Middle School Students Take On Percussive and Rock ‘n’ Roll Tunes

One could be forgiven for thinking that U2 was performing at The Masters School on Wednesday, June 5, since, after all, an impressive version of their song “Vertigo” was emanating out of the Claudia Boettcher Theatre.

The band playing the famous rock song was, in fact, The Walking Catfish, one of the student groups that performed at the annual Masters of Rock and BOOM! Concert.

Masters of Rock and BOOM! are performing arts ensembles open to all Middle School students. Throughout the year, students in Masters of Rock learn a variety of rock ‘n’ roll songs, and students in BOOM! learn about rhythm by playing percussion instruments from Africa, South America and Eastern Asian countries. John-Alec Raubeson, the Middle School music teacher who works with the two groups said, “In Masters of Rock, we give students the opportunity to let their hair down and rock out!” And in BOOM!, “We explore all things rhythmic.” Raubeson also makes sure to tailor the Masters of Rock songs to each student’s skill level, “so there’s a place for everyone,” he said.

This was the first year during which BOOM! performed an original song, entitled “BOOM! Opus #1.” BOOM! Also played a traditional Afro-Cuban rhythm and a song by AAINJAA, a Columbian percussion group. The three Masters of Rock bands — Thundervision, Contra Band and The Walking Catfish — each performed three songs, ranging from the 80s classic “Take On Me” by A-HA to Don’t Fear The Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult. “The highpoint for me is seeing young folks finding their inner creative voice and bringing themselves completely to the performance,” Raubeson said.

Interested in participating next year? Save the following dates for informational meetings and auditions:
BOOM! info meeting and auditions will take place on Thursday, September 12.
Masters of Rock info meeting and auditions will take place on Tuesday, September 10.
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