Oklahoma teacher electrifying classic Christmas concert

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Cue the lights, get the electric bass and guitar warmed up.

This isn't a rock concert venue; in fact, most of the instruments warming up here are strings.

Most of the musicians are high school students in the Orchestra at Classen School for Advanced Studies.

When asked what the group does, one student said, "More like rock orchestra."

"Not just classical music, you know," another said.

Justin Pourtorkan is the 'mad scientist' director who wanted to amp up the classic Christmas program.

His inspiration came from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra but the musicians are all his.

"I'm always looking for ways that I can energize this program," says Pourtorkan. "And I want to give these students something extra to sink their teeth into, something out of the ordinary."

"Pourtorkan wanted to talk about doing stuff like this, it was very exciting," another student said.

"He always comes up with these really good ideas," says one more student. "And they always turn into spectacular stuff that people really like."

Strip away the electronics and you'll still hear Tchaikovsky in the school auditorium.

When Pourtorkan announced his plans, his students got louder too.

"There was a lot of excitement, like 'Yay," says a violinist. "It's definitely different from the classic orchestra concert."

The orchestra performs Handel's 'Messiah' once every four years too.

If you want people to stand on more than just tradition these days, you have to make them feel a little something extra.

The Classen SAS Orchestra performs Tuesday evening for the public at the school.

Tickets are $7 for adults or $14 for a family.

The concert starts at 7 p.m.

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