Boardman's orchestra rocks with Project Mayhem - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Boardman's orchestra rocks with Project Mayhem

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BOARDMAN, Ohio -

A lot of schools have a band, but Boardman has a full-on orchestra. And over the last 11 years, they've even managed to take that to the next level.

"A lot of people, when you say that you play the violin or something, they're like 'Oh, you play classical music.' Actually, we have a rock orchestra, you know," said senior Mackenzie Kondas, who plays the violin.

It's called Project Mayhem, now in its 11th year at Boardman High School. It combines all the instruments of a black-tie event with a rock-and-roll twist.

"It's so much fun to see the spotlight on you and rip a solo or something like that," said junior guitarist Reese Maslen.

"The simplest way to put it, it makes you feel like a rock star for a night. It's kind of the best feeling in the world," said junior drummer Patrick Kale.

Bill Amendol helped start this all up 11 years ago, building toward what we see today, but it hasn't always been easy.

"You can't buy music for this group," said Amendol. "A lot of the stuff, either I arrange it, or I don't know if you can see in the background, Scott our sound guy, he arranges a lot of the stuff for the kids to play."

The end result is a sound that is quite a bit different from the orchestra's early days in the 1950s, and word of the group has reached Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

"TSO, they're the premier group of what it is we're trying to do here," said Amendol. "We try to model what we do after them."

No one is quite sure how they found out about Mayhem, but they did, and TSO not only invited them to their show in Youngstown this week, but a couple members will be right here on Wednesday to watch them practice.

"It's like meeting the maker, it's really cool. You get to find the people that we're basing our own thing off of," said Maslen.

"It's an amazing opportunity," said Kale. "It's crazy to think that they even know about us. They're the guys who kind of invented it. For them to even recognize us as somewhat similar to them is just awesome."

Just a couple rock groups hanging out this week, and putting a twist on what it means to be part of an orchestra.

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