Rockin’ out: Fishers School of Rock house band to perform in prestigious festival in Lisbon


Thirteen students in the School of Rock Fishers house band will have the chance to be real rock stars in late June when they step on stage in Lisbon, Portugal.

School of Rock Fishers was one of 13 School of Rocks bands worldwide selected to perform at the Rock in Rio music festival in Lisbon. School of Rock Carmel also was selected.

School of Rock house band is an audition-only program offered by the organization for advanced students ages 13 to 18.

“We will do all kinds of local gigs throughout the summer, but the biggest thing this year is that our house band is getting to go to Europe to play in the Rock in Rio festival,” School of Rock Fishers general manager Mandy McFarland said.

School of Rock Fishers house band members will perform a show June 23 in Madrid, Spain, and then perform another June 24 in Lisbon. On June 25, students will perform at the Rock in Rio Festival in Lisbon. It’s the first time the band has performed in Europe. This is also the first year Rock in Rio Festival has partnered with School of Rock.

The Rock in Rio Festival, which features bands and artists such as Muse, Duran Duran, Jason Derulo and Post Malone, partnered with School of Rock to provide bands the opportunity to perform at the festival. There are more than 300 School of Rock locations worldwide.

To attend the festival, the Fishers band must raise between $5,000 and $15,000. It will conduct a fundraiser from 12:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 14 with live music, face painting and food trucks. Admission is $10. The event takes place at School of Rock Fishers, 11740 Olio Rd., Suite 100. 

Of the 13 students in house band, four are vocalists, two play keyboards, four are guitarists, two play bass and one plays drums. Band members attend area schools including Pendleton Heights High School, Mt. Vernon High School, HSE High School, Fishers High School and Noblesville High School. Some students are home-schooled.

Keyboard player Rita Haas, a 16-year-old Fishers High School student, is a first-year member of the School of Rock Fishers house band.
“(House band) is a step up from the regular gigs we play for School of Rock,” she said. “You have to audition and work really hard, and it’s a great opportunity to play music with more like-minded people. If house band is a step up from regular School of Rock, (Rock in Rio) is a whole jump up. It’s crazy performing on stage with actual musicians.”

Students will reap more than a musical experience when they travel to Europe. McFarland said the band will take full-day tours of Madrid and Lisbon and will perform a show at a venue in Madrid.

Alden Sealls, a 13-year-old Riverside Junior High School student, said performing overseas is a dream come true.

“It’s definitely crazy,” said Sealls, who plays guitar. “It’s a dream of all of ours. All of our heroes play over there. It should be a great experience.”

To purchase tickets for the May 14 fundraiser, visit

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School of Rock Fishers house band will travel to Lisbon, Portgual, in June to perform in the Rock in Rio music festival.

About School of Rock

School of Rock is a worldwide program with a song-first approach to learning to play music. Each student takes a weekly 45-minute private lesson and rehearses with the School of Rock band.

“At School of Rock, our two mottos are we are not teaching to put on shows, we are putting on shows to teach,” School of Rock Fishers general manager Mandy McFarland said. “We are teaching kids to rock both on stage and in real life. At School of Rock, music is the last thing. It’s what brings everyone together and unites them and gives them something fun to engage in with one another, but we are offering a safe place for kids and teenagers to come hang out and be who they are and have their own community.”

School of Rock offers a variety of programs, including Rock 101 bands for students ages 8 to 12, performance groups for students ages 12 to 18 and adult programs.

House band is an audition-only group for advanced students ages 13 and older.