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Roger Garcia Directs 9th Annual Rock Camp

Will Garcia is on staff and Loren Negron is a camper


Courtesy Photo

Rock Camp participants work one-on-one with talented mentors and teachers. Here, Glenn Ayers works with drum students.

Who hasn't at least wondered what it would be like to be a rock musician? Each year since 2009, 50 Walla Walla area teens get to find out firsthand what it's like to prepare and produce a Rock 'n' Roll concert by attending Walla Walla Rock Camp.

The week-long intensive music experience is a joint venture of the Walla Walla Symphony, Walla Walla Public Schools, and the Walla Walla Blues Society, and is directed by Waitsburg's own Roger Garcia. The camp concludes with a free public concert on July 14, at Washington Park.

This is the second year that Garcia, who is also District Music Coordinator for Walla Walla Public Schools, has directed Rock Camp. He's responsible for overseeing all the logistics from gathering staff to spearheading classes, to arranging lunches. He says Rock Camp has been an incredible experience.

During Rock Camp, some participants form bands, choose names, arrange songs, write and record music and learn how to promote their group. Others work on the production side of the industry in areas such as video, journalism and marketing, merchandising, and the design and setup of stage and sound equipment.

The camp is free and open to the first 50 students, grades 7-12, who apply. Some camp topics include: instrument and ensemble coaching, song selection and arranging, song writing, professionalism and stage presence, marketing and promoting a music production.

"It's pretty amazing! The staff only has the kids six hours a day, for one week. The work that they do for the performance is quite incredible. They are really talented and do really good things," Garcia said. "Of course the kids are wonderful and work really hard, also," he added.

This year, Garcia is excited to have his son Will on staff as well. Will is a Waitsburg High School graduate who is preparing to move to Shelton, Wash. where he will work as a para professional and re-start his heavy metal band. At Rock Camp, Will is teaching live sound, recording, and bass.

Will, and his sister Maya, were both founding members of The Troublemakers bluegrass band in Waitsburg, and both sang in the Salt & Light Youth Choir which was hosted by the Waitsburg Christian Church for many years.

"I was tickled to be able to get Will involved this year. Last year he helped unofficially with equipment, and he played for the kids during lunch," Garcia said.

Times File Photo

The Garcia Family's love for music is evidenced by the wall of instruments displayed on the garage of the family's home as you enter Waitsburg from the east.

Garcia said he was asked to direct Rock Camp through his involvement with the Walla Walla Symphony where he served on the board for nine years and where he is a substitute clarinet player.

Garcia said they have had campers from Walla Walla, Milton-Freewater, Pendleton, and even a student who was visiting from Pennsylvania. Waitsburg drummer and singer Loren Negron is attending Rock Camp for her second year.

This year's camp will culminate with a student-produced concert on Fri., July 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Washington Park (700 W. Cherry St., Walla Walla). The concert is free and open to the public.

2017 sponsors include: Walla Walla Valley Honda, Diamond Eye Manufacturing, Melody Muffler LLC, Yancey P Winans Trust, Walla Walla Sunrise Rotary, Walla Walla Public Schools Music Dept./Lincoln High School, Walla Walla Dept. of Parks and Recreation.


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