Thorek Memorial Foundation Grant


The Rock School Scholarship Fund is Awarded a Thorek Memorial Foundation Grant to Fund Scholarships for Students to Attend School of Rock Chicago

$26,730 grant will cover tuition for 15 students for one year


Los Angeles, CA, October 11, 2014: The Rock School Scholarship Fund ( has secured a Thorek Memorial Foundation grant in the amount of $26,730.  The grant, awarded last month, is earmarked to provide year-long scholarships for 15 students to enroll in programs at School of Rock Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.  Founded in 2010, RSSF is the first 501(c)3 non-profit organization to provide and administer scholarship funds, based on financial need, for children ages 7 to 17 to attend any rock music school in the U.S. (including but not limited to School of Rock locations).  All schools supported by RSSF emphasize performance-based programs including lessons, rehearsals, and group shows.

“We’re deeply grateful to Thorek Memorial Foundation and its Executive Director Cynthia Barrera for recognizing the work that we do with music education, and making rock music programs affordable for underserved youth,” says RSSF Co-Founder and Executive Director Wendy Winks.  “Chicago-area students will benefit greatly, and we look forward to seeing their progress.  RSSF is committed to identifying and pursuing similar opportunities for tuition assistance in other areas across the country.”

The grant was brought to the attention of School of Rock Chicago Regional Director Adam Mackintosh by musician, songwriter, and Chicago-area radio and television personality Damon Ranger.  “It’s a thrill to know we’ll be welcoming 15 new students to our school over the next year – young people who otherwise would have been unable to participate,” says Mackintosh.  “We’re honored by Thorek’s generosity.”

School of Rock Chicago, a School of Rock affiliate, employs an immersive, performance-based approach to music lessons in an interactive environment.  They are located at 3043 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL.

The Thorek Memorial Foundation ( is affiliated with Thorek Memorial Hospital, a 218-bed, not-for-profit acute care facility providing quality, progressive health care to Chicagoans.  It was originally founded in 1911 as the American Hospital by Dr. Max Thorek and his wife Fannie as a 25-bed hospital primarily intended to serve members of the performing arts community. Some of its early patients included Mae West, the Marx Brothers, Harry Houdini and Buffalo Bill Cody, to name just a few.

A Special Son


“My son was misdiagnosed as autistic at 2 1/2 years old. Instead, he had a rarely seen language disorder that looks like autism early on but is not. It was a looooong road trying to get to the bottom of it, but I did. My son is 17 soon, and School of Rock has everything to do with why he is a happy young man, flourishing in music, school and in life.” Continue reading

Charlottesville Teen Sits Center Stage at South African Festival

Courtesy of Carmen Day1It’s December 7, the height of the South African summer, and the excitement is palpable as the gates open at a warehouse-turned-music-venue in the popular tourist getaway of White River, Mpumalanga. Concertgoers gravitate to the largest of three stages at the Route 40 Music Festival, as the drummer of the newly formed band Cosmic River counts off into a multi-tempo, cello-driven rock song with unique Middle Eastern influences. At the center of the stage sits the song’s original composer, 14-year-old Charlottesville, VA native Carmen Day. Read more

Rock School Scholarship Fund Co-hosts Youth Songwriter Program

Rock School Scholarship Fund Partners With Carnegie Hall and Casterbridge Music Development Academy to Co-host Youth Songwriter Program

A Panel of VIP Judges Select Six young U.S. Musicians to Participate in South African Festival

The idea for the Youth Songwriter Program came to Rock School Scholarship (RSSF) Co-Founder and Executive Director Wendy Winks in 2012 after she was approached for advice by Paul Bruce-Brand, a founder of the Casterbridge Music Development Academy (CMDA) in White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Continue reading

Jackson Browne Helps Kids Rock at Troubadour Fundraiser for RSSF!

The Rock School Scholarship Fund (RSSF) hosted a fall 2013 fundraiser featuring special guest Jackson Browne. Playing to a capacity crowd on November 24 at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame- and Songwriters Hall of Fame-inducted artist opened the evening with a short set accompanied by guitarist Val McCallum. Continue reading

ABC Talks About RSSF

November 23, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — You could help generate much-needed cash for your favorite charity, just by going to a concert or a sporting event. You could even help by seeing a Broadway play, but it depends on where you make your purchase.

These students get a kick out of “Rocking Out” at the real life “School of Rock” on the city’s Northwest Side. They get vocal training and learn to perform rock ‘n roll classics. Many of the students say the experience is unmatched. Read the full story

LA Daily News on Jackson Browne RSSF Concert

LA Daily News on Jackson Browne RSSF Concert Singer songwriter, Jackson Browne sings at Occupy Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza on December 5, 2011. Browne has been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. (Photo credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

By Rob Lowman, Los Angeles Daily News

While some may think of him more as a folkie, don’t forget that Jackson Browne was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. And on Sunday, the acclaimed singer-songwriter will be performing at West Hollywood’s Troubadour with School of Rock Students for the Rock School Scholarship Fund.

The students are from the West L.A. and Burbank branches of the school, which for 15 years has offered music education programs throughout the country. The scholarship fund, a public charity, provides tuition for children to attend any rock music school in the U.S.

Sunday’s concert will showcase current students, and Browne will be on hand to perform several songs.

The Nov. 24 show starts at 7 p.m. at The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood.

Limited VIP ticket, which includee early admission, balcony seating and reception, are $120. General admission is $60. Reception upgrades are an additional $80. Tickets are available at

For details, contact

Newton North Student Wins National Songwriting Contest

A Newton North student musician will soon be taking his talents to an international stage.

As one of the winners of the Carnegie Hall Musical Exchange Program Songwriter Search, North senior Sam Mayer will be performing in the first ever Route 40 Music Festival in South Africa, according to a recent article in Newton North’s student paper, The Newtonite.

sammayer-videoMayer submitted his original song, “Hey There Hurricane,” The Newtonite reported. In addition to his vocals, the song features Mayer on guitar and harmonica, and senior Alex Fabry on the keyboard.

View a video of Mayer’s performance on the Songwriter Search website.

While in South Africa, Mayer will have the opportunity to attend music workshops and collaborate with other young songwriters from the United States and South Africa. He will also perform as an opening act during the music festival.

According to The Newtonite, contest applicants were asked to submit a video of their original song along with a personal statement video. The first round of the competition was judged by a panel at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and the second and final round was judged by a panel of celebrity judges.

Mayer was interested in entering the contest because Dave Matthews was one of the celebrity judges, The Newtonite reported.

Mayer was one of six winners chosen for the Songwriter Search competition, which was open to teens across the United States. The Route 40 Music Festival, which will be held at the Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, will be held December 6-8.