Rock Out Summer Camp jamming in Darien
DARIEN — When going by the First Congregation Church in Darien this summer, residents might hear the sweet sounds of music. That’s because this summer, the church is home to former Darien resident Shane O’Reilly’s Rock Out Summer Camp.
O’Reilly grew up in Darien where he went to the public schools and found his love of music.
“Music has been a huge part of my life,” said the Stamford resident. “I love it.”
Ten years ago, O’Reilly started a program teaching guitar lessons to adults and children through parks and recreation in New Canaan, Norwalk and Darien. The classes grew and pretty soon, people wanted more than just lessons after school.
“I have all these musicians and they started asking me about summer,” O’Reilly said. “The whole idea was to get musicians together to learn how to work together.”
So last summer, O’Reilly began a music camp dedicated to teaching musicians and aspiring musicians aged eight to 15 about music history, music theory, songwriting and of course, how to play an instrument. However, O’Reilly couldn’t teach the camp alone.
“I’m a good musician, but not a professional,” he said. “The staff here is amazing. The key to making it work is the staff.”
This year, O’Reilly has Holmes School music teacher, Angela Lindroth, on staff, as well as Ben Kibbey, a music teacher at Saxe Middle School in New Canaan who also plays with the band on the Colbert show.
Kibbey plays 10 to 12 instruments and Lindroth helps with songwriting. Both also help teach the students to play instruments like drums, guitar and keyboard. Some of the students have their own instruments and have played before while others haven’t played or borrow instruments provided by O’Reilly. They also learn how to care for the equipment.
“We want them to learn songs,” O’Reilly said. “But we want them to know as much as they can about the instrument.”
The campers also learn about classic rock and music through trivia contests like “Name That Tune.” The contests are meant to make the learning fun and give students a departure from the classroom structure.
“We ask them stuff we’ve been talking about that we want to sink in,” O’Reilly said. “We don’t want them to feel like we’re in a classroom again.”
The students often learn classic tunes and are encouraged to sing along with them. During the first week, camper Luke Dolcetti, 9, learned “Let It Be” on keyboard with Lindroth.
“I like getting to work with kids in smaller groups,” Lindroth said. “It’s a different repertoire of songs, so I get to work outside my toolbox.”
The camp is based around what the students want to learn and most of the day, they’re on their instruments. Unlike many camps, which focus on performing, O’Reilly’s camp focuses on just teaching students how to, well, rock out.
“We’d rather use the energy to teach them practical stuff they can use long term,” he said. “I want to focus on providing good learning.”
Rock Out Summer Camp
For more information on Rock Out Summer Camp, visit http://www.shaneguitartennis.com/rock-out-summer-camp-darien.html
Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in week-long sessions. Each week is $410.