Artown Offers Rock n' Roll Camp for Children - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Artown Offers Rock n' Roll Camp for Children

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The Boys and Girls Club at Hug High School is rocking! One room contains a circle of drum sets, another has four microphones set up. There's also a room full of keyboards, one focusing on bass and electric guitars. No room has more than six students and staff is swarming. It's Reno Rock Camp. And kids who have never played instruments are getting intense training on specific songs in the area they've picked.

"They learn the chords and the beats for a week, shoot a professional looking music video on our green screen and then we'll have a concert this Friday at 4:30pm here for their parents and anyone else who can come to watch," says Director Michael Hill.

Hill is a transplant fro Oregon who saw an opportunity here and is building it into a reality. He is classically trained in opera. In fact, he's never really played rock n' roll himself. But he had the idea and spent the last seven months figuring out how to make it happen.

He went to a number of local businesses, casinos and schools and Hug High welcomed him with open arms. He hired professional musicians and college musicians as staff and has invested what he could personally to see it all come together.

"We charge about $400 a kid for this kind of training, but to get it started and show people it works, I'm funding at least 85% of these kids. I'll use our success here to show businesses they should get involved. Other schools are already asking about the program," he says with a smile.

He moved here from Klammath Falls, Oregon thinking the Reno and eventually Lake Tahoe area would be a good place to start it. But he hopes to expand it to other cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and back east.

"I love this," says 11-year-old Serena who is learning drums by listening to popular music and playing along with the group.

"I've played guitar for a while now," says 13-year-old Blake. "But I've never had the chance to play an electric guitar. And I'm picking it up pretty quickly here."

They've formed bands and come up with names. You can see The Walking Waffles, The Taco Sauce, The Fire Starters and the Originals in concert Friday at Hugh High at 4:30pm.

Written by Erin Breen 

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