Walla Walla Symphony's rock camp on a roll

A summer program gives musicians age 12-18 a weeklong immersion in rock 'n' roll.


WALLA WALLA -- It's time for Rock 'n' Roll Camp, take two.

Sponsored by the Walla Walla Symphony, 2009's free Rock 'n' Roll Camp for about 113 area youths was a big hit, said J.D. Smith, youth director for the symphony. "It was great, better than we hoped for ... the community really kicked in."

Kids came out of that first attempt with new and improved skills in instrumentation, presentation and professionalism, he said, culminating the week with a rock concert for the public that allowed rockers from age 12 to 18 to showcase the week's curriculum.

This year? Prepare for amazing.

"It will be bigger, better, bolder this year," Smith predicted. "We are getting good support from manufacturers of rock-related bling."

The camp is ready to hit its stride, Smith said. Once again, the Hot Topic Foundation has started the music with a large donation of dollars and other companies are donating goodies from instruments to sheet music to "swag."

Equally important is the loan by Walla Walla Public School District of Lincoln Alternative High School as the venue, he added.

Returning instructors will include lead camp organizer Anthony Barba. New instructors will join the effort and courses will include blues harmonica, African-Cuban drumming, rock journalism and video-making, and rock 'n' roll marketing.

Smith is hoping to get local eateries on board again this year in an effort to feed every kid breakfast and provide snacks during the day. "And, of course, we can always use cash donations."

The camp will run Aug. 2-6, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Registration forms are available at the Symphony offices, 13 1/2 E. Main St., Suite 201 (above Olive restaurant), Lincoln Alternative High School, Hot Poop, Blazing Guitars and Melody Muffler. Registrations are due by June 25 and space is limited. For more information call 529-8020.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.


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