Imagine “summer camp” and you may see images of hiking, camp fires and games – but there is a very different camp in the Stateline this summer. Participating kids from the Northern Illinois area will be attending Rock and Roll Institute – a camp dedicated to children with music pumping through their veins.
Just think: children rocking out to songs like “I Want to Rock!” by Twisted Sister right alongside songs they have written themselves. Audience members and spectators watch in awe at their spectacular performances and talent as they play well-known venues throughout the city of Rockford at the end of camp.
From the camp website, rocknrollinstitute.com: “Can you play a couple guitar chords? Maybe a simple drum beat? Do you like to sing in the shower?
“If so, you’re ready for our camp! Show up with your instrument on Monday and by Friday night you’ll be playing on-stage in a well-oiled, powerhouse of a rock n’ roll band.”
At the Rock and Roll Institute camp, children will not only improve on their instruments, but they’ll also receive coaching in general musicianship, teamwork skills and band promotion. The camp features both band rehearsals and master class sessions, taught by some of Rockford’s finest musicians. The instructors have years of experience in not only giving one-on-one lessons but also as recording artists and live performers in their own well-known bands.
Micky Rosenquist, owner of Underground Squirrel (Recording) Studio and co-founder of Rock and Roll Institute, says that the camp was started to provide a truly unique experience for musically inclined youth from the region to build confidence and cultivate their skills. Some students will attend with community raised scholarships.
“Our camp motto is, Start a band Monday, play a show Friday, but in reality, our camp does much more than that. We provide a safe and creative outlet for many kids who might not fit in with more traditional environments, like playing sports, or in typical social situations.” (Rosenquist)
The Rock and Roll Institute has been rocking out in Rockford since 2005, but 2017 marks the start of something new. This year, the Rock and Roll Institute is answering the request of parents and adults who want in on the fun, creating the first ever Rock and Roll Institute Summer Camp for Adults. This summer will be the inaugural Adult Camp season.
“Our original camp gives these participants a place to feel at home,” says Rosenquist, “to build their musicianship skills, self-esteem, and connects them with other like-minded kids from throughout the community. Now with our new adult camp, we aim to tap into the inner kid, and do the same thing.”
The camp is held at the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, 406 N. Main St., beginning June 19; the adult camp begins June 20 during evening hours.
–Rock and Roll Institute