By Anna Lothson
The Oak Park School of Rock just opened in May, and it's already given back.
But in order to continue to help absorb the tuition costs for kids who otherwise couldn't afford music lessons at the performance-based school, its calling on a little help from its friends.
School of Rock will host its first annual AllStar Ball that combines rock-and-roll music, talented kids and one local restaurant. The school is teaming up Aug. 1 at 6:30 p.m. with Maya Del Sol to host the event at 219 Lake Street (School of Rock headquarters) with assistance from Maya Del Sol's food and drinks. Tickets to the fundraiser are $125, and from that, 80 percent of proceeds will go toward providing scholarship funds for music classes for local kids.
"We are already absorbing several kids' tuitions and are at the point where we really need the community to help," Amy Renzulli, the school's owner wrote in an email. "Many of the kids whose families can't afford the full tuition seem to need the programs the most. Rock music provides them with a creative outlet, a way to express themselves and a place to be themselves."
One student, who she said is reserved deals with family matters, loves to play drums but doesn't have the means to pay for them or classes. So another School of Rock family stepped up and bought a drum set. He's now thriving and "lights up" when playing drums.
"We want to build a fund that enables anyone who wants to be there, who needs to be there, to be able to attend our School of Rock," Renzulli said.
"In just two months, we have seen families who are impacted by job loss, violence, injury and health issues. …These are the kids who need music and a place to feel the joy that it brings, the most."
The music ball will show off its most talented students who will be putting on a rock concert. Benefit attendees will also be able to pick up a School of Rock "swag bag" to show off in the community. Oak Park's School of Rock will demonstrate its nationally-recognized concept of helping kids rock out to the classics while performing with their peers. Music programs at the school are designed to create a supportive environment where music students of all skill levels are comfortable yet challenged.
To learn more about the School of Rock, visit oakpark.schoolofrock.com.