May 29, 2009
By John Philip Wyllie
Growing up the son of a mariachi performer, Morse High senior Sergio Garcia developed an early ear for Mexican music and a fascination with music in general.
“My first introduction to music was through my church. My dad was part of a mariachi band and they used to play there. I couldn’t stay home by myself, so I would go with him. I was very young when I learned to sing one of his songs and they would give me a dollar to sing it for people. I am still singing Mexican music now. I did some mariachi music here at Morse for culture night and I work with a DJ who contracts me to sing it at parties. Someday I want to join my dad’s mariachi band or maybe start one of my own. But I don’t have favorites. I sing whatever music I like whether it is R&B, pop, opera, Mexican ballads or whatever,” Garcia said.
Garcia took advantage of a rare opportunity to broaden his musical resume Tuesday night. Along with other members of the award winning Morse High School Choir he united with San Diego’s extraordinary classic rock band Rockola and entertained an animated crowd of students, teachers and parents at Rockfest, a celebration of classic rock music. His energetic and multitalented music teacher, Andrew Bearden made it all possible.
“This year I was really trying to make things different, special and unique. It is really tough to get (musically talented) kids to come to this school because we have a shiny and new performing arts magnet school nearby. So I thought, what could I do to make them want to come here?
His answer, on this night at least, was to bring in the talented and personable quartet known as Rockola, and have them join forces with his students on some classic rock standards. Tuesday night’s concert was the fruit of that labor. It was a delight to behold.
This is not the first time that Rockola has collaborated with young musicians. In fact, for the last several years they have been on a mission to promote classic rock music with youthful musicians from one end of the county to the other. It is a win/win situation in that the students benefit from getting to work with professional musicians. Rockola benefits by having these young musicians perform along with them on the more elaborate arrangements of the Beatles and others that call for strings, brass and woodwinds. The school benefits from the funds generated by the concerts.
One of the many highlights on this night was Garcia’s solo on the Beach Boys magnificent “God Only Knows.” Garcia nailed it like a seasoned pro. With a full orchestra and choir behind him he shined all the more. The choir opened the show with a majestic rendering of Brian Wilson’s choral masterpiece “Our Prayer” from the recently re-released Smile album. Other highlights included the Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” the Bee Gees “To Love Somebody” and George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.”
Rockola hopes to continue doing similar concerts with other youth orchestras and choral groups. As for Garcia, who graduates in June, it’s on to Grossmont College where he will study music and criminal justice.
“It was a great joy for me doing this for the crowd tonight and watching them enjoy the music. It felt so good to have so many people come up to me and tell me that I did great job. It is my dream to one day make it on to the big stage.”
Garcia took a major step toward fulfilling that dream Tuesday night.
Teachers interested in working with Rockola on this project should contact them through their website www.rockola.com.