Miami Beach High Rock Ensemble: Still Rockin’ the Planet

By Jesse Kirkpatrick….

Jesse Kirkpatrick

Under the direction of Doug Burris, the Miami Beach High Rock Ensemble continues to rock 38 years after its establishment in 1972.

Combining the experience of senior members and the fresh new talent picked up during the 2010 auditions, the Rock Ensemble is better than ever, and off to a quick start. Just take a look at its recent performances. The group rocked out at “Ability Explosion”, an accessibility awareness event on Miami Beach on October 19th, and traveled up north two days later to perform for the grand opening of SOBE’s own Lime Fresh Mexican Grill in Orlando.

Band bookers know by now that any generation of Rock Ensemble can be hired sight unseen. This is because it is well known that Burris takes his role seriously;  slackers need not apply.  Mr. Burris maintains the reputation of the Rock Ensemble through an incredibly selective audition process, during which prospective members must demonstrate not only instrumental or vocal proficiency, but also a good stage presence and strong character. The result is a group of musicians who will never complain when rehearsals continue late into the night and will practice on their own for hours a day.

Though no one can be a member for more than 4 years, each generation of musicians, engineers and support staff increases the respectability of an already well-established band. This is a situation from which students benefit greatly. Not only are they given the opportunity to be a part of a historically rich band, but members pick up on where 38 years-worth of musicians have left off. Over the years, the group has procured some regular gigs: Tim Tierney’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration, GRAMMY Career Day, the Bay Harbor Picnic, and countless Miami Beach Senior High school functions. Without the strong history of the Rock Ensemble behind them, members would never have the opportunity to perform at such diverse high-profile venues. Let alone as high school students.

As a keyboardist and vocalist for the band myself, I can say that the Rock Ensemble rocks! With a hot new set list, including such classic favorites as The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,” the group appeals especially to the classic at heart. However, those who prefer more modern tunes can groove to such recent hits as KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” and Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me”.

The Rock Ensemble will be performing at the Miami Music Festival at the Bayfront Amphitheater on November 13th at 12 pm.

Go to and click under “Upcoming Concerts” for more information.

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