Rock Finale: Powerhouse show moves people

HOUGHTON – With a set list that mixed originals with songs from the likes of Kate Bush, the Chainsmokers and Bon Jovi, PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp put on another powerhouse concert Saturday night.

At 33 songs and three hours including intermission, the concert was part of a conscious effort to trim the length from previous years.

“Every year it keeps happening,” said creative director PJ Olsson. “We did our best to make it shorter. It still went a little longer than we thought, but what are you going to do?”

Olsson said one of the best parts of the concert and two weeks of rehearsal is getting to watch the campers grow up.

“It was great to be up there with my son, too,” he said. “That was a blast. Maybe next year one of my daughters will be up here too.”

One of the best-received performances was Maggie Brotherton’s solo rendition of Demi Lovato’s “Stone Cold.” The response was scary, she said, but ultimately made her proud.

“I made a lot of people emotional, and that was something I’d never done before,” she said. “I’m really happy with it.”

Brotherton, who has been in Rock Camp for the past three years, said the best thing was “getting to know people that I wouldn’t otherwise talk to and connecting with them through music, when we wouldn’t normally connect over anything else.”

Jenna Sulisz, who was at Rock Camp for the second year, said she has learned a lot about working with people and accepting everyone. Her favorite moment was the grand finale. Of her band’s performances, she most liked their cover of Sia’s “Cheap Thrills.”

“Everyone got into it, and it was really fun,” she said.