Rock ‘n’ roll meets the orchestra

Submitted Photos Community Rocks takes a 35 piece orchestra and pairs it with a singer, horns, electric bass and drums to put on a rock show like no other. The performance raises funds for a chosen non-profit each year. The 2019 recipient is the Magic City Discovery Center.

Classical music is said to be the predecessor to rock ‘n’ roll with similar melodies, chords, and occasionally tempos. Now rock ‘n’ roll will meet pieces of classical music through an orchestral performance of popular pieces from 1954 to the 1980s in Community Rocks.

Community Rocks will take place Saturday at The Grand Hotel starting at 6 p.m. A 35-piece orchestra will take to the stage joined by horns, an electric guitar, drums and a singer to bring a rock ‘n’ roll experience like no other.

“It’s a lot of fun and people often leave having lost their voice,” said Erik Anderson, president and co-founder of Community Rocks.

In its fifth year as a non-profit, Community Rocks has raised more than $200,000 for local organizations. Each year a different group is chosen to be the beneficiary for the years funds. For the 2019 performance, funds will be going to the Magic City Discovery Center.

The performance will include a wide range of music as it traverses the years of classic rock ‘n’ roll. A few new hits will be added to the repertoire, including songs such as “American Pie,” “Bad to the Bone” and many more. The familiar songs will have guests on their feet singing along.

“We sell out every year and audiences always end up on their feet and singing along. We project the lyrics to all the songs,” said Anderson. “Most people know the tunes and it’s always a lot of fun. Plus it helps raise money for a good cause.”

Community Rocks was founded by MSU business administration professor Andy Bertsch and MSU music professor Erik Anderson. The two had conversations about the idea when running into each other in the hallways and stairwells.

According to, “Those conversations were almost always centered around music and evolved into conversations about an orchestra playing classic rock.”

Tickets for the event have gone fast. As of Wednesday night, 20 platinum tickets were on sale for first-come, first -served at Classic Rock Coffee. The show is expected to be completely sold out by Saturday with the largest crowd the show has ever seen.

Gold tickets were still available at for $45 as of Thursday afternoon. They can also be purchased in person at Classic Rock Coffee and Jacobsen Music. The site will have the most up to date information on ticket sales and availability.