SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- Sioux City is home to a lot of things you may know... Jolly Time Popcorn... Palmer Candy... SueBee Honey. But are you familiar with Rockestra? It's the city's one of a kind rock and roll orchestra. There's not another one like in the entire world!
A teacher. "I make cookies," said Doug Davis. A hospital lab manager. "I cook for Aggies," said Kevin Linder. A music teacher. "I drive truck and I haul copy machines around," said Sam Irish. "I'm a high school student," said Becca Holzrichter. They are everyday Siouxlanders 9-to-5. But when the bell rings, and the work day is over, these regular people strap on their guitars, pick up their drumsticks and bows, tune their horns... and rock! This is Sioux City's Rockestra. "Rockestra is the combination of an orchestra and a rock band coming together at the same time," said John Luebke.
This 40 piece group includes strings, woodwinds, brass, a rocking rhythm section.. and singers. It started with a seed planted in Director John Luebke's head. That seed... a DVD he watched with the rock band YES performing with a symphony orchestra. "This idea just kept rolling in my head as each song went by, I said 'You know, we have enough talent to do that right here in Sioux City,'" said Luebke. That was the spring of 2004... and a few short months later, Rockestra was born with a concert in front of 232 people at Morningside College's Eppley Auditorium. In the 6 years since.. "It's been an evolution," said Sam Irish. The size of the audience has grown... Rockestra's been known to sell out Sioux City's Orpheum Theatre. And the music has evolved, too. They're specialty is classic rock. "This is music from my generation, and I'm not really into the orchestra music. This is kind of music that I listened to as a kid and I love to listen to it now," said Kerry Patterson. But Rockestra doesn't play favorites... they've given audiences a taste of everything from pop to country.
You would think these not-everyday musicians would put in hours and hours of practice. Truth is they only need a handful of rehearsals like these to put on a show-stopping performance. "If these people weren't the very best in the area, we couldn't do it," said Luebke. All the songs are re-orchestrated to include every instrument on stage... not just a rock band. It's a long process from start to finish. "It ain't all glamour. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of work," said Irish. There is another side to this one-of-a-kind music ensemble. "Everybody has so much fun," said Joanna Meehan. "The first time I saw this group I was like 'I have got to get into that," said Doug Davis. And Doug Davis is not the only one. Thousands have come... listened... and rocked. Exactly the vision John Luebke had in mind. "I want 90% of the audience to know 90% of the songs. And I want them to feel really good about the music that they listen, too," said Luebke.
Rockestra performs 4 concerts each fall and winter season at the Orpheum. The next performance is their first ever Christmas Concert. It's Friday, December 3rd. Tickets are already on sale at the Tyson Events Center Box Office.