The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

June 28, 2013

Rock Camp

Kids to play downtown


DANVILLE — Three bands will rock out at Temple Plaza with a concert this afternoon.

The 1 p.m. concert is the culmination of the weeklong First Gig Rock Camp that was conducted at Danville Area Community College. The college and the David S. Palmer Arena partnered to offer the day camp for the second year.

“We couldn’t do it without the college’s support,” said Peter Blackmon, general manager of the arena, adding that DACC allowed the rock camp to use the Bremer Center’s theater, kitchen and equipment.

The camp drew 21 youths, ranging in age from 10 to 18, from all over Illinois, Indiana and even Idaho.

“That’s more than last year,” Blackmon said. “We’re maxed-out. We’re at capacity.”

Although some of the youths started playing guitar or drums only months earlier, Blackmon said, “All of the kids had at least a modicum of playing ability. They knew how to play basic chords.”

Besides Blackmon, arena marketing manager Jordan Cundiff and Laura Hensgen, coordinator of continuing, corporate and community education at DACC, also helped out at the rock camp. Four professional musicians served as camp directors: Tom Grassman, Michael “Guido” Esteves, Jeff Markland and Amy Mitchell.

Thirty to 40 musicians from Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis who performed at this week’s Artbeat Music Fest at Temple Plaza also were guest musicians at the camp and helped the youngsters to hone their rock star skills.

“It’s amazing because these guest musicians come in from all over and they jam together,” Blackmon said.

The youths participated in a variety of sessions during the week that covered bass, drums, guitar and keyboard.

The youths split up into three bands, naming themselves Black Eclipse, Soul Patch and Cage the Animator.

Blackmon said that as soon as he and Cundiff knew the band names, they began designing logos that will appear on T-shirts which will be sold during today’s concert.

The three bands also took a field trip to SCP Recording Studio — which Cundiff operates — where the bands recorded tracks on a CD, which also will be available for purchase at the concert.

Kasey Burton, 14, of Crawfordsville, Ind., attended the rock camp last year and returned this year to sharpen her singing skills. Today, she will be one of two singers who will front Soul Patch.

She said one of the songs the band is going to perform is one she wrote.

“I’m doing one of my own songs, but at the camp, I learned how to put chords and structure to it,” she said.

Fellow Soul Patch member 16-year-old guitarist Charlie Anderson of Chicago said her uncle brought her to Danville to attend the rock camp.

“I just started playing guitar a month ago,” she said. “The camp is wonderful — not just the music, but I’ve met so many friends.”

Ready to jam

Youth bands from the First Gig Rock Camp — Black Eclipse, Soul Patch and Cage the Animator — will perform at 1 p.m. today at Temple Plaza. In case of rain, the concert will be staged at the Bremer Theater at Danville Area Community College.