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Cultivating community through accessible arts experiences for all. 


Rock Camps Rule

I’ve been teaching Rock Camps at the ZACC for five years, and have dozens of wonderful memories. Rock Camp is a really special experience for campers and counselors alike. Selecting a ‘Greatest Hits’ of Rock Camp moments is pretty hard, but here are my top three memories from this time:

One of my first years teaching, a group in Girls Rock Camp insisted on writing a song about a toenail ship. I was fine with this, though slightly grossed out. Two days into practicing the lead singer finally told the band about her apprehensions toward the toenail ship and that she wouldn’t sing unless it was changed to something less gross. They promptly changed the lyrics and renamed the song “Pickle Ship”. Still a great subject in its own right.

Last year a band wanted to write a silly song about a serious topic. They chose to discuss global climate change through the lens of goats, screaming “Don’t let goats eat your trash! Then they’ll die a horrible death!”. The song was genius on its own, but then there was the addition of a repetitive dance number that went along with the song created by other campers. The final performance was like a flash mob of synchronized dancing to the goat song. All of the campers supported each other to a degree that was unmatched in other Rock Camps.

This summer we taught a band composed of only eight year olds how to play music together. It was a daunting task. Their band name was the Chocolate Monkey Sharks. They disagreed in their creative visions for the band. Some of them wanted to write about rainbows. The others wanted to write about evil aliens. It was tough, but we finally agreed on a theme: a pink alien band. They struggled to play together at first but pulled through in the end. Their performance ended up being one of my all time favorites. 

I love rock camp, and I’m so grateful for these memories (and the hundreds of others that didn’t make this list). Every week I am awestruck by the music kids create, and every week something happens where I laugh till I cry.

See you at camp,

Erin Szalda-Petree, ZACC Summer Camp Instructor

Local Artist Parker Beckley
  • Kia Liszak, ZACC Executive Director
    Kia Liszak, ZACC Executive Director

    We believe in the power of the arts to create the human connections, innovations, and healing to make significant positive change in our world and our community, and the ZACC’s programs serving youth, veterans, families, and seniors are on the forefront of that change.

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