Young Moab musicians will perform a rock ‘n’ roll concert on April 3, after only four days of learning their instruments, forming bands and composing original songs.
Youth Rock Camp Moab is the brainchild of percussionist Amy Stocks, who modeled the kids’ music camp after a similar program called Girls Rock Alliance, founded in Portland, Oregon, in 2006. Stocks held Moab’s first youth rock camp in 2014 with 13 students.
Stocks learned about Portland’s youth rock camp for girls after she attended a camp in Boston for women over 21. At the end of the week, participants performed in a downtown Boston bar. For Moab, Stocks wanted to open the camp to both boys and girls.
This year’s camp quickly sold out with 27 students signed up, including a dozen kids returning from last year.
Over four days during spring break, March 31-April 3, local professional musicians will teach kids basic rock beats on various instruments – each student chooses the musical instrument he or she wants to play. No experience is necessary, Stocks said. The camp provides electric and bass guitars, keyboards and drums, as well as instruction on vocals.
Students also learn costuming, stage presence and how to write a song. The week culminates with a performance before a live audience at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North, on Friday, April 3 at 7 p.m.
Local musician and multi-instrumentalist Scott Ibex teaches guitar and is one of the band managers. This is his second year volunteering with the program.
“It’s really incredibly joyful,” Ibex said. “I’m proud to see these kids up there having fun and rocking out.”
Young people between the ages of 8 and 17 are immersed in making music, and the business of music from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each day, students receive two hours of instrument instruction, followed by band practice and other various workshops throughout the day.
Participants even design their own logos for their band. Volunteer Sarah Stock will conduct a silk-screening workshop where kids create their own band T-shirts. Students will also have an opportunity to take a break and do some yoga with Laurie Collins and Angela Houghton of Moab Yoga.
“It’s all about giving kids their voice through empowerment,” Amy Stocks said. “They’re able to absorb information if immersed all day long.”
At last year’s MARC performance, the “crowd went wild,” Stocks said, as each band performed its one original song.
Claret Sutteer’s mom Pippa Thomas said she’s never seen her daughter as excited for a program as she is for Youth Rock Camp Moab. The 9-year-old played drums last year in an otherwise all-boy band that called themselves “The Titans.” This year, she plans to play keyboards.
“It’s my dream job to be a musician,” Claret said. “The camp was really awesome. I learned techniques from a lot of good musicians.”
The volunteer musicians who worked with the kids were enthusiastic – about the kids, and about the music, Thomas said.
“How can the kids not be enthusiastic when they see adults in love with what they are doing?” she asked. “That’s the power of music.”
As part of its youth programming, KZMU Community Radio co-sponsors the music camp, which costs $100 per student. The program is also supported by grants and fundraisers.
“It’s vital that kids are exposed to music,” Stocks said. “This exposes kids to positive mentors. It’s a lot of fun. The kids are supportive of one another. It involves team work, community, collaboration and celebrating one another.”
About 150 people attended last year’s concert.
“It was amazing watching them up there performing with no inhibitions,” Thomas said. “What they learned in a week was amazing and fabulous. They had the crowd yelling and cheering. They really got that rock star experience.”
People who are interested in making a donation to Youth Rock Camp Moab can do so by emailing email@example.com, or by visiting www.kzmu.org. Donations will also be accepted at the concert on Friday.
Youth Rock Camp Moab concert comes to MARC on April 3
When: Friday, April 3 at 7 p.m.
Where: Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North
Cost: Free; donations accepted
“It’s really incredibly joyful … I’m proud to see these kids up there having fun and rocking out.”