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Students learn to rock at camp

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Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 12:00 am

Beau Roland has been jamming on the electric guitar for about a year and has been in a garage band since last month. But even as the 15-year-old Permian sophomore claims he can play the guitar parts for Green Day’s “When I Come Around,” he is hoping to get some practice on the other instruments this week.

“I always wanted to try bass,” Beau said Monday afternoon as he casually plucked the strings on a guitar. “Later on, I’ll start on vocals.”


What: Singer/Songwriter Paige Velasquez will perform a live music show.

When: 7 p.m. Thursday.

Where: West Texas Music Academy – 1611 E. Eighth St., Odessa

Cost: Free, but donations for tutoring scholarships at the academy will be accepted.

Beau, 10 other teens and about 30 children are learning how to be rock stars, almost literally, during this week’s Rock Star Camp at the West Texas Music Academy, co-owners Steve and Kathy Lollar said. Kathy Lollar said during this camp — the first of its type for the year-old academy — the students will dabble with everything: guitars, base, drums, vocals and the sound equipment. They are even rehearsing how to posture themselves on the stage, regardless of their instrument.

Kathy Lollar said the students in the Rock Star Camp, as in Beau’s case, might already have a primary instrument in mind, but the sessions will let them try out all the parts.

“The goal of this camp is to give young people the opportunity to experience a variety of instruments,” she said.

Austin Brown, 13, came to the camp Monday to try several of them out. He said he was concentrating on vocals and hoped to pick up on the drums, though he said, “I tried the guitar and I didn’t really like it.”

The camp is divided into two age groups, with elementary school-aged children playing in the mornings from 9 a.m. to noon, while the teenagers held their sessions from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

At least one of them was heard through the entire studio crashing the drums Monday afternoon. The incoherent trebles and quickly morphed into a steady rhythm as Kathy described the camp.

Kathy’s husband Steve said that he saw rock and roll as an evolving musical style that reaches into other genres. Despite the oft-spoken predictions of its demise, the interest in the camp suggests otherwise.

“There’s something about rock and roll that’s never going to go away,” Steve Lollar said. “Even the contemporary country has a rock influence.”

There was a little bit of star power present at the camp. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Paige Velasquez, an Odessa native who has performed around the Dallas area, was with some of the students to give them several pointers on their vocal and stage performances.

Velasquez said everybody has their own way of performing.

“I just say, be confident in what you are doing,” Velasquez said. “Show everybody what you can do.”

Austin, one of the students, said he had been singing since he was 3, when his grandfather taught him all that he currently knows about music. Austin said he continues singing in his grandfather’s memory since his death in November.

“I’m hoping to be able to spread the word of God through my singing,” he said.

Both age groups will have performances at the end of the camp Thursday. The younger crowd’s show will be at 12:15 p.m. while the teens will perform at 5:15 p.m. Velasquez will follow the two with her own free performance at 7 p.m. at the West Texas Music Academy.


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