I’m sure we’ve all seen at some point the 2003 movie starring Jack Black called The School of Rock. In the film, Jack plays Dewey Finn, who, after being expelled from his rock band, becomes a substitute teacher for a stressed-out private elementary school, only to try to turn his class into a rock band. It’s a thrilling movie for sure, and when I visited our local rock school located behind Newton Plaza in Loudonville, I felt the same way! A wall of creativity, acceptance, talent and good times! A beehive of creative activity, led by David Boddy and his amazing staff, Sean and Billy!
I visited the School of Rock twice in preparation for this article. I was just enamored with the energy I had the moment I walked in through the door. Billy and all the staff gave me a warm welcome and there were lots of excited and happy young children going from room to room, playing all the different instruments and creating music. It was awesome!!! If this place existed when I was a kid, I would have lived there!
The school has a wide selection of guitars (electric, bass), drum sets, keyboards, and a host of other instruments that anyone can use when they are there. The school had to buy all these tools for the children to use. David Bode, the school owner, is also a musician, and earlier toured with bands as a drummer. He is undoubtedly a huge inspiration to the children in his school where he has played at a professional level for over 30 years. David started working at the NJ School of Rock in 2010 when he stopped touring and eventually thought it would be a great opportunity to open his own school close to home, close to his wife and kids. He opened a local rock school in September 2013.
I asked him what is the greatest reward he gets from his job and he said, “I watch my students grow up as musicians and music lovers. When the students graduate from here and continue the musical path, and make their own music, it makes me happy and fulfilling.”
I first learned about our “local” school of rock from a friend whose son Donovan had been a student there 6 years ago. Donovan Calvert is 15 years old and plays drums, guitar, bass, clarinet and saxophone and is also a singer! He is an amazing young man!
I was lucky enough to visit the school of rock and watch Donovan in action. It is in itself an inspiration. He seems to have a great leadership personality and exudes positive energy and I’ve found him helping the other younger students. I listened to their band’s practices and was impressed with the love they all seem to have for music.
Donovan said the only thing that moved his heart to love music was the song “Check My Brain” by Alice in Chains. He loves bands like Slipknot, Megadeth, Rammstein, Little River Band, Alter Bridge and even loves Frank Sinatra. He can keep telling me for hours about all the bands he loves to listen to.
One of the most important people in Donovan’s life was his father, who was his “rock hard” and was the person who not only influenced and guided him to be the man he is today, but was a wonderful support system on his musical journey. Donovan’s parents bought a drum set at the age of 4, and he quickly got rid of it by playing it too often.
Another person Donovan looks up to is Dave Mustaine. He loves Megadeth and Dave is the textbook definition of hard work that pays off. He is 60 years old and still hangs out and has fun. He is a great guide and this shows in his gameplay and also in his memoir, “Mustin: Heavy Metal Memoirs”.
He wants to make it big in the music industry someday. The other thing he loves about music is the constant competition. He wants to enjoy his time writing music and making music and shows. His goal is to be happy with the music he creates and he wants to surround himself with people who make him happy and inspire him and allow him to grow as a musician and as a person.
I asked Donovan about his other interests and soon he said that he would love to become an athlete one day. He dreams of one day being a commentator for the Super Bowl! He intends to attend college somewhere like the University of Georgia and would like to major in Sports Communication. It appears to have been planned. He’ll join the marching band and continue his quest to be an accomplished musician while on errands at school and whatever else comes his way.
One thing that sets Donovan apart is his love of family. He loves spending time with his family and feels happy when he is with them. It’s easy to laugh with them, and the time is always right. He also loves to hunt, to be alone in nature, and to spend time clearing his mind. I have known his father Gary for several years and am very impressed with the constant support he gets from his family to achieve his goals. One of the best choices he made was to spend a great deal of his time at the school of rock.
My favorite part of what the school has to offer is that it prepares for three shows a year (the Spring, Summer and Fall Show). They are rehearsing and each has been assigned roles in the band. They have performed in many different locations such as Nanola, The Linda and Lucky Strike. Their next performance will be at Lark Hall on June 11y & 12y. If you would like to make a donation or find information about your child joining the school, please contact them directly at 518-783-7625. 592 New Loudoun Rd. Latham, New York 12110.