Teens play festival featuring Ed Sheeran after submitting an audition tape from Mississauga


Published February 15, 2024 at 4:10 pm

teen band mississauga rock in rio

A Mississauga teen band heads to a huge music festival in Europe after they submitted an audition tape on a whim.

The house band with the new School of Rock Streetsville location had been together for less than four months when they submitted an audition tape to the Rock in Rio Lisboa music festival, said School of Rock Streetsville owner Paula Carvalho.

“We didn’t think we would make it because this is a brand new school, brand new band,” Carvalho told insauga.com.

“This whole thing started off as an audition on a whim for some good experience,” house band director Colin Hassell added. They hoped to get some feedback but had no expectations, Hassell said.

There are currently just over 300 School of Rock locations around the world. Not to be confused with the Jack Black movie by the same name, the schools offer music instruction and a performance-based program.

The Streetsville music school opened in January 2023 and this is their first house band. The house band is a performance group that gets opportunities to play live shows at local venues. Auditions for the house band were held in October.

The eight-member band ranges in age from 13 to 18 years old and consists of Dean (guitar), Emma (drums), Emma (keys), Lauryn (bass), Natalia (guitar and vocals), Nico (vocals and guitar), Phoenix (drums) and Sebastian (vocals and guitar).

They play a 15-minute set once a month at the Tuesday open mic at Cuchulainn’s Irish Pub in downtown Streetsville, and now they are preparing for the Rock in Rio held in Lisbon, Portugal and Madrid, Spain.

There is limited space for School of Rock house bands — only about 16 bands from the U.S. and Canada are invited, Carvalho said.

Rock in Rio Lisboa is celebrating its 20th anniversary on June 15, 16, 22 and 23 and the line-up includes well-known musicians such as Ed Sheeran, the Scorpions, Extreme, Jonas Brothers and many more.

The School of Rock house bands will be on a smaller stage at the festival and the opportunity to perform is exciting. News they had earned a spot caught the band members by surprise.

“When they heard that they had made it they were just over the moon,” said Carvalho.

Hassell told insauga.com that the band learned they had made it a few weeks ago while they were in a rehearsal.

“Everybody is jumping around, all the kids are getting on their phones and calling mom and dad and brothers and sisters,” said Hassell. “They have absolutely been working hard and they have earned every bit of this.”

“It’s a new experience, definitely once-in-a-lifetime,” keyboard player Emma told insauga.com. “I am pretty excited.”

Drummer, another Emma, said she was shocked when she heard the news.

“It was a long shot but I knew we could do it,” she said.

The band will play 15-minute sets on four different days and they just recently worked out the setlist. The list includes three Spanish language songs including El Matador by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs along with classic rock songs, and songs from other genres including The World Is Full of Crashing Bores by Morrissey and Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder.

The trip is an expensive undertaking. It’s close to $12,000 for the school fee to participate in the festival, $2,500 each for hotels and flights from Lisbon to Madrid, then there is airfares from Canada and costs for chaperones.

The band has several events coming up including a bake sale and a GoFundMe to help cover the costs.

Find out more through the band’s Instagram page here, and the GoFundMe here.

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