SONGER STUDIO
GARAGE BAND & COUNTRY BLUEGRASS BAND START SEASON
THE STORY IS ALWAYS FUN TO TELL.  HEIDI AND ERIC SONGER HAD LEFT THE 2002 MOVIE SCHOOL OF ROCK.  AND WHILE MOST PEOPLE LEFT THE THEATER THINKING THAT IT WAS A FUN PLOT AND FUNNY MOVIE, HEIDI AND ERIC WERE DISCUSSING HOW THEY COULD MAKE A ROCK MUSIC PROGRAM A REALITY IN THE SCHOOLS OF EASTERN CARVER COUNTY.

WITH VERY LITTLE GEAR, SUPPORT OR REHEARSAL SPACE, HEIDI AND ERIC OFFERED “SCHOOL OF ROCK” FOR 6TH THROUGH 8TH GRADERS THROUGH COMMUNITY EDUCATION DURING THE WINTER SESSION OF THE 2003-04 SCHOOL YEAR.  WHAT RESULTED HAS BEYOND THEIR WILDEST DREAMS.

THAT FIRST SCHOOL OF ROCK CLASS WAS BUSTING AT THE SEAMS.  THE SONGERS HAD HOPED FOR 6-8 STUDENTS TO COME OUT FOR THE CLASS WHICH WOULD INTRODUCE HOW TO PLAY IN A ROCK BAND.  INSTEAD OVER 20 KIDS REGISTERED.  THE NEXT SEVERAL WEEKS WERE SPENT LEARNING GUITAR, DRUM SET AND PIANO, FORMING BANDS, LEARNING TUNES AND ROCKIN’ OUT IN THE CMS-EAST BAND AND CHOIR ROOM.  

THAT SUMMER THE SONGERS DECIDED THAT THE CLASS WAS TOO BIG AND ALSO CONSISTED OF STUDENTS AT TOO VARYING OF ABILITIES TO MAKE IT AS SUCCESSFUL AS THEY HAD HOPED.  SO THE IDEA OF “GARAGE BAND” WAS FORMED.  THIS CLASS WOULD BE OFFERED TO KIDS THAT HAD PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE ON THEIR INSTRUMENTS AND WOULD PERFORM FOR A LIVE AUDIENCE.  SCHOOL OF ROCK WOULD CONTINUE TO BE OFFERED TO STUDENTS WHO WANTED TO LEARN INSTRUMENTS.  

THAT FIRST CONCERT WAS PART OF A JAZZ BAND CONCERT IN THE CMSW CAFETERIA.  IT WAS PLANNED FOR THE SAME DATE THAT HEIDI SONGER WAS DUE WITH THE BIRTH OF HER FIRST CHILD.  LUCKILY, CALEB WAITED FOR THREE DAYS BECAUSE THE BAND’S KEYBOARD PLAYER WAS SICK THAT NIGHT AND HEIDI HAD TO FILL IN ON PIANO AND PLAYED SONGS LIKE “SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT”.  

REALIZING THAT THERE WERE STILL TOO MANY STUDENTS INTERESTED IN THE PROGRAM, THE SONGERS IMPLEMENTED AUDITIONS FOR GARAGE BAND FOR THE 2005-06 SCHOOL YEAR AND CREATED A SECOND GARAGE BAND.  NEW VENUES WERE CREATED FOR PERFORMANCES SUCH AS A TALENT SHOW AT CHASKA HIGH SCHOOL AND AN APPEARANCE AT THE STATE MUSIC TEACHERS CONFERENCE.

IN 2007, A YOUNG BANJO PLAYER APPROACHED ERIC SONGER WANTING TO PLAY IN THE GARAGE BAND.  STRUGGLING TO THINK OF HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENT A BANJO INTO THE BAND, ERIC DECIDED TO FORM A COUNTRY/BLUEGRASS BAND.  UNLIKE ROCK MUSIC, ERIC DID NOT KNOW AS MUCH ABOUT THE COUNTRY AND BLUEGRASS IDIOMS AND ALSO QUESTIONED IF SUCH A BAND WOULD DRAW MUCH INTEREST.  IT ALL WORKED OUT THOUGH AS THE FIRST COUNTRY/BLUEGRASS BAND FORMED IN THE 2007-08 SCHOOL YEAR AND PERFORMED ITS FIRST GIG AT A DISTRICT ORCHESTRA CONCERT.  

THAT YOUNG GROUP OF ALL 6TH GRADERS REMAINED TOGETHER FOR THREE YEARS AND EVEN CONTINUED TO PLAY AS A BAND THROUGH MOST OF HIGH SCHOOL BEFORE GRADUATING JUST THIS PAST SPRING.

THE GARAGE BAND AND COUNTRY BLUEGRASS BAND HAVE BOTH FLOURISHED SINCE THEN.  MANY FUN EVENTS INCLUDING COFFEE SHOP GIGS, OPENING FOR PROFESSIONAL BANDS, RECORDING AT MCNALLY SMITH STUDIOS, THE ROCK-IT! CONCERT, FESTIVALS, FAIRS, AND MORE.  THIS PAST SUMMER, MANY GARAGE BAND ALUMNI ASSEMBLED FOR A PERFORMANCE AT CHASKA RIVER CITY DAYS.  

HEIDI AND ERIC SONGER HAVE USED THESE BANDS TO TEACH MUSIC THROUGH A DIFFERENT MEDIUM.  JUST LIKE TRADITIONAL ENSEMBLES, STUDENTS LEARN HOW TO WORK UP PARTS, PERFORM, WORK AS A TEAM, AND LEARN MUSIC HISTORY AND THEORY.  

THE GARAGE BAND ENTERS YEAR 14 OCTOBER 26 AND THE COUNTRY/BLUEGRASS BAND STARTS YEAR 11 DECEMBER 3.  AUDITION RESULTS WERE JUST RELEASED, AND STUDENT MUSICIANS ARE PREPARING FOR AN INCREDIBLE YEAR.

IT PROMISES TO BE ANOTHER REALLY TALENTED GROUP OF STUDENTS READY TO LEARN AND HIT THE STAGE TO IMPRESS AUDIENCES.  THE EASTERN CARVER COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOLS HAVE MORE THAN JUST A SCHOOL OF ROCK.  IT’S A SCHOOL OF TEAMWORK, DEDICATION, MOTIVATION, AND LOVE OF MUSIC.
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EMMA, EMMA AND SYDNEY PERFORMING WITH THE COUNTRY BLUEGRASS BAND AT THE 2014 TALENT SHOW AT CHASKA HIGH SCHOOL
ONE OF THE 2013-14 GARAGE BANDS
ONE OF THE FIRST GARAGE BANDS
THE FIRST COUNTRY/BLUEGRASS CONCERT
2016 GARAGE BAND AT MALL OF AMERICA