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Garage Orchestra to perform tonight

In 2008, middle school orchestra director Amanda Nelson was looking for a way to keep her music students interested in continuing to play their instruments over summer break. Nelson, with the help of her husband, Brad, created “Garage Orchestra” – a place for middle school and high school orchestra musicians to have the opportunity to play classic rock, a different style of music from which they generally perform. 

“I was searching for a location for us to rehearse, and things kept falling through,” Amanda Nelson said in a news release. “That is when Brad suggested rehearsing in our garage!”

The idea stuck, and Garage Orchestra was formed. The teens were thrilled to play rock music, and the first group began with fewer than 20 musicians.

The popularity and interest grew tremendously over the next few years, with the largest group in 2012 consisting of 55 members and two performance groups, Garage Orchestra and Advanced Garage Orchestra.

Each musician is accepted by audition only, and additional instructors have been hired to lead sectionals that are held (weather permitting) in the Nelsons’ and neighbors’ front yards during weekly rehearsals.

Each year the participation varies; this is the sixth year for Garage Orchestra, with approximately 40 members this season.

Garage Orchestra consists of string players – violin, viola, cello and upright bass – and a rhythm section of guitar, bass guitar and a drum set. Members include middle school and high school students from DeKalb, Sycamore, Dundee and Rochelle.

Garage Orchestra will perform at the Sycamore Park District’s Concert in the Park at 7 p.m. today at the Good Tymes Shelter. Admission is free.

Garage Orchestra will perform a variety of classic rock including Coldplay, Deep Purple, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Kansas, Journey, Metallica, Radiohead, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith and more.

For more information about Garage Orchestra, call Amanda Nelson at 630-661-6334 or email 

For more information about Sycamore’s Concert in the Park, visit 

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