Opera House: 15th Annual Rock & Roll Academy Concert, 9 All-Kids Bands Featured, 12/14!

Opera House: 15th Annual Rock & Roll Academy Concert, 9 All-Kids Bands Featured, 12/14!

The 15th Annual Telluride Rock and Roll Academy concert takes place Friday, December 14, at the Sheridan Opera House, where 9 all-kid bands (second grade to high school seniors) will be rocking the stage with covers and originals.  Doors open at 5 p.m.; concert starts at 5:30 p.m.

That evening, the High School Student Philanthropy Club and Telluride Angel Baskets are hosting a guitar raffle to benefit both organizations.

The entire community is invited and admission is FREE.

Telluride local Mark Galbo is an innovative educator and a leading voice in contemporary music education. His unconventionally relaxed and spontaneous approach to teaching has endeared him to thousands of students across the country.

Especially in the Telluride region.

Mark Galbo opened his Rock and Roll Academy in 2003. The initiative has since expanded big time, traveling beyond Telluride to California, Florida, Wisconsin, Texas, Arizona and Aspen.

“When I think of my experience with RRA through the years, I think of a quote I often share with students who are trying to figure out ‘what they are doing with their lives’. The quote happens to be from the Buddha, who said, ‘Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart give yourself to it.’

“It’s a blessing to find a community that embraces and amplifies your work. That’s the gift Telluride has given not only to me but also to the RRA  and by extension, to the world. Because from the protective canyon walls of this tiny town, RRA has evolved to work with over 5,000 students in eight different states, including our most recent implementation, serving incarcerated youth in Texas.  

“RRA sets up an atmosphere that allows people to connect with their authentic, expressive selves for the purpose of developing and sharing their unique gifts with the world. The company has extended me the same courtesy,” explains Galbo.

The Rock and Roll Academy program is best encapsulated as a music-based collaborative rock band model that focuses on social and emotional learning. In that important work, Galbo is ably assisted by Brett Neuman, facilitator, who defines his role as “modeling kindness, respect, and inquisitiveness.”

Specifically, Neuman facilitates and assists kids with their song and instrument choices in order to construct a set of music to be performed at a concert.

“I teach them the different parts and chords as well as vocal melodies. The band is a team based model where kids negotiate and cooperate to make the best possible song they can within a given session,” explains Neuman.

Kids and their parents express their appreciation for the Rock and Roll Academy’s student-voice, student-choice approach. Students are encouraged and empowered to make all the choices about what music to play and take great pride in their groups.

“At the Rock and Roll Academy we learn how to work together and develop trust in the process. We start by learning to help one another and end up learning we can be open. If we don’t understand something we reach out, trusting that our people won’t judge us. So, like even in math, or playing football, you become better at forming a bond, you know your teammates won’t make fun of your ideas or if you don’t understand something right away. The Rock and Roll Academy definitely makes you more comfortable being yourself and expressing your own ideas,” said Joseph, 7th Grade, 12-years-old.

To go to the concert is to see a remarkable level of musicianship. Just how good the kids are is what first grabs audience members. Also, how absolutely fearless the young people are when get up on stage. Feeling confident on stage is a life skill which travels off stage into adulthood, paying the whole Rock and Roll Academy premise forward.

Find out more on Friday, December 14, when 10 powerful Rock and Roll Academy bands blow minds and bag hearts when they take to the stage of Telluride’s historic Opera House, in order:


Lost Hearts


Lil “E”


Pink Floyd Mangos


Lawson Hillbillies


Something Kosher


Hand Cramps


Beale Street Band







  • Mark Galbo
    Posted at 09:51h, 11 December

    Thanks for the great post, Susan. YOU are a gift to our community!

    • Susan Viebrock
      Posted at 10:44h, 11 December

      As are you Mark. A gift way beyond our community.