One of the first things we teach our incoming summer rock campers is how to be a good audience member. Before band names are chosen, melodies written, or chords strummed, we foster the importance of support through listening and reacting. It is just as important as memorizing the song or mastering stage presence. For the campers, it is instant feedback – even if there's a sour note or a forgotten verse, their fellow campers are dancing, clapping, and singing along to help them learn and feel confident about their creative process.
This process, and its vitality to the arts, is not limited to first time rockers. Instead, it is fundamental to the entire creative ecosystem. Feeding this symbiosis between audience member and performer is easy – it just requires showing up. Being present is one of the most accessible ways to support the arts. In my case, a lack of drawing fundamentals doesn't limit my ability to participate by, say, bringing a friend to a gallery opening. Turnout can give an artist the confidence to experiment with new ideas or keep forging existing ones when the process gets tough. It can motivate someone to dive headfirst into learning a new skill after testing the water.
For our new rock campers, this fundamental encouragement is essential to their growth as young artists who are just sussing out the skills most suited for their exploration. While they have their fellow campers and family, they can always use more support. There is no ceiling, no point of diminishing returns. Another audience member to appreciate the work they have done can launch an amazing performance into the stratosphere – it just requires showing up.
The ZACC will be hosting several public rock camp performances this summer at our very own venue, The Show Room, the Wilma (courtesy of our friends at Logjam Presents), Cranky Sam's (thank you to our favorite neighborhood brewery!), and even the River City Roots Festival! All performances are free and open to the public, and we'd love for you to come. Keep up to date on performance times and locations through the ZACC's Facebook page, and consider donating a few minutes of your time to be a good audience member this summer.
See you at the show!