School of Rock

Published 10:24 am Thursday, July 9, 2009

By JOHN EBY / Edwardsburg Argus

Jack Black was nowhere in sight, but the fourth annual Southwestern Michigan College Educational Talent Search (ETS) School of Rock graduated June 18 to Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” instead of “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Black, of course, starred in the 2003 movie as wannabe rock star Dewey Finn. In need of cash, the on-screen boyfriend of Sarah Silverman poses as a prep school substitute teacher and turns his fifth graders on to making classic rock.

Speaking of “Wannabe,” the Spice Girls might be surprised to hear the new rendition of their lyrics that are less about lovin’ and more about eatin’:

“If you want to be my sandwich/you’ve got to have ham and cheese/lettuce and tomatoes/pass the mayonnaise, please.”

For their field trip, the Class of 2009 attended the Chicago Blues Festival.

The 27 singing, dancing and drumming performers in grades 6-9 from Dowagiac, Niles Brandywine, Cassopolis, Edwardsburg and Marcellus include Celia Ash, Abby Brizendine, Jacob Downey, Tabatha Hart, Logan Lawson, Desirae Massey, Jordan Moore, Zorana Rankovic, Brittany Smith, Harley Beaver, Brittany Brock, Morgan Duvall, Evan Hickman, Malika Malik, Savannah McGrath, A.J. Nelson, Zane Sams, Rebecca Luth, Dylan Billings, Alexis Christie, Becky Haines, Cheyanne Huneyager, Kaylan Malone, Rainey Meuzelaar, Victoria Pearson, Jamoka Sleazer and D’Nisha Zona.

Like real rock stars, they start fashionably late, but they also stay after to sign autographs after their concert.

Band leaders, including “Leader of the Pack” Eve Kelly, the ETS worker for Cassopolis and Brandywine, include Randy Button, David Stovall, Carolyn Koebel and Oscar, John Campos, Chad Miller, David Dale, Stacy Horner and Cory Miller.

Anderson, Ryan Zietlow and Billie Wilson served as “roadies.”

Upcoming is another federally-funded ETS offering, “Weird Science,” in mid-July, and a local academy in collaboration with the Dowagiac Fire Department and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

Weird Science, like other ETS programming, builds in a college visit, to Hope in Holland. The School of Rock visited Roosevelt University.

Last summer Weird Science built rockets with Mentos and Diet Coke.

This year the focal point will be bridge-building.

ETS also offers graphic design, from photography to a visit by an architect.