Are you ready to ROCKESTRA???
Classic rock will be transformed when the newly formed GJ Rockestra takes the stage for its first full show 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 11, at Robinson Theatre in the Moss Performing Arts Center at Mesa State College.
Think Van Halen with a French horn or Journey with a cello.
A collaboration of local singers, rockers and classically trained musicians, the GJ Rockestra was spearheaded by Grand Junction Symphony principal trumpet player Calvin Hofer, also the head of Mesa State’s music department and a fan of rock ‘n’roll.
The GJ Rockestra will perform iconic rock tunes with the help of local singers, a rhythm section of expected rock instruments and a symphony section of less-than-expected rock instruments.
The local Rockestra is modeled after a similar group in Sioux City, Iowa, Hofer said.
“You will get to hear these songs through an orchestra, which is a unique thing,” said bass guitarist Scot Bingham, 52, who grew up a fan of Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones but is intrigued by his part in Aerosmith’s “Dream On.”
Bingham spent more than 10 years in a dozen touring rock bands across the country but didn’t find the idea of playing classic rock tunes even remotely appealing until Hofer offered up the GJ Rockestra.
The professionalism of local symphony members intrigued Bingham.
Now GJ Rockestra members are hoping that the mix of a symphony-level performance with a set list for the masses will intrigue people to come listen — and sing along.
“It allows the little rock star in everybody” to come out, Hofer said.
Tickets to the GJ Rockestra’s first performance are $15 to $20 and available at http://www.gjsymphony.org; the symphony office, 225 N. Fifth St. Suite 120; or by calling 243-6787.
The concert will be preceded by a free motorcycle ride at 2 p.m. from Grand Junction Harley-Davidson, 2747 Crossroads Blvd., to Moss Performing Arts Center.
A barbecue also will be held before the concert at 5:30 p.m. in the Mesa State College Quad. Tickets are $10.
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Vocalists for the GJ Rockestra were selected after an audition process to judge their singing ability and on-stage presence. None of these people expect to be Steve Perry or Ann Wilson, but they are excited to at least rock it out like Journey or Heart.
NAME: Rich Lyon
QUOTE: “I didn’t plan on auditioning for Rockestra. I’m just the karaoke DJ at Tenacious Brothers Pub, and I was asked to run the music for the preliminary round of auditions. I sang the first song to set the tone, so to speak, and got named one of the finalists.”
NAME: Toni Lombardi
QUOTE: “For me, picking a favorite rock song would be about as easy as choosing a favorite star in the sky. My parents, Pie and Lori Lombardi, brought me up on ... classic rock.
NAME: Emily “Miss Emily” Erkman
QUOTE: “I sing a lot of jazz and funk in the area and wanted to get in touch with other musicians and have the opportunity to sing different music.”
NAME: Liz Siegrist
QUOTE: “As a teenager I developed a huge passion for rock ‘n’roll music and wanted to tour the world in a band, but life took a different turn when I became a mother ... I just hope I haven’t waited too long to find some kind of niche in music.”
NAME: Katie Walters
QUOTE: “The day of the concert is actually my birthday. I can hardly imagine doing anything more exciting on my birthday than getting to be a part of this exciting event ... I feel very fortunate to be singing with some amazing vocalists.”