· By Roger Houdaille
Miami Beach Rock Ensemble 50th Anniversary tribute CD
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Miami Beach Sr. High School Rock Ensemble program, the current group, directed by Sammy Gonzalez, is set to host an epic concert event on May 28th at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami Beach, FL. The concert will provide an opportunity for alumni of the past 50 years to reunite and perform. Furthermore, Think Like A Key Music has compiled a CD of various recordings, including some from the Rock Ensemble's own archives as well as alumni recordings, to be released the week of the show.
The apt title, Songs In The Key Of Mr. B, pays homage to the founder of the Miami Beach Senior High School Rock Ensemble, Clark "Doug" Burris. The program that was the forerunner to "School of Rock" is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022. Burris, or Mr. B as he was known to his students, directed the band for the first 40 years despite becoming quadriplegic because of multiple sclerosis. It was a slow process that left him incapable of moving his arms and legs by the 1980s and requiring 24-hour care. For many of his students, Burris was a mentor and his influence extended beyond simply music. He passed away on January 28, 2016 at age 73.
The CD compilation brings together classical guitar compositions by Fernando Perdomo and Sammy Gonzalez, indie band tracks from Ex Norwegian and Ben Katzman's Degreaser, as well as solo pieces by Adam Chester and Karen Feldner. Recordings of the Rock Ensemble throughout the decades show how diverse their influences have been. From the folky rock of the very first Rock Ensemble group (1972-73) all the way to the latest rock 'n' roll from the current line-up (performing the classic "Money (That's What I Want)") the ensembles wide range of music performed over the course of its history is documented well on this set. Indeed, throughout the 25 songs, listeners get a musical perspective into each decade. All proceeds will be used to keep the Rock Ensemble music program running.
The CD is released Friday, May 27th via Think Like A Key Music.
It is available for order on Amazon and other retailers from this link: https://tlak.rocks/burris
Fernando Perdomo - Waltz For Doug Burris
Sammy Gonzalez - ...It’s A Dirty Dirty Trick
Rodolfo Troncoso - Movement
The American Poets - Wings To Fly
Rock Ensemble 2021-22 - Money (That’s What I Want)
Ex Norwegian - Something Unreal
The Macsters - Silly Willy
Ben Katzman’s Degreaser - Where Have All The Good Times Gone
Rock Ensemble 1972-73 - Love Thy Neighbor
Rock Ensemble 1996-97 - Peace Anthem
Adam Chester - Light Of The Moon
Rock Ensemble 1980-81 - Fantasy
Rock Ensemble 1980-81 - Fancy Epitaph
Karen Feldner - Barns Burnt Down
Emanuel Mayer - She Feels Alive
Kevin Sgarro - Do What Feels Right
Jamaican Me Breakfast Club (feat. Susan Cowsill) - Close To You
Rock Ensemble 2006-07 - Ain’t No Other Man
Rock Ensemble 1996-97 - Can’t Help Falling In Love
Dave Silvers - 43
Rock Ensemble 1990-91 - White Rabbit
Rock Ensemble 1974-75 - Red Road
The BJ Experience - I Want Cheesecake
Rock Ensemble 2008-09 - You May Be Right
Rock Ensemble 2011-12 (feat. Ian Rodriguez) - Mr. Burris