August 24, 2005 - Two weeks into the 2005-06 school year, Ironwood Ridge High School is gearing up for a half-day rock festival rife with local bands to bring in money for its music program.

In an effort to send the Nighthawk Vanguard marching band to the Holiday Bowl Parade in San Diego in December, 10 rock bands composed of high school and college-age musicians will give a concert Aug. 27 at the school, 2475 W. Naranja Drive.

Rock the Ridge III will include Red Means Go, Koudanshi, Evergreen Highlights, SPAZ, A Desire for Reason, The Silver Screen Affair, Is to Feel, Sleeping Through Sirens, Misery Likes Company, and the headliner, A Kindled Apparition.

Visitors can expect a loud, high-energy show and a crowd filled not only with supportive students, friends of the bands and rock music fans, but also proud parents and grandparents, said Jackie Devery, the Rock the Ridge creator and director.

Rock the Ridge began three years ago when Devery, with the help of her son, a former drummer, gathered the rookie rock bands and asked them to give a show to benefit Ironwood Ridge's marching band. Getting support from a number of bands was easy, Devery said, because they all knew each other and had played shows at Scrappy's and Game Works. The bands eagerly approached her to organize this year's concert, Devery said.

Last year's event drew about 300 people, and the event's venue holds up to 700 spectators. Rock the Ridge III will run from noon to 8 p.m. and cost $10.

The event, which will be held inside an air-conditioned facility at the high school, will give the up-and-coming rock stars a chance to show their talents, Devery said. Devery and other organizers are still looking for bouncers to provide security.

Mama's Pizza and Blimpie's Subs have provided food at a discounted price to the school to sell at the event.

The Holiday Bowl Parade will be Dec. 29, and in it participants will operate floats and regional and national marching bands will march through downtown San Diego.

When Ironwood Ridge opened four years ago, it lacked juniors, seniors, a varsity football team and, therefore, a venue for the band to perform in regularly.

Now 85 members strong, the Nighthawk Vanguard will kick off the fall season with a half-time performance at a varsity football game against Flowing Wells on Sept. 2.

A major upcoming event for the band is the Marching the Ridge Invitational on Nov. 5. The 4th annual invitational is an all-day competition in which bands from throughout Southern Arizona perform for ratings of good, excellent, superior and superior with distinction. The nighttime portion of the invitational is the qualifier for the State Marching Festival, in which bands need to garner an excellent rating to compete.

Area schools looking to participate must contact Mark Hodge, the school's band director, register for the event by Oct. 21 and pay a registration fee of $175.

Jonas Hunter, a morning disc jockey and program director for the local rock station 96.1 KLPX, will host the invitational event and Rock the Ridge III.

Also, An upcoming fund-raising event for the music program is the annual Antique Car Show, which the school will hold at the Albertson's parking lot at Oracle Road and First Avenue on Oct. 1.

For more information, call 696-3900.

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