August 6, 2014 at 11:15 AM
CHATHAM, NJ - Spencer Winell of Chatham was one of six students selected as an all-star, representing the School of Rock in support of Rock ' Roll Cancer Charity.
The 15-year-old Winell, who plays guitar, violin and performs vocals, and other musicians were chosen to represent School of Rock Chatham as members of the School of Rock AllStars Band, which has just completed a mini-tour of the East Coast in support of Love Hope Strength, an international music-centric cancer charity.
“Every year, we hold an AllStars audition in which some of our most talented students are chosen to represent our school,” says Art Lima, Music Director of School of Rock Chatham. “The students who we select are then submitted for a coast-to-coast audition process in front of a national panel of judges. The top 1.5 percent of School of Rock students from across the United States is ultimately invited to join the AllStars, and we’re thrilled that six of these students are from School of Rock Chatham.”
Winell performed in Chicago at the House of Blues, the Beat Kitchen, and at the Lollapalooza festival, along with Eminem, the Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, and Portugal. All the concerts sought to create awareness for the Love Hope Strength’s efforts to build and support cancer centers around the world, boost awareness of global cancer needs, and expand international bone marrow databases.
“We have roughly 200 bone marrow drives scheduled this summer and are stretched thin with volunteers and resources,” says Shannon Foley, executive director of Love Hope Strength. “Teaming up with the School of Rock AllStars gave us the opportunity to be at more concerts and festivals than we ever could attend without them. Amazingly, in the three years that we’ve been working with the AllStars, we’ve found 12 bone marrow matches among School of Rock families and supporters – which could mean the difference between life and death for a patient with blood cancer.”
School of Rock Chatham’s AllStars – all of whom had been selected for the program in previous years - auditioned in January and were notified in April that they had made the band. They began their five-day tours on July 30.
“Any student who studies at School of Rock Chatham has the opportunity to audition for – and possibly be part of - the AllStars,” says Lima. “Our performance-based curriculum builds comfort, confidence, and joy that extend into our students’ social lives, academic success, and of course, live shows. When parents see this transformation, they’re blown away. And based on the reaction of the crowds to our students’ performances on the AllStars tour, they were pretty blown away as well.”