For those about to rock…

Alex Leduc
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Kids have Whole Lotta Love for music

For those about to rock…

Twelve-year-old guitarist David Garvis is a big fan of classic rock giants The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. On Thursday, he got the chance to not only rock out to his favourite tunes, but learn a little about what being in a band is all about. "It's a great experience forming a band and playing your favourite songs," said the Beaconsfield native. "I've grown so much as a musician. You really learn the dynamics of playing with different people."

David was one of dozens of local kids aged seven to 17 who got the chance to participate in Camp Jam and Camp Jam Kids. An internationally acclaimed musical camp for young rockers, Camp Jam made its Canadian debut at Beaconsfield United Church last week.

With the help of professional musicians, industry veterans, and the occasional celebrity guest teacher, the young musicians were able to hone their skills on guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, or vocals. They even got a chance to learn about being in a band, performing live, and being in a recording studio.

The majority of the campers were boys, but the girls had no trouble fitting in. "Most girls aren't in to this kind of stuff, but we're treated like rockers," said 14-year-old Nikka Varga. "I like camps where you can do what you love."

Nikka pointed out that age didn't seem to be a factor either, as her band's drummer happened to be 8-year-old Cedric DeSaint-Rome. "They're always bossy," said Cedric of his band mates.

The practice sessions and tutorials culminated in a concert Friday night, which marked the end of the five-day session and gave the kids a chance to rock out in front of friends and family.

Organizers are hoping the success of last week's Camp Jam will mean not only a return next year, but expansion into the francophone community, as well as to other Canadian cities. "Right now, all of our clients are anglophones, but we are looking to expand to a camp downtown where we can always hire whatever staff we need," said Camp Jam Canada Managing Partner Scott Prunier. "We also have plans to expand to Toronto and Ottawa."

The 27-year-old Montreal native also plans to reach out to big Montreal-based bands for new guests or instructors. "For the future we'd like to be able to support the local music scene more," said Prunier.

Organizations: The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Beaconsfield United Church

Geographic location: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal

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