PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp bands prepping for concert

This week, kids taking part in PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp in Houghton are wrapping up their first week of the program and so far, they look ready to hit the stage.

PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp kicked off this week and the bands have been working hard in preparation for next week’s concert, including The Popcorns.

“The first year I came to Rock Camp it was in 2010.  I was eight.  And they had Little Rockers which there was only four of us then.  And we came here for two hours and got to perform a song so that was fun,” The Popcorns member Vanessa Dulong said.

Campers start their day off with special sessions based on their expertise.  But for these kids, everyone has their own reasons why they joined.

“Just to make new friends, jam out with everybody and just rock,” Dulong said.

This is the fifth year the two-week intensive program has been held and the mastermind behind it is Houghton-native PJ Olsson.

“We take these kids and we make them comfortable with performance,” Olsson said.  “And the more that we make them comfortable with performance, the more secure they get as kids.  And putting them in a situation to do that in front of their peers creates one heck of a family.”

One of the more experienced bands is After Dark and band member Marya Julio explained how she first got involved with Rock Camp.

“I’ve really been into music but I never got to perform anywhere.  I was still kind of young but there was posters everywhere and things were on Facebook and my older friends did it and they told me to give it a try so I gave it a try the first year and I loved it so I’ve been in it ever since,” she said.

The bands are told to pick two or three songs and have them ready for the rock concert that will take place at the Rosza Center August 2.

Julio said she feels good about her band’s ability to put on a great show.  “We’ve had a lot of fun actually so far and we already have all three of our songs done so we’re feeling pretty accomplished on that so I like this group so far,” she said.