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JoeyDCares orchestra hosts charity concert to benefit Special Olympics

JoeyDCares orchestra hosts charity concert to benefit Special Olympics
The JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra performs a mixture of pop, rock and classic hits. (HANDOUT)

The classic orchestra has not changed much over the past century. The musical groups often play the same standards of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart on instruments invented generations ago.

The JoeyDCares orchestra is not a classic orchestra.

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Made up of students between the seventh and 12th grades, the JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra is a nonprofit music group that plays a mix of classic rock and current pop hits on orchestral instruments, electric guitars and handmade instruments, including the tubulum pipe instrument.

The JoeyDCares orchestra was formed five years ago by Joe Dundore, a Carroll County Public Schools music teacher. Throughout the year, the orchestra performs at events sponsored by various nonprofits in the area. Each year, the orchestra performs a "Rockin' the Cause" concert in order to raise funds for a local nonprofit.

This year, the orchestra is raising money for the Special Olympics Carroll County. In March, Dundore said the group performed at a concert for the athletes and really got to know the Olympians and their parents.

"It was really neat to see our kids and our community mingle with them," Dundore said. "It's all about inclusion and people being kind to each other. When they dance, they get really into it. A lot of times an audience is off doing their own thing, but they were really into dancing."

Dundore said the group this year is going to cut down on spoken interludes and focus on the musical performance, with almost 30 songs crammed into the program back-to-back.

The orchestra will perform works from groups as varied as The Doobie Brothers, The Beatles, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift and Glen Miller.

"The biggest thing people don't realize is they're getting into a rock concert. It's not a 'play a song and wait until we're done and clap' situation," Dundore said. "We want people to get up and dance."

The concert features audience interaction, beach balls bouncing throughout the venue, light shows, a glow-in-the-dark tap dance number and jug band performances. Dundore said his focus on modern music started when he was younger musician stuck performing classical works.

"I want to inspire kids to relate to the music they're playing. When I started the group, there was an emphasis on the music of the '70s and '80s, but it's gotten more current," Dundore said. "When I was growing up, I played the saxophone and I wanted to play The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, but that went to the guys with the guitars. I want everyone to be involved."

Dundore does many of the arrangements himself because it's nearly impossible to find sheet music that includes parts for both vocalists and instrumentalists.

Libby Beller, lead singer with the group and a senior at Liberty High School, said she's been involved with the orchestra since its inception five years ago.

"I love that we have such a variety of music," Beller said. "Before this group, I was focused on today's pop and stuff like that. Now I'm exposed to a variety of genres, from several decades ago. There's a lot of music I wouldn't have listened to that I have and expanded my musical tastes."

Beller said her favorite numbers are "Walkin' on Sunshine" and "More Today Than Yesterday." Despite her passion for music, Beller said, the thing she loves most about the orchestra is having an opportunity to learn about charities throughout the area.

"After the big concerts, we find out how much money we had raised, and we find out about the organization we've been sponsoring," Beller said. "Just seeing everyone be happy is so fulfilling. It's great to accomplish such a big thing just through doing something we love."

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410-847-7890

Twitter.com/Jacob_deNobel

If you go

What: Rockin' the Cause concert

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Century High School, 355 Ronsdale Road, Eldersburg

Cost: $10 for adults, $8 for students 18 and younger.

For more information: Visit http://www.jdcrockorchestra.org or call 410-967-5748.

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