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Evolution Rock School to host Summer Jam 2013 on Saturday

June 19, 2013|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE | crystal.schelle@herald-mail.com
  • The band REACTION with members (left to right) Nick Figgatt on guitar and vocals, Tyler Figgatt on guitar and Brandon Bumgarner on guitar and vocals will perform on June 22 at the Academy Theater in the Evolution School of Rock's season end concert, Summer Jam 2013. There will be a total of 9 bands, with students ages 6-18, rocking out on stage performing songs from the 60's to current day, as well as students performing solos, and two bands performing original songs that they wrote.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

It has the smell of teen spirit. 

 Or at least the band rehearsing Monday night at Evolution Rock School hopes to make the audience feel like they have the stage presence and musicality of Nirvana. 

Nine bands from the performance-based music school will take the Academy Theater stage at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 22, for Summer Jam 2013.

The school, which is owned by Cindie and Chris Figgatt, accepts students from age 5 to adult who want to learn how to let out their inner rock stars. The lessons end with a performance.

The Figgatts’ son, Nick, is one of the students and is in the band called Reaction.

Nick said by participating in the school, he’s learning to be a better musician. 

He said he enjoys being in the school because he likes “just getting better, not letting skills get rusty, making sure that I’m still on top of it.”

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Nick, 13, who lives in Thurmont, Md., said he plays the guitar, bass and keyboards and sings.

As for his future plans, the teenager isn’t quite sure if he’s going to make music a career. 

“I’m at that stage in life where there are multiple things I want to do, but I also like drawing and doing little cartoons,” he said. 

His Reaction bandmate Phil DiMercurio, 16, of Hagerstown, said being at the Evolution Rock School is where he was meant to be. 

“Well, I thought it was a great opportunity to play with other people who are actually interested in not just taking lessons because their parents made them,” Phil said. “Like someone who actually wanted to play music, because that’s how I am. I wasn’t forced to play music. I put myself into it because I wanted to. I heard about the rock school. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to find people to play with.”

Phil focuses mainly on drums, but he also can play other percussion instruments plus ukulele, bass and keyboards.

But drums, he said, is what he enjoys the most. 

“They’re fun. I found myself a natural to come to it,” he said.

He’s not planning on handing over his drum sticks anytime soon.

“I really want to do music for my entire life. I never want to give it up,” he said. “I think it’s just one of the things I’m very, very good.”

The rest of the band includes Tyler Figgatt, Brandon Bumgarner and Alex Hess. 

Dusty Corbin, Evolution Rock School’s artistic director, said the students are taught the basics. 

“Depending on what instrument they’re learning, they learn the fundamentals of music, music theory and things like that,” he said.

Students have a song they learn and then each student is taught his or her part. But it’s more than just music that Corbin hopes the students learn. 

“They learn how to get along with other students in a rock ’n’ roll group onstage because they each have a band practice once a week as well,’ he said. 

Corbin, who is a third generation musician and also has been in the band Blue Nevada for 15 years, said he’s able to teach the students what can happen in real life performance situations. 

“The things that I teach them have everything to do with any type of situation you would run into to — from how to play your instrument, to what to do on stage when your string breaks and you’re in the middle of a song,” he said. “How to not break your equipment. How to stay in tune. Just teaching them chords and theory and how to find their way around their instruments.”

Reaction bandmembers are learning to write their own music. And Corbin is also hoping to teach them one lesson when it comes to songwriting: “If it sounds good, it is good.”

“What that means, if you’re wondering if you should change from this chord to this chord or whatever, it’s really your ear you should be paying attention to,” he said. “Because if it sounds good, it is good.”  

 At the end of the day, though, Corbin said he really just wants them to have a good time. 

“I hope they’re having fun, because that’s a big part of music and being in a rock ’n’ roll band. It’s fun,” he said. “But what I hope they really get out of it is to have enough experience to do this on their own. That’s what any teacher or parent would want if they’re instructing a child is to give them their wings so that they can be a leader of a band themselves. That’s what I hope they take from it.”

And why should people come out and listen to the bands perform Saturday?

Nick said it’s just the chance to see what the students can do.

“It’s not every day you get to see a group of kids get to play as well if not better than adult bands,” he said. “We’re going out there and playing Foo Fighters, Guns and Roses, Nirvana, ZZ Top, all that pretty much near how they play it. Of course, it’s not going to sound as good because they’re the creators, but you can always have a sense of pride and do your best and that it sounds pretty much the same.”

If you go ...        

WHAT: Summer Jam 2013

WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday, June 22

WHERE: Academy Theater, 58 E. Washington St., Hagerstown

COST: $7.50; free for ages 4 and younger.

CONTACT: Call Evolution Rock School at 301-733-1850 or email evolutionrockschool@gmail.com.

MORE: A new acoustic guitar will be raffled off to benefit the Rock School Scholarship Fund and a portion of food sales will also benefit the fund. 

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