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Young rockers enter AllStar finals 

Local School of Rock AllStars include (from left) vocalist Tiffany Enering, guitarist Liad Shaphir, drummer Jameson Powell-Espiritu and guitarist Melanie Peterson. Those not pictures are drummer Ronin Cianciosi and vocalist Jamie Fusaro-Mobley. (photo by Lisa Shadburn)

Young rockers enter AllStar finals 

By Kaila Mellos

A monumental achievement was reached recently by certain students from School of Rock Scripps Ranch. The School of Rock AllStars Competition kicked off a few weeks ago, and the Scripps Ranch team advanced six of its strongest musicians, including drummers, guitarists and vocalists.

“It’s an international competition with over 300 locations eligible to participate in the auditions. Only the top students from each school audition, and there are three rounds,” said Steve Peterson, owner of the School of Rock Scripps Ranch and Del Mar locations. “We were lucky enough to have had all six students audition and make it past the first two rounds into the third and final round.”

The AllStars competition puts students at the school through three rounds of intensive auditions and playing live. The competitors hope to be chosen in the final round to go on a country-wide summer tour across the United States. Less than 1 percent of School of Rock students are selected each year to represent the School of Rock as an AllStar.

Students in the Performance Program and House Band can audition for this competition. Winning student musicians will have an authentic touring experience, including traveling on a tour bus, participating in tour publicity, and starring in nightly performances at famous venues and festivals during a 10-day tour.

“To make it through each round, they must perform two songs. One song is a song that the School of Rock chooses, and then they bring their song that they perform. In the second and third rounds, they’re given some parameters. They must perform one classic rock song, and they’re given a list of artists to choose from, like Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin or The Beatles. They also bring in their song that they’re going to audition with,” Peterson said.

“They’re also put through the wringer on music theory knowledge, like knowing how to play a 12-bar blue or a minor third pentatonic,” he said. “They’ll throw some tough music theory questions at the kids and score them based on how well they answered those questions.”

The six San Diego teenagers that made it to the third and final round are drummers Jameson Powell-
Espiritu, 17, and Ronin Cianciosi, 14; guitarists Melanie Peterson, 16, and Liad Shaphir, 16; and vocalists Tiffany Enering, 17, and Jamie Fusaro-Mobley, 16.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm, and there’s a lot of kids who wish they would’ve auditioned now that they see these six,” Peterson said. “We’re lucky, and we have a lot of talented kids at our school and the parents who support them. They’re just living their dream, so it’s nice.”

These six musicians are the first from the Scripps Ranch location to make it this far. Even though the last round’s final decision has yet to be made, the six students are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to even get this far into the competition representing San Diego.

“I’ve only been here for a year. So, being considered on the same level as some of these talented kids has been exciting. It’s been surreal for me because I’ve always wanted to try singing,” vocalist Enering said. “It would mean the world because I’ve wanted to be part of The School Rock for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always known about AllStars. I have had it in the back of my mind as a dream and a goal. Now being this close to it and wanting it so badly is hard to believe. To get that would just be, it sounds cliche, but it would be a dream come true.”

Guitarist Shaphir shares the same emotions and has always hoped to be able to be a part of the AllStar tour.

“I’ve been working on the guitar for a long time, and if I could receive this opportunity, it would mean a lot to me, and it’d be a huge step forward in my career. It would be a super-duper accomplishment, and I’ve always wanted to go on a tour. We’ve done a little tour with the house band here, but it’s not like on the level of AllStars,” Shaphir said.

For more information, visit schoolofrock.com/locations/scrippsranch