The School of Rock in Gilbert is 5 years old and it’s celebrating the anniversary in a way most people would probably expect — with a lot of music.
The free anniversary party — 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept.7, at the school, 885 N. Gilbert Road — will include open jam sessions, free lessons and tours, according to Megan Baskerville, general manager of the School of Rock in Arizona.
It also will include a pop-up venue next to the school that will host performances by 17 musicians who are all current or former students of the School of Rock.
“It’s…a really big celebration of everything that we’ve accomplished,” said Baskerville.
This event will include other activities such as a photo booth and free face painting.
The School of Rock was founded in Philadelphia in 1998. The school now has 170 locations across eight countries.
Baskerville met her husband, Shane, while working for the School of Rock in Minnesota. Today, the couple have been with the school for over a decade.
According to Baskerville, the couple moved to Gilbert seven years ago to open the first Arizona location in Scottsdale. They later opened schools in Ahwatukee and Gilbert.
“Music is totally our passion. My husband’s been a touring musician for…25 years…and I’ve always been singing,” said Baskerville.
“We know what music has done for us, and the really kind of the powerful impact it can have, and it’s a really positive expression. We love bringing that to kids.”
The Gilbert couple thinks that the East Valley is the perfect place for the schools because of its loyal and supportive community.
“I got involved with the Gilbert Chamber pretty much right away and everybody there has just been integral in helping us be a big part of the community,” said Baskerville.
The School of Rock Gilbert has had about a hundred new students enroll in the past year alone, according to Baskerville, saying 2019 has been its biggest growth year.
Baskerville hopes to see all the Arizona schools continue growing in the future. In addition, the couple is planning to open a new Arcadia location in spring of 2020.
The School of Rock offers lessons for students of all ages with any level of musical experience. The school’s “Little Wing” program teaches kids as young as three how to use hand percussion to learn rhythm and build music proficiency.
Students can showcase their skills with live performances that occur every few months at local venues.
The School of Rock also hosts an annual AllStars Tour which takes students who have exceeded expectations from around the world on a U.S. tour.
In addition, the school offers a guest professor series that allows students to learn from top artists. Students from the Valley schools have worked with the soul band St. Paul and the Broken Bones and the Danish rock band, Volbeat.
Baskerville said that the School of Rock’s main goal is to give kids confidence in their public speaking, teamwork, and communication skills in addition to musical ability.
“Our goal is just to create confident young people,” said Baskerville.