After years of conducting music lessons at Hauer Music, Rob MacPherson recognized the need for another form of instruction providing full-immersion into the music-making process. In 2003, the Dayton-based musician launched Rock Music Camp, a three-month program geared toward youth ages 6 to 18.
MacPherson, 49, is presenting a 10th anniversary Rock Music Camp show at Canal Street Tavern on Friday. The bill features student band Punks on a Lawn, MacPherson’s cover band The Enablers, adult Rock Camp band The Traveling Grouchos and The Rob MacPherson All Stars.
“I’ve always taught all ages, from youngsters as young as 6 years old up to senior citizens,” MacPherson said. “I decided a rock music camp would be a neat way to feature the talented kids I have. I had five bands the very first time, and it’s been such a successful program I’ve kept it going this whole time.
“The vast majority of my kids have done multiple camps,” MacPherson said. “I normally have 25 to 30 kids at one time. With all the school budgets being slashed, this is the only outlet many of these kids would ever have to perform in a live setting.”
Each three-month program culminates with a live performance at Canal Street Tavern.
“Playing that show boosts their confidence so much,” MacPherson said. “It helps them in many other things in life, too. They become comfortable standing in front of an audience. It’s been as worthwhile and fulfilling for me as it has the kids.”
Carly Sutter, an 18-year-old senior at Wayne High School, is on her fourth Rock Music Camp. She’s looking forward to returning to Canal Street Tavern with Punks on a Lawn.
“It’s so much fun,” Sutter said. “I feel like a rock star. (Canal Street Tavern) doesn’t have air conditioning, so it’s really hot in there in the summer, but it’s really a lot of fun to be able to play in front of people.”
Some of the former students from MacPherson’s camps are now active in popular bands like Good English, Authors & Audio and Gathering Mercury.
“I’ve had some of the most talented kids over the years,” MacPherson said. “Without a program like this the kids could easily lose interest in music. I think this has been a great way to solidify the kids’ involvement in music and help them go further with the pursuit of music. So many times, without a band, it can kind of seem like, ‘What are you working towards?’ This gives them a goal.”
HOW TO GO
What: Rock Music Camp 10th anniversary show with The Traveling Grouchos, Punks on a Lawn, the Enablers and Rob MacPherson’s Band Camp All-Stars
Where: Canal Street Tavern, 308 E. First St., Dayton
When: 7 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 6 p.m.
More info: (937) 461-9343 or www.canalstreettavern.com