WARREN, NJ - Ben Overzat, a 17-year-old guitarist, keyboardist, and saxophone player from Warren, was chosen to represent School of Rock Chatham as a member 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.
“Ben is one of the most talented students I've seen come through School of Rock Chatham," says Art Lima, Music Director at School of Rock Chatham. "He's primarily a piano and sax player, but he's also demonstrated impressive skills on a number of instruments, including guitar, bass, drums, and trumpet."
The AllStars’ tour included performances in Chicago at the House of Blues, the Beat Kitchen, and at the Lollapalooza festival, along with Eminem, the Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, and Portugal. 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.”
Overzat, who had also been part of the AllStars in 2012 and 2013, auditioned for the band in January and was notified in April that he was selected again for the third year in a row. His fellow members, which included 24 School of Rock students from 12 schools in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, assembled on July 27 for rehearsals in Woodland Park, NJ and began the five day tour on July 30.
“The AllStars is really an amazing experience,” says Overzat, who will be a senior in September at Watchung Hills Regional High School. “To be given the opportunity to tour like a real rock band, play with some of the most talented musicians in the country at high-profile venues, and raise money for a great charity is something that can't be matched. This was my third year as an All Star, and I’ve enjoyed it more and more each time I've done it."