For those about to rock, we salute you

Concert tuneup at ‘Music in the Streets’

Jon Jaehnig/ For the Gazette Rock Camp band Origin is seen here playing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” at the Music in the Streets event. The band will be performing as yet to-be-determined song list at the camp’s big concert finale on Saturday.

HOUGHTON — With PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp marking the halfway point, the budding rockers showed off their skills at the Music in the Streets event Saturday — a three-hour concert in front of 5th and Elm coffee house on main Street in Houghton, showcasing the campers playing dozens of songs in over 20 musical arrangements.

The event served the dual purpose of getting the campers used to playing in front of an audience and promoted their big show at the Rozsa Centre that will wrap up the camp on Saturday.

The final show will feature four bands and a number of soloists, which have yet to be determined.

“We really need the second week of the camp to figure that stuff out,” said PJ Olsson, the founder of the camp.

While the songs played by the campers will not necessarily be those played at the Rozsa on Saturday, the campers’ musical tastes were showcased as much as their abilities as they performed covers of songs by Ed Sheeran, Fallout Boy, Twenty One Pilots, The Frey, The Xx, Walk the Moon and Adelle, as well as classics by Johnny Cash, Journey, Elvis Presley, Guns ‘N’ Roses and others.

Jon Jaehnig/ For the Gazette While the soloists to be performing at Rock Camp’s final concert on Saturday are yet to be determined, fourth-year camper Megan Happel may be a strong contender. She is seen here at Saturday’s "Music in the Streets" event at 5th and Elm in Houghton performing an original blues ballad.

More impressive yet were performances of original pieces written by Daphne Maki, Megan Happel and others.

“I’ve learned a lot about music, and a lot about myself,” said Maki, describing her five years at Rock Camp, “It’s a great program to support.”

While four of the 31 campers are currently in the program for the first time, others have been in the program for the last seven years, though their performances blended seamlessly, which Olsson says is due in large part to the mentorship of the older campers, as well as the bravery of the younger ones.

“The returning campers have really stepped up,” said Olsson, “A lot of the more basic things that used to take up the first week (of the program) we don’t have to teach them, because either they already know it or they’re teaching it to each other.”

The campers expressed thanks to Frank Fiala, owner of Fifth and Elm and perennial Rock Camp sponsor, for the use of the space for the “Streets” event.

The final concert at Michigan Technological University’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets will be $12 for ages 13 and older, and $7 for youth tickets.

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