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Rockin’ the Cause 2015: Read all about it!

DSC_5659-1Rockin’ the Cause 2015 held on May 30th in Sykesville was an incredible benefit event for Carroll County Special Olympics. The JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra entertained a large audience with their popular tunes, and they brought in many special lighting effects, audience interaction, and unique instruments to make the concert a memorable event for all in attendance.


Concert (84 of 211)The lights went out multiple times during the show to reveal the instruments, singers and even a dancer lit up with neon glowing lights. Special Olympics athletes were featured on stage with the orchestra during several songs. JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra merchandise was seen flying out into the crowd as well.

DSC_5364-1The orchestra performed with Stomp-like instruments to the song ‘Viva La Vida’ to start the second half. Later, they debuted their newly formed jug band, complete with a washtub bass, cigar box guitar, washboard, spoons, and more handmade instruments. The jug band led the orchestra into a song everyone especially enjoyed- ‘Low Rider’ by War. During the Beatles’ ‘Let it Be,’ glow sticks were swaying back and forth in the audience. DSC_5580-1When the orchestra broke out into the song ‘Conga’ by Gloria Estafan, a conga line could be seen snaking around the auditorium.





The orchestra gave the audience quite a time to remember, and the concert brought in $5,600 through ticket sales, event day food sales and raffles, and sponsorships!

Here’s what audience members had to say about Rockin’ the Cause 2015 on Facebook:

Concert (162 of 211)“My 4 year old stayed through the whole concert dancing in his seat. I was amazed- He can’t even make it through the circus without getting bored!” –Harvey

“I’m not exaggerating when I say this show was amazing – these performers really put on a show, and I was thoroughly impressed. A fun time was had by all!” –Mort


DSC_5436-1“A very special THANK YOU to the awesome JOEYDCARES. Tonight was amazing. You put so many smiles on our athletes’ faces. They danced the entire time they were there. As parents, you gave our kids a night to remember and we appreciate that. There are no other words that seem fitting for what tonight meant to all of them and to all of us. Thank you again.” –Donna of Carroll County Special Olympics

DSC_4839-1“Loved the whole darn thing!!! The neon lights, the jug band, it was all awesome!!! –Ramona

“The whole show was amazing!! We had such a great time.” –Kim

“’Try a Little Tenderness’ was amazing!!! Congrats to all the amazing performers.” – Dee

DSC_4929-1“I liked ‘Beautiful Day’ and ‘Uptown Funk.’ The orchestra members play so well together.” –Joseph

“I’m split between two favorite things: watching the band work together as a team and put on an amazing show, and seeing how much the audience enjoyed the music, dancing and energy of the evening. I can’t decide!” -Tony

Thank you to everyone who supported this fun and important event!


On July 6th, the orchestra presented Carroll County Special Olympics with a check at the Freedom Optimist Hall in Sykesville!



Rockin’ the Cause 2014 Raised $8,000 for the Nathan Chris Baker Foundation!


Three beach balls were kept in the air during several songs.
Three beach balls were kept in the air during several songs.

Rockin’ the Cause 2014 held on June 1st was a great success! Over 400 people attended our biggest event of the year, held to benefit the Nathan Chris Baker Foundation. Beach balls were flying, kids were up on stage dancing and singing, glow sticks were waving, and the music was rockin! The orchestra performed songs by Earth, Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, U2, Cold Play, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, the Temptations, Van Halen, Chicago and many more.


JoeyDCares-102In the first half, during the orchestra’s performance of “My Daddy,” an original song written by Joe Dundore, a slide show with pictures of Nate and his dad and family was shown. The Nathan Chris Baker Foundation also gave a moving and inspirational presentation, after which the orchestra surprised them with a Walking on Sunshine music video filmed at the Mechanicsville Elementary School Playground rebuilt in Nate’s honor.

A lot of kids joined the orchestra on stage to dance and sing during several songs.
A lot of kids joined the orchestra on stage to dance and sing.


The orchestra performed the notes to “Beautiful Day” on PVC pipe cut to the length of each note.








Audience members learned that not only can PVC pipes fix your bathroom, they can also make music notes!  Inspired from the Las Vegas performance ensemble, “Blue Man Group,” the orchestra performed the notes to “Beautiful Day” on PVC pipe cut to the length of each note called tubulums, and PVC pipe built like a trombone called a drumbone. (See the Beautiful Day performance on YouTube)


trash cans, kitchen utensils, brooms, and anything the group could find to make percussive rhythms a la the performance group "Stomp" were preformed to the song "Viva la Vida."
Percussive rhythms a la “Stomp”


In the second half of the show, trash cans, kitchen utensils, brooms, and anything the group could find to make percussive rhythms a la the performance group “Stomp” were preformed to the song “Viva la Vida.”

Special guest Drew Baker
Special guest Drew Baker

Later, the audience was a sea of glow sticks as the orchestra welcomed special guest Drew Baker, Nate’s older brother, on stage as he joined in on his guitar for Hey Jude by the Beatles (see the performance of Hey Jude on YouTube).


Check presentation 2014 Large
The orchestra presented a check for $8,000 to Nathan Chris Baker Foundation representatives Justin, Katie and Drew Baker and Susan Golombeck on June 14, 2014.

Between ticket sales, raffles, sponsorships and donations, the concert raised $8,000 for the Nathan Chris Baker Foundation.   The JoeyDCares Rock orchestra members had a blast performing for a wonderful crowd, and the audience sure seemed to have a great time too!

See more photos from Rockin’ the Cause 2014.

After the event, Chad Baker, the President of the Nathan Chris Baker Foundation said in a letter to the orchestra:

Dear JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra,

JoeyDCares-106Wow, what a GREAT performance you put on yesterday! We at the NCB Foundation could not have been more impressed with your groups musical and acoustical talent throughout the entire show. You have an entire group of very talented musicians and four singers that could belt out lyrics like they were the original singers of the song. Your dedication to the performance certainly showed in every song and the involvement with the audience (especially the kids on stage) really made the day GREAT fun for everyone.

Your host Neil was excellent in keeping the concert moving and adding some great entertainment and laughs. Joey’s mix of music, sax playing and twist on songs (like the song with the broom) made it a show people will remember for years to home.  The video tribute you did at the playground was over the top awesome and really touched our hearts that you would add even more stress on top of your already time demanding rehearsal schedules to do such a nice video for our group.

We at the NCB Foundation are very thankful for all your hard work and dedication to making this event so entertaining and fun. You are truly a class organization that takes its music seriously and we are proud to have partnered with such a GREAT group of kids and adults for such a fun event.

Thank you all for your financial contributions to the Nathan Chris Baker Foundation. We promise to do GREAT things with this money that will help individuals, families and communities in need throughout Maryland.

Continue to “Go Out and Be Great” JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra!  


The Nathan Chris Baker Foundation Board of Directors


Nathan Chris Baker Foundation Facebook fans also showed their appreciation online:

Facebook post after concert


High school and middle school musicians in the same music group?

SunglassesIn the years that I have been a teacher, it is amazing how teaching has helped me become a better musician. Because of hearing wrong notes and rhythms, my ear really tunes in to the correct ones. When I teach kids to be patient and continue to work hard because some day that work will pay off, I remind myself to do the same. When a student is finally able to play that piece of music they couldn’t play before, that motivates me to keep teaching and work on my music. In a similar way, younger JDCRO musicians often help high school musicians grow, both as musicians and as leaders.

There have been some concerns about our junior musicians and why they are playing with high school students. My initial reason was that the more people we can get involved with this cause at any age, the easier it is to have longevity for our organization. So I thought, let’s bring in anyone who wants to join, I can teach the younger students on the side and get them caught up. Make the music challenging for the older students, while creating less difficult parts of the same songs for the younger students.

However, another reason is that there are not that many opportunities for older students to work with younger students as mentors, as teachers. I’ve heard some JDCRO members say that they are interested in being teachers, whether it is music or otherwise. With this program, you can be a mentor to kids who are just a few years younger than you. Mentoring is beneficial not only to the one being mentored, but also to the one doing the mentoring. Mentoring those who come after you is your chance to thank those who took you under their wing when you were younger. It’s also another way of serving your community and learning how to be a leader, important skills wherever life may lead you.

With our audition process in the JDCRO, high school students can mentor those younger members in the group, but they don’t have to worry that junior musicians will be performing with them until they, the older members of the group, say they are ready. Watching our high school student judges not only critique, but give words of encouragement, and mentor and teach these younger kids has made me feel really good about what I am doing. I am proud of what I am seeing from our student judges, learning more about themselves while giving younger students the foresight of what they themselves could be if they keep working.

Finally, here is a different story about combining middle and high school ensembles. A teacher didn’t have the number of high school students to accommodate playing interesting music in high school, so she added students from the middle school to make it work. High school students were initially skeptical, but learned to appreciate being mentors and being able to play music they didn’t play before, and middle school students were thrilled to play with high school students.

To the students of the JDCRO, thank you for all you do. It is fun watching you grow!