If you or your child have ever dreamed of being a music star,  Let There Be Rock School,  a combination music lesson facility and after-school rock and roll center, has its Grand Opening celebration in Riverview at 9366 Balm Riverview Rd on April 29 and 30. Whether you or your child wants to be a musician, singer, recording engineer, or songwriter, this unique school has something for all ages and skill levels.

Behind the Florida debut of the Let There Be Rock School franchise are business partners Kevin Sitaras and Dave Cortino. The school offers guitar, bass, drums, piano, ukulele, mandolin, voice, and audio production instruction with four vetted instructors. Both men have invested heavily in providing their students with the best guitars, amps, drums, sound production software, etc. The school proudly features vintage 80s to the most modern musical equipment.

In addition to lessons, students can join a band and even opt to perform an original song at a real concert venue every two to three months. The school will also feature a summer camp geared toward songwriting.

Cortino met Sitaras when his daughter signed up to take piano lessons. Cortino was impressed with his teaching methods and signed up for guitar lessons. Over time, the two became friends, and conversations turned to partnership opportunities  – opening a recording studio or rehearsal space. Sitaras approached Cortino with the music school concept. The two visited the Let There Be Rock School in Philadelphia, where Sitaras previously taught while on break from touring. They fell in love with bringing a safe, inclusive space for musicians to learn or better their craft to Riverview.

The antithesis of stuffy, Let There Be Rock School boasts an arcade with six machines and a seating area for guests to relax or play video games on the 65-inch TV. In the lobby, walls are covered with Sitaras’ show posters and memorabilia and posters of bands the school has gotten signed to labels. There’s a comfy couch where students can hang out, watch their friends play, and be a community to support one another.

“The biggest concept behind this school is community. We wanted to build a community around a school. Rather than a company fueled solely by profit, we wanted to create a place where people can come and hang out and feel fully welcomed for their lessons or band rehearsals,” explained Sitaras.

“This has been a dream of mine ever since I was a teenager,” enthused Cortino.

Cortino’s love of music started with playing guitar in his mom’s garage. When she complained about the noise level, he moved to a friend’s home to play drums until another complaint was lodged.

“We could never find a place to play. I always thought it would be great to have a spot like that. One day, I was going to build a space for kids to play music.”

A professional drummer signed to Universal Records, Sitaras toured from 2014 until 2022 with several different bands, even playing the Vans Warped Tour. Having studied all music types, from classical to metal, Latin to Fusion, from the age of 2 and a half, Sitaras came by his love naturally – his father was a metal drummer, and his mother an opera singer.

Multi-instrumental, Cortino played in punk, Christian, and rock bands throughout his twenties in Southern California and is excited to share his love of music with his students.

Sitaras believes that everyone has the potential to be a great musician. He said passion, a thirst for knowledge, and a genuine love of music make the perfect student.

Cortino added that an open mind and desire to grow are critical components of being a good student.

“Since age 7, taking formal lessons always had a feeling of condescension that I was never a big fan of – I’m the teacher, you’re the student,” Sitaras explained. “I always like to approach my lessons like a conversation. While some basics must be learned, I would rather structure my lessons to answer questions. I don’t want a hardcore lesson plan. That old-school classical training and stuffy old professors turn many people off that could have been musicians.”

Sitaras’ overall goal with the school is to spread music to the community, especially those who don’t think they are capable. He hates when people claim that they don’t have a musical gift.

“The gift is the passion, the want to do, the desire to put the time in,” Sitaras said. “It’s funny how the universe points you in a certain direction, but sometimes it takes time to grasp it. When I first moved here, I intended not to teach but to be a gigging musician and play in cover bands. As time went on, I kept getting more students and people appreciating my methods and philosophy. It steered me in the direction of where I ended up going. I’m looking forward to building a home for as many people as possible.”

Cortino said, “I put my heart and soul into this place, and so has my family. We want to create a space where musicians of all ages can gather and be encouraged to play music, write, and network.”

Sitaras and Cortino know life is hectic. That is why Let There Be Rock School offers a flexible schedule, where students can take weekly 30-minute lessons or 60-minute rehearsals on weekdays after school and on weekends.

Let There Be Rock Schools will hold its grand opening event on April 29 and 30, from 2 pm to 7 pm. The celebration will feature beignets compliments of the Daily Beignets truck, beverages, and live performances by local bands from three different school locations. There will be a 50/50 cash raffle to support Habitat for Humanity. In the evening, Sitaras will show a family-friendly movie on a 16′ outdoor screen.

Both Sitaras and Cortino are eager to complete the final touches on the facility for the grand opening.

Cortino said, “I can’t wait to meet the musicians, see what they can do and what they’re about in our rock and roll community. We want to create an open space and allow people to come in and do whatever they do musically and be themselves. We’re not here to make a bunch of rock clones. I’m curious to meet the rebels.”

The grand opening celebration will be held on April 29 and 30. Admission is free and open to the public. Let There Be Rock School is located at 9366 Balm Riverview Road, Riverview. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday – 3-9, Saturday – 10-3, and Sunday – by appointment. Enrollment is open for ages 4 to adults. Please visit their website for more information, registration, or employment opportunities.