Rock camp...

Today, after visiting with church members in their homes and talking with couples about getting married and making plans to audition and hire a new music director, I spent the afternoon at the local community college at "rock camp." About 90 young people between the ages of 10-18 have been at work for the last 2 weeks learning to put together a band. Some of the Berkshires BEST jazz and rock musicians are helping them, too! (

I had two reactions. First, what a great opportunity for young musicians. Many of these kids have GREAT chops - some good intuition, too - but many don't have much experience playing with others. Mostly they've learned in SOLITUDE! One of the downsides of the internet-computer world, yes? Second, how weird is it to have to show teenagers how to create a GARAGE BAND. Don't get me wrong, I think garage bands are GOD'S music - they have saved millions of kids and given them focus and purpose - but who would have thought that kids would have to be TAUGHT how to form a garage band.

(Take a moment to stop by Springsteen's buddy/guitarist, Little Steven, on his garage band website: Or check out his written reflections on what being in a garage band meant to him at:

This camp combats the isolation that reigns supreme it would seem to me! It is one of the redemptive aspects of rock and roll which too many people just don't get.

Two other thoughts: there were LOTS of girls with guitars - which is waaaay cool - and a big change from my garage band days.

And a lot of these kids are really hot players. I heard a young girl sing Linkin' Park this afternoon - with a synth, bass, guitar and drummer - and she was freakin' incredible. I heard two dueling guitars bring "The Boys Are Back in Town" alive, too.

So, before heading off to Tanglewood tomorrow night to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra do Ravel and other sweet French classical songs, I'm going to stop by Berkshire Community College and listen to some of these young bands come alive. What a treat... and a blessing~


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