The Rocket Band is bigger and badder than ever!

It’s no secret that music is a big part of our Rocket culture. From our custom Rocketcaster guitars built by our own Steve Bice to the music gear in our Executive Briefing Center in Waltham to informal jam sessions to gigs at the House of Blues in Las Vegas, we just like to play music. Together. It’s more than just a fun thing to do – it’s a great way for Rocketeers to connect with each other and connect with our customers and partners. It is a great way for us to exercise our collaboration muscles. And music provides a great way to build community.

As we prepared for this year’s Leadership Summit, I knew I wanted to fully incorporate both community and music into our agenda. I also knew I wanted The Rocket Band to be even more organic and inclusive. Yes, I am proud to announce that we expanded the band and added five new musicians to our lineup this year – three horns and two vocalists. But I knew we had dozens more Rocketeers to add!

That’s when the light bulb went off: why not create multiple versions of The Rocket Band so that even more Rocketeers can participate? I envisioned The Rocket “Jazz” Band and The Rocket “Funk” Band and The Rocket “British Invasion” Band and of course The Rocket “Vegas” Band. All of us musicians at Rocket are members of The Rocket Band. We just needed a way to get everyone who wanted to participate in on the action at Leadership Summit.

Rocket Band PracticeSo as a first step, we sent a survey to everyone who would be at LS2015 to see who wanted to play…and we got nearly 50 responses! We then spent several weeks putting eight different groups together, ranging from a jazz combo to a classical trio to a funk band. Our only guideline was that everyone who wanted to play would get a chance to perform. That’s how we ended up with a sax player from Yokohama playing alongside a keyboardist from Paris, a drummer based in England, and a cowbell player from Waltham! And we have a mix of professional-level players, weekend jammers, and even some beginners.

Once the lineups were set, it was up to each band to create a set list, arrangements, and charts so that everyone would arrive in Boston knowing how to play their parts. Of course, that’s where collaboration really starts – all of the musicians are spending every day this week immersed in the software business…and every night practicing with their bandmates to really nail down their songs for Friday night.

“It’s about working with people we don’t necessarily work with every day,” says Matt West, who is playing bass and singing in the Rocket Edge Band, which is focusing on contemporary hard rock. “I’m getting to meet new people and really collaborate with them. It’s a great way to build community here.”

The Rocket Band is one of our differentiators, one aspect of our Category of One. I can’t wait to see 50+ Rocketeers collaborate on so many different musical styles and genres. Here’s hoping even more of you want to join The Rocket Band at one of our future gigs.

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Andy Youniss co-founded Rocket Software in 1990 and continues to be the company's main driving force. Andy successfully established and actively manages Rocket's largest OEM partnerships and is guiding the company's growth through technology investments, acquisitions, new product lines, and strategic partnerships. Prior to founding Rocket Software, Andy was the development manager for DB View Inc., a software company specializing in DB2 database tools. Previously, he was a programmer/analyst at American Management Systems, and was also a project development consultant. Andy holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

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