Middle School Rock Band Opens for Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt in NYC

Marshall Ayers High School, Music, Performing Arts

Guest post by Robert Moya

Call it a dream come true for The Fusion, a middle school rock band who will be traveling to New Your City to open for Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt, as part of the Little Kid’s Rock Benefit 2017 on October 18th at PlayStation Theater. The Fusion, formed a year ago from a modern band class at the Eliot Arts Magnet in the Pasadena Unified School District in southern California was one of only two student-bands from around the country selected to perform at the benefit. Little Kids Rock (LKR) is a non-profit organization based in Veron, NJ that trains public school educators, and donates all of the instruments, curricular resources, and support they need to make sure that their kids have the right to rock.

Middle School Rock Band Travels to NYC

Six of the eight band members traveling to New York in October are current Eliot eighth graders, and two of the band members have moved on to high schools but the high-school rockers have continued to practice with the band in preparation for the performance. While in New York, the student band will be accompanied by parent chaperones and school administrators, and will also have the opportunity to see some sights when preparing for the big performance.

Current eighth grader and lead guitarist/vocalist Ali Plyler is excited about going on the trip. She says,

“It’s really great that we’re going because playing in New York with famous musicians is a great opportunity, and I’m happy to represent Eliot Arts Magnet and the Pasadena community in New York City.”

Vocalist Bishop Harris states that he has always wanted to go to New York because it looks cool in the movies, and he’s excited to meet artists such as Elvis Costello, whose music, according to Harris, was played a lot in his house when he was a child.

The big-time stage is not foreign to these junior rockers. Thanks to invitations from Little Kids Rock, they played last spring at the Law Rocks benefit at the Whiskey a-Go-Go, and at the Roxy as part of LKR’s Jamfest, an opportunity for Los Angeles area student musicians to showcase what they’ve learned during the school year.


However, a chance to perform in the country’s largest city, while opening for Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt is by far their greatest achievement. You could say that at nearly 3,000 miles away from their native Pasadena, these students’ hard work and talent is literally taking them places.


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Marshall Ayers
Arts education specialist with 25+ years experience in non-profit organizations and public educational settings. Marshall founded Artzray to create a community of young, multidisciplinary artists who are seeking professional, practical and personal career resources. Marshall lives and works in LA with her family, but hails from the east coast. When she's not working on Artzray, she would rather be sailing, reading or listening to her son play cello.
Marshall Ayers