On Saturday April 23, people of all ages gathered in Salinas at Samz School of Rock to hear future rock stars shred and wail. Founded by Sam Martinez, the non-profit corporation's motto "building unity and awareness through music" appeared strong within each performance.
Black Pearl, a band made up of about 6 kids, covered songs from Paramore's "Crush" to classics such as "Hotel California" and"Sweet Child of Mine". Behind the keyboard in a pair of sunglasses stood 11 year old Allison Parks, a student at Samz School of Rock. She first learned to play 2 years ago at summer church camp with the help of her uncle and has been a part of School of Rock for a year and a half. In addition to wailing on the keyboards, Parks has been singing for a couple of years and would like to learn how to play the drums. "I like it a lot. It's really fun," she said. Having attended Summer Rock Camp, Parks said she enjoyed it because "you go in groups, form bands and then perform at the end."
Shortly after, a duo by the name of Explosion Face hit the stage. While the guitarist shredded hard on his guitar, 15 year old drummer, Devon Hubert, thrashed across the drums with a vengeance. Although he's played drums for 3 years, he said he has played both guitar and piano for 7. Hubert has been a part of Samz School of Rock for 2 years along with the summer programs where he was both a student and a volunteer guitar instructor. When asked which instrument he liked best, he chose guitar because "[you] can just change the sound more" whereas "the drums [are] limited."
According to Celia Martinez, a member of the School of Rock team, the summer programs are designed for children ages 9 to 16. However, there are the few exceptions such as now 8 year old drummer, Junior Alvarado.
At the age of 6, Alvarado described his first experience with drumming as having banged on the couch with a pair of sticks until his uncle suggested he try on a drum set. His musical heroes include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, and Albert King "because they play blues music and that's my favorite type." The young drummer's love for blues was beyond evident as he rocked a black fedora while playing beside his father in renditions of "Johnny B. Goode" and "Pride & Joy". Like Parks and Hubert, Alvarado has also attended Summer Rock Camp where he said he learned how to play drums with a band for the first time. This year's Summer Rock Camp is split into 3 sessions and will kick off on June 20 at the Fox Theater in Salinas. "We can definitely use the volunteers," said Martinez. In addition to the summer programs, individual lessons, music workshops and a recording studio are available for all ages.
For more information, visit Samz School of Rock