to do it were kids,” he said.

There’s a lot of instruction involved in blending an orchestra with a band, Tedde said.

Rockola will be teaching one student from the Warrior band how to play the Tambura, which is a four-foot long-necked string instrument.

Between 15 and 20 Warrior band students will join Rockola on stage at the March 20 concert and play the saxophones, trombones and trumpets.

For at least one song, that same number of Madrigals will join them as singers.

“What we bring to kids is a unique performance opportunity to play with a live band on a live stage with monitors and a microphone,” Tedde said.

Proceeds from the concert will be split in thirds amongst the Warrior band, Madrigals program, and the Fallbrook Food Pantry.

Evans is a past advisor of Schools for Schools, an organization that helped raise money for the displaced children of Uganda, and money raised from the last two benefit concerts went to that cause.

Evans said that with the collapse in the economy he decided to bring this year’s benefit home to benefit the high school and the local community.

“The present reality across the country requires doubling efforts to help those who are less fortunate than we are,” he said.

The Fallbrook Food Pantry has an ongoing need for food, said Alice Saunders, a 13-year volunteer for the pantry that provides donated food to low wage earners, unemployed and the homeless.

Saunders said that recently a larger number of seniors have been coming in.

She said the pantry serves between 500-600 families each week.

“There was a time when I thought if we served 20 or 30 people in a morning that was a lot. Now there’s 100 to 120 [each morning,]” she said.

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