Sound Check: GJ Rockestra

GJ Rockestra will close out its 2012 season with a show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Colorado Mesa University Center Ballroom. Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You,” Styx’s “Too Much Time On My Hands” and Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” are on the program. These photos were taken at GJ Rockestra’s August concert.

Sometimes, he plays Ludwig van Beethoven. Sometimes, it’s Van Halen.

As far as Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra trumpet player Calvin Hofer is concerned: “Good music is good music.”

Intrigued by the notion that classic rock tunes could sound even better if played by a classically-trained symphony, Hofer started GJ Rockestra nearly 16 months ago, giving symphony members the chance to play music they wouldn’t normally perform.

“When do string players get to play rock ‘n’ roll?” Hofer asked.

GJ Rockestra is made up of local singers, a small rhythm section and dozens of symphony members, enabling the group to add a rich depth to the sound of iconic rock tunes from the past 50-plus years.

The public reception to GJ Rockestra has been so positive the group is ready to amp up its performance level, hoping to put on less of a concert and more of a show, Hofer said.

“Good grief, most of these songs I would think create a sense of nostalgia among the people,” Hofer said.

GJ Rockestra’s next show will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Colorado Mesa University Center Ballroom. Tickets are $20 and are available through or at 243-6787.

Beverages will be sold at the show to create even more of a rock atmosphere.

“We’re trying a different venue so people can get up and dance,” Hofer said.

Among the songs on the set list for the Oct. 20 show are: Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” Joe Cocker’s “The Letter,” Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”

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