JoJo and Jerry

Widespread Panic’s keys player JoJo Hermann will perform at the Sheridan Opera House Saturday night at 9 p.m., with his friend, the guitarist and songwriter Jerry Joseph and indie rocker Sherman Ewing. (Courtesy photo) 

The Sheridan Opera House is gearing up for back-to-back shows this weekend with Rock and Roll Academy’s winter concert Friday at 5 p.m. and a performance by Widespread Panic keyboardist JoJo Hermann Saturday at 9 p.m. Herman will be playing with guitarist and singer-songwriter Jerry Joseph and indie rocker Sherman Ewing.  

Friday’s Rock and Roll Academy (RRA) free winter concert is in its 15th year. The show will consist of about 50 students of all ages and various musical styles. The concert will also showcase three high school female singer-songwriters.

“Audiences expect a fun, high energy show and academy students deliver that,” said Mark Galbo, RRA’s founder and CEO. 

The winter concert is the product of the academy’s after school program, offered September through December, where local students spend 90 minutes per day, two days per week, forming bands and rocking out in the studio at the Telluride Mountain School.

“Academy students grow and transform both as musicians and as creative, expressive persons,” Galbo said. “It is not unusual for students to play four or five instruments and completely direct their own learning process.”

The Rock and Roll Academy was created in 2003, when Galbo, a professional musician and music educator, launched the program, modeled with the same techniques used by professional musicians, learning and collaborating together.

In addition to the after-school sessions, the academy also offers a Summer Rock Camp, during which students meet five days per week, and are guided through the process of forming a band, playing instruments, selecting songs and collaborating musically as a group. Each week ends with a special concert showcasing what the students have learned throughout the week.

“The academy allows children to control their own educational experience. From the musical choices involved in putting together a band, to the social emotional aspects of working together as a band, the academy promotes an autonomous, expressive pathway where young people gain experience being their most authentic selves,” Galbo said.

Following the Friday concert is Hermann’s performance on Saturday with Joseph and Ewing.

“The show is going to be high energy rock, blues and soul,” said Maggie Stevens, opera house PR and marketing director. “It’s a great show for Widespread Panic fans as he’s an integral member of the band, but you don’t have to be a Widespread fan to enjoy it.”

Hermann, a New York City native, has been touring with Widespread Panic since 1992. While his contributions to Widespread might be his most well-known project, he is also involved in several other music groups, including the jazzy-blues New Orleans band Slim Wednesday and Missing Cats, a duo he formed with Ewing, who’s also from NYC.

Stevens explained that Hermann and Joseph are constantly on the road, continuously touring.

“They both thrive performing live and will put on an unforgettable show,” Stevens said.

Hermann explained that his long history with Joseph ensures a good time at the show.

Jerry and I going to play songs we've written over the years; some old, some brand new,” Hermann said. “When Jerry and I were young and in school, they had to separate us in different homerooms because we caused so much trouble for the teachers. So, it'll be like that.”

The group will also play some tunes from Missing Cats.

“Hermann counts New Orleans style boogie-woogie as his main influence, especially Dr. John and Professor Longhair,” Stevens explained.

Hermann also noted that his group Slim Wednesday will be on tour in the area, visiting Crested Butte, Keystone and Steamboat in March, along with bandmates Bill Elder on guitar and vocals, Greg Bryant on bass, Kevin Mabin on drums, Jonathan Jackson on saxophone and vocals, and Jovan Quallo on saxophone.

Hermann has spent quite a bit of time in the Telluride area, he explained.

“I've spent a lot of time there, playing and skiing, so got a lot of great memories, on the mountain and on stage; really psyched about playing the opera house,” Hermann said.   

The night will end with a free, after show party at the SHOW Bar with DJ Wombat immediately following the main stage concert.

Tickets to Hermann’s show are $30 for the main floor and $40 for the balcony.

For more information on Saturday’s performance or for tickets, visit sheridanoperahouse.com Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m.

To learn more about the Rock and Roll Academy, visit telluriderockandrollacademy.com