A Whitehorse rock band is coming to Skagway next week to teach a rock-and-roll camp for kids. The three-man band Speed Control will bring a trailer full of instruments to share their love of music with students ages 8 to 18.
“I get great joy out of watching a kid plug a guitar in for the first time and play that first loud power chord and go ‘oh yeah, this is what it’s about!’ It’s a blast,” says Jody Peters, bass player and vocalist in Speed Control.
Peters’ fellow band members are his brother Graeme, who plays guitar and sings, and drummer Ian March.
Speed Control has played together in Whitehorse since 2010. About four years ago, they started teaching rock camps.
“It kinda came out of necessity originally to make money on the road,” Peters says. “‘Cause when you’re on the road, there aren’t really gigs Monday through Friday. And Graham and I are both music teachers in the schools and privately. So we thought, why don’t we go on the road and teach rock-and-roll to kids?”
About a year into it, Peters says Yamaha Canada pitched in and supplied Speed Control with instruments for the camps.
“So we can kinda pull up into any community, set up and run a rock camp.”
The band has traveled across Canada to teach. But the Skagway workshop is their first Alaska venture. The Skagway Arts Council organized the event.
“I guess I was projecting some of my own interests on there,” said arts council treasurer Gary Hanson. “I thought it would be a really cool thing.”
Hanson says the council is subsidizing the camp to keep the student fee low, at $50 per person. He says local businesses have also been generous pitching in as sponsors.
The camp runs June 21-25 at Skagway School. Peters says it’s divided into two groups: a three-hour morning session for kids with no experience playing an instrument, and an afternoon session for students with some music experience.
“So we’ll rock out for an hour and a bit and then we’ll take a Frisbee break because you can only concentrate so long, especially in the summer. And then head right back into rocking.”
Peters says campers will be able to choose between electric guitar, keyboard, drums, or use their own voices as instruments. He says other instruments, like saxophones or trombones are welcome.
The camp culminates in a rock show at the Dedman Stage in Seven Pastures Park on Saturday, June 25. For more information or to sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 983-2826.