'School of Rock' lets students from different backgrounds learn to play instruments.
Written by: Anthony Antoine
It’s business as usual at Glen Allen Library off Staples Mills Road, or so you think.
In a place normally known for its hushed tones, 16-year-old Luke Hopkins and 15-year-old Lily Manyara are turning up the volume.
It’s all part of the “School of Rock,” which lets students from different backgrounds learn to play instruments. They get lost in the music and find themselves in process.
The program is the brain child of Parker Alter and her husband.
“If you have a passion for music, it brings out that confidence,” Alter said.
Rock may be in the title, but its just one genre of music. In this setting, all types of music can be heard, including jazz and the blues.
This weekend, the Richmond Jazz Festival will be held at Maymont with big names like Gladys Knight and George Clinton. Before they were music legends, they were children with dreams just like the ones at School of Rock, who are looking forward to their chance to glimpse the greats on stage.
“I love seeing how different people perform, and I just live seeing them on stage,” Manyara said. “How they get the crowd going, how they display the emotion that they’re trying to portray. I would love to be on that stage one day.”
Hopkins said the music is a great place for expression, and a good way to find an inner peace.
“I think self-expression is the most important thing in human existence, so this is just the way that I do it,” Hopkins said. “I have become more in touch with who I am. Self-esteem is much better than it used to be before School of Rock.”
The Jazz Festival may be a major attraction and a fun event to attend, but for these kids it’s also a learning experience. and a chance to appreciate the music they are trying to master.
“The Jazz Festival is a great way for them to see really the American roots of music,” Alter said. “Jazz and blues are both of those things to us.”