The Garage Orchestra will make its first appearance at the Sycamore Park District's Summer Concert Series on July 11.
"They were unbelievable last year. They performed in our battle of the bands contest," said Bart Desch, superintendent of recreation for the park district. "They have 50 to 70 high school and junior high students, and they use this as a way to practice during the summertime."
Garage Orchestra started in 2008 when Brad and Amanda Nelson of Sycamore came up with the idea of a rock orchestra made up of school-aged musicians jamming on their violins, cellos and drums. The band is made of musicians from Dundee, DeKalb, Sycamore and Rochelle. Brad Nelson suggested that the band rehearse in the couple's DeKalb garage.
"I said that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard," said Amanda Nelson, who did not think that the musicians would want to rehearse in a crowded garage with mosquitos and summer heat.
However, when she mentioned the idea to other parents, the response was almost invariably, "How do I sign my kid up?"
The band now performs regularly, giving students a summer practice opportunity.
"They play a wide variety of instruments, too," Desch said. "They have horns, percussion instruments and everything else. They are actually too big to fit on our stage." He said the group plays a variety of popular music, including songs by Deep Purple, Metallica and Coldplay.
"These kids play rock music and anything. They play the whole gamut," Desch said.
Desch said he normally tries to book bands from outside DeKalb County for the summer concert series so listeners get the chance to hear new groups perform. Of the eight groups performing this summer, four have never performed in the district's concert series.
The free Thursday night concert series begins June 6. Performances are at 7 p.m. at the Good Tymes Shelter at the sports complex at 4335 S. Airport Road.
Attendees should bring their own chairs or blankets and picnic supplies. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
There will not be concerts on June 27 or July 4. The concert hotline for last-minute updates is 815-895-3202.
For more information, visit www.sycamoreparkdistrict.com.
June 6: Midwest Dueling Pianos - all-request driven comedy music show
June 13: The Lisa Rene Band - popular variety of rock, pop, retro, funk, country and more.
June 20: Trio - classic hits from the '50s, '60s and '70s.
July 11: Garage Orchestra - "Where classical meets rock - and the lawn mower."
July 18: Dave Rudolf Beach Party - Beach music from Jimmy Buffet, Harry Belafonte and more
July 25: Chicago Soul Revue - tribute to the classic soul of Motown, Memphis, Philladelphia and Chicago.
Aug. 1: The Neverly Brothers - a rock 'n' roll evolution from Elvis to the Beatles.
Aug. 8: Crazy Talk - current country hits and remakes of country standards