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Fort Erie Teens Ready to Rock

by Matthew Vandervoet | Apr 10, 2019

GFESS’ Dan Ashukian and Ross Tremblay will display 6-string skills at annual Students Rock competition

Dan Ashukian, left, and Ross Tremblay from Greater Fort Erie Secondary School will be showcasing their six-string skills at the annual Students Rock competition on April 16 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls. - Richard Hutton/Metroland

For two Greater Fort Erie Secondary School (GFESS) students, it’s a chance to be a rock and roll guitar hero for a night.

Dan Ashukian and Ross Tremblay will both be taking to the stage at the Greg Frewin Theatre on April 16 as a part of the ProAction Cops & Kids Students Rock competition. Tremblay competed in the 2018 event and is making a guest performance this year, while Ashukian is GFESS’ entrant into this year’s show.

And, as it turns out, there is a healthy competition between the two friends.


“I wanted to show him up,” Ashukian said, pointing at Tremblay and explaining why he decided to enter the competition.

The Students Rock program is a three-month program that engages schools, youth and officers from across Niagara Region to help youth prepare for what is a friendly guitar competition.

Schools in both the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board choose budding young guitarists to represent their schools. The young guitarists are then paired with a Niagara regional police officer to work with and prepare a song of their choosing to perform with a live band for the competition. There will be 19 students taking part in this year’s event.

So, what song has Ashukian chosen?

Rock You Like a Hurricane, by the Scorpions,” he said.

And that’s where the friendly competition between the two heats up a little. The song Tremblay has chosen to perform is Metallica’s Sad, But True, a song Ashukian had originally planned on doing.

“I beat him to it,” Tremblay said with a laugh.


Both teens are relatively new to the guitar game, with both having about a year and half experience under their belt.

GFESS music teacher Cliff Saylis said the competition has given both Tremblay and Ashukian a chance to improve their skills.

“In class they learn the basics but this is an opportunity for the students to get some private lessons,” Sayliss said. “They both were already dabbling in guitar but this gives them an opportunity to stretch themselves and perform before a live audience.”


Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the theatre. While the event is free to attend, organizers are asking those who come out to bring a donation of a non-perishable food item for the food bank for Project SHARE in Niagara Falls.

by Richard Hutton

Richard Hutton is a Reporter-Photographer for Niagara this Week, covering everything from politics to community stories and everything in between in Niagara’s southern tier.

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