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These kids rock

Young musicians learning licks at camp

Young musicians learning licks at camp

July 02, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

Mark Miller is not exactly Jack Black, and Cumberland Valley School of Music's Rock Camp may not be quite as raucous as "The School of Rock," but a dozen aspiring rockers had built a pretty big wall of sound by Wednesday night.

While they may practice in their garages or basements at home, the six guitarists, three drummers, two bass players and keyboardist are learning some new licks this week from Miller and assistants Tresa Paul and Dias Bishop.

The campers' families, friends and public can hear how well the campers' sounds jell tonight at 7:30 p.m. with a free concert in the Friendship Hall of Central Presbyterian Church.

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"So far, we have seven put together, but these kids are learning so fast this year we may be able to add a couple more," Miller, the camp director and a guitar instructor at the school, said Wednesday of the repertoire for tonight's concert.

"Come Clean" and "Nice Guys Finish Last" by Green Day, The Foo Fighters' "All My Life" and "Everlong," Nirvana's "In Bloom" and "Six Feet Under" by No Doubt were some of the songs the band has been working on since Monday, according to Brennan Elliott, 13, of Chambersburg, one of the half-dozen axemen.

"It's something really fun to do in the summer. You play new songs, you learn new techniques," said Elliott, who was armed with a Fender Stratocaster.

"It's also a chance to play with other musicians. It's a totally different environment from playing by yourself," said Robert Finucane, 14, of Chambersburg.

"It was an opportunity for me to play with other people," said Alex Dalious, 15, of Chambersburg, who has a chance to get his riffs down the rest of the year with sister Sammantha, 13, who plays bass.

Not all the musicians are camp novices. Five have attended the camp before, including Drew Adams, 17, of Waynesboro, Pa., who is back for his fifth year. He also has the opportunity to ply his craft with a band, Good for Nothing.

Miller said several of the camp members take private lessons in addition to what they pick up during the week.

There are no tents or sleeping bags. The camp is held at the church three hours a night. The first night, Miller said the students brought in CDs of songs they wanted to learn for tonight's concert.

"Of course, I have veto power, which I've had to use because of lyrics, or whatever," Miller said.

Each night, the musicians start by rehearsing the song they learned the night before and then begin learning a new song or two.

"How long have you been doing Rock Camp?" Paul asked Miller.

"About seven years," Miller replied.

"And you can still hear?" she said.

When all 12 musicians start cranking it out in Friendship Hall it is, to say the least, hard to hear, but Paul is no stranger to rock music. She said she and her husband have 16 guitars between them and she used to play for a classic rock band, Weatherfields.

Now she plays in an acoustic duo, Soleil, that will play on Memorial Square today at noon.

"It's totally incongruous with what we're doing here tonight," Paul said.

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