ARMONK, N.Y. – Three months after settling into its new Armonk home, performing arts education center Standing Ovation Studios is ready to unveil what it hopes will become a groundbreaking program: S.O.S Rocks.
S.O.S Rocks will aim to be an innovative after-school program taught by some of Westchester County’s top professional musicians. The studio, at 1 Labriola Court, will hold an open house for the program this Sunday to get things going.
“The idea of this program is that young musicians can come in and have their abilities and styles matched together, and at the end of the day, be part of a band,” said Standing Ovation Studies Founder John Fanelli.
Kids interested in joining will go through a process to make sure they’re put on the right path, Fanelli said. After being evaluated, the rankings of green, blue, orange, red and red-hot will determine their experience, with green for beginners and red-hot for experienced.
“Everything we do here is education based,” said Fanelli. “I want this to be the best program in Westchester for rock n’ roll.”
After being evaluated, students will be assigned to one of the following professional musicians, or as the program has dubbed them, mentors:
- Rich Kelly, bass and guitar
- Chris Burke, keyboard and piano
- Tony DiLulo, guitar
- Jimmy Tate, singing
- Sam Wagner, drums
While each mentor has a specialty, Fanelli said each mentor was brought on board because “they can all do everything.”
Such flexibility allows the program to form bands based on what level students are. Depending on what each band's needs might be, each mentor would be able to step in and lend a hand.
“It’s a very unique program and probably the best performance space in all of Westchester,” said Kelly, who resides in Bedford Hills and performs throughout the county.
While all ages are encouraged, Fanelli said he expects the majority of his students to fall between the ages of 6 and 18. Individually, students will have the option of private lessons with a mentor at the rates of $65 for every half hour or $85 for every hour. As a group, they will meet through a 10-week session for $400, however, the group program and private lessons are mutually exclusive and students can do one without the other.
At the end of the 10 weeks, bands ready to perform will hold a “showcase” concert for their friends and family, with each band performing one or two songs. Each student will also get to take home recordings of their songs on a WAV file.
The jam sessions will begin on Sunday, during the S.O.S Rocks Open House from noon to 4 p.m. Those in attendance will get to meet the mentors, try out and play instruments and enjoy a live performance from the instructors as well.
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