Rockin’ the Street

HOUGHTON – The sounds of percussion aren’t unusual during rehearsals for PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp.

But instead of drums and tambourines, Friday’s had a different source: falling bowling pins. The group relocated to the Mine Shaft Friday afternoon after a power outage at Michigan Technological University (see above story).

The 37 members of Rock Camp have two weeks of practices leading up to the final concert on July 30.

Performers are also playing at 5th and Elm in Houghton today from noon to 3 p.m., and pop up at other spots downtown.

Makina Waatti of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is at Rock Camp for the second year. Her experience last year helped convince her brother, Matthew, of Missoula, Montana, to come as well.

“It’s really cool to be around so many talented musician and get ready for this concert, working with them, learning a lot,” he said. “All the instructors here are awesome, PJ’s cool. I’m loving it.”

The connections they’ve made at the camp endure after. Makina Waatti plans to study music at Belmont College in Nashville, attended by multiple Rock Camp alumni.

“It keeps going, and you keep those friendships and connections,” she said. “It’s a forever thing. It’s not just two weeks and it’s done.”

Kyle Kopsi found out about Rock Camp the summer after eighth grade. Just after he saw the Disney Channel movie “Rock Camp,” his grandmother, who lives in the area, told him to look up PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp.

Kopsi, who lives in the Detroit area, was skeptical about meshing with the local musicians, due to geography and genre. But Kopsi, who has specialized in original rap songs, said he got a warm welcome.

“They’re a very amazing, accepting community of amazing musicians and all sorts of talents coming together to make music, speaking that common language of music,” he said.

Danielle Lund is one of 10 first-timers in the camp. She’s known about it since Olsson was her neighbor in Houghton. This year, she finally had an open schedule and the confidence to send in an audition tape.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s incredible. You get to spend a lot of time with people who have the exact same passion that you do.”

Rock Camp members were taking Friday’s relocation in stride, bowling or having impromptu rehearsals.

“We need to practice, but I’m having fun, so it’s all right,” Matthew Waatti said.

For more information, go to facebook.com/pjsrockcamp.


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