Every once in a while a group of people get together, dream a big dream and go for it. Circumstances might seem less than ideal, money might be tight and multiple hats have to be worn by each person. But a dream is a powerful thing. Couple that with youth, music and a dedicated teacher and almost anything can happen. 2nd Block Rock is one of these groups of people.
In 2008, a small group of students at Greenbrier East High School, taking the then-named class “Guitar 2” decided to cobble together their guitars, their amps and their untrained voices and create a band. Their teacher, Jim Alder, was game. At the time, Guitar 2 lacked direction, so a band gave it one. As Alder says, “This class is an example of a true collaboration between the students and myself.” A name is always a good thing to give validation to any project and sometimes simple is best. The Guitar 2 class was held during 2nd block of the school day. The band was playing rock music. Therefore 2nd Block Rock. By the end of the school year, 2nd Block Rock was confident enough to play at a cookout held by The Spartan Shield. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. There’s a lot of dedication, hard work, money and after school hours that goes in that history.
In these times of economic distress pretty much across the board, the Arts seem to get short shrift when it comes to funding. Thankfully, Greenbrier County Schools recognize the importance of the Arts and designated them as part of Career and Tech education paths, so funding became available for 2md Block Rock through this path. In addition, funding is gained from community support and private donations. The result is young adults who gain confidence, learn teamwork, motivation, develop leadership, and of course, grow in their musical skills.
In addition, 2nd Block Rock benefits the community and the school in several ways. The community is enriched by having low cost or free live entertainment from groups that have formed. As Alder says, “Some will continue… to feed the artistic climate we are known for.” Within the school and the music department as a whole, “It has provided an artistic outlet to those students who are unable to commit to band or choir. Interestingly, it has also drawn some kids to those traditional ensembles.”
Almost five years later 2nd Block Rock has not only provided a haven and growth medium for student musicians, it has also spawned many talented several groups that, in our little world and in the larger world outside Greenbrier Valley, have made it big. You might have heard of some of them. Harmony Creek Junction, Marguerite, Vital Shock and The Bigby’s. Just recently one of the alums of 2nd Block Rock, Kelsie Tyson, auditioned for the television talent show The Voice.
Come out and enjoy 2nd Block Rock live at the Wild Bean in Lewisburg from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at First Friday on Mar. 7. There is a $5 cover charge. For more information please visit 2nd Block Rock on Facebook.