Oak Park youth opening for their idols

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By BILL DWYER

Contributing Reporter

Dennis Johnson, an early member of the famed rock band, Survivor, will be playing three concerts this weekend in Chicago and a number of his students will be on hand from the Oak Park School of Rock, where he teaches.

School owner Amy Renzulli calls Johnson "a true rock 'n' roll veteran." 

"I feel privileged and honored to have him working here," she said. "I think the kids get a lot out of being around someone like him. They put all the pieces together so much faster."

Johnson agrees, saying, "Anyone can learn the nuts and bolts of an instrument. Where the rubber meets the road is playing in a band."

Renzulli's 15-year old daughter, Abigail Miller, plays in the School of Rock show band that will open for Johnson this Friday and Saturday at Reggie's, 2105 S. State St., Chicago. The concert is a reunion of Johnson's earlier band, Chase. Mom says her daughter has all three Chase albums and plays them constantly. 

"We wake up in the morning with it pouring out of the bathroom," she said. 

Abigail has played Reggie's before, but says this time is different. She's "in shock" to be playing with her idols. 

"I love Chase. I think they're amazing. I can't believe we're opening up for them."

The three concerts are Friday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 30 at 3 p.m. (Kids show) and 7 p.m. (17-plus show).

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