Would-be rockers in Haines Junction and Faro have a chance to perfect their performance chops in the next few weeks, with help from rock trio Speed Control.
The group, comprised of lead singer and guitarist Graeme Peters, drummer Spencer Cole and bassist Jody Peters, is offering “rock camps” in the two communities on back-to-back weekends, starting in Haines Junction on Saturday, May 28.
“The entire premise of it is teaching kids that there’s more to music than Top 40 that you hear on the radio, and that music can be a whole lot of fun. It doesn’t have to be as serious as sometimes it is,” band spokesman Jody Peters explains.
The Peters brothers had both given rock workshops previously as part of the Yukon Summer Music Camp. The idea of spinning that off into separate rock camps in rural Yukon originated with older brother Graeme, who works with several youth rock groups in Whitehorse.
“We do a Rags to Rock show, which is the history of rock ‘n’ roll, and we’ve been pitching that to schools and communities, and it’s been quite well-received, especially here in Whitehorse and in BC,” Peters says.
“We’re going in there not just to have a good weekend and give these kids one weekend they’ll remember. We want to provide them with skills that they can use down the road. Skill development is extremely important in this business.”
In addition to their performance and recording experience, all three members ofSpeed Control have university-level music training.
Cole and Graeme Peters both studied music at University of Toronto, while Jody Peters has a Music Education degree from University of Alberta. He currently teaches music at Jack Hulland Elementary School.
“You learn very quickly that you need to be open to a lot of teaching methods, whether you have kids who watch you play it once and they’ve got it down, or the kid that you sit down with and show him how it goes three or four times, and they eventually get it.”
Daytime workshops will be offered for beginning and intermediate players, as well as senior-level instruction for more experienced players and participants who are already part of existing bands.
“If kids want some individual attention, I’ll take a group of bass players into one room, and we’ll just work on bass stuff for half an hour or an hour,” Peters says.
“Graeme will take guitar players and singers, and Spencer will take the drummers.”
The rock camps main focus, however, is on ensemble playing.
“First off, how to be in a band, how to play with other people.”
The trio will also impart tips on how to create effective performances.
“When you’re on stage, you don’t kind of just stand there,” Peters says. “We’ll show them how to get more people drawn into a show, how to market their band, pretty much anything to do with being a band.”
In both communities, the daytime workshops will be followed by an opportunity for the participants to strut their stuff in public.
“What we work on during the day will be showcased for the community in the evening at an all-ages show. That gives people an opportunity to show what they’ve been working on, and it also shows just how much fun it can be playing in a rock band,” Peters says.
“If we’re working with three or four groups, they would each perform one song that they’ve worked on during the day, and then Speed Control would close out the night with a few numbers.”
Following the Haines Junction event on May 28, the trio will offer a rock camp in Faro the following weekend, coinciding with the Faro Girls Music Camp (seeGirls With Guitars in this issue).
A third Speed Control rock camp will take place later this summer in Burns Lake, BC. The group also has plans to expand the idea to more Yukon communities next year.