Lakehead University Alumni Magazine

Rock Camp

Darla Fleury and Sebastien Guilbeault have created a music day camp that provides youth with mentoring opportunities

Donna Jeanpierre
Published April 29, 2010

People ask Sebastien Guilbeault, founder of Superior Rock Camp, if he was inspired by School of Rock, a film about a group of musically inclined students and their rock-and-roll-style substitute teacher. "It wasn't the inspiration, but a reminder," says Guilbeault.

A reminder of something that troubled Guilbeault when he was pursuing his undergraduate studies in music at Lakehead University and giving private music lessons. He noticed that older teens would often lose interest after a while, especially during summers. "They needed to meet other musicians."

In 2008 Guilbeault (HBMusic'06, BEd'07) and his wife and fellow Lakehead music graduate Darla Fleury (HBMusic/BEd'05) created Superior Rock Camp, a week-long summer music day camp in Thunder Bay designed to provide youth, ages 7-18, with mentoring opportunities with professional and semi-professional musicians.

"We tried to think, if we were 15, how or what would we want to see," says Fleury.

Colin Smyk, an actual 15-year-old who participated in Rock Camp in 2008 and 2009, says he was not disappointed. "It's a fun experience," says Smyk. "The people are fun and everyone's there for the same reason."

Participants are grouped according to musical taste and general music knowledge. Each group is assigned a "band leader," a musician-mentor. The band leaders and workshop presenters, many of whom are Lakehead graduates, represent the gamut of various musical styles, from classical pianist Johnathon Boo to Jamie Smith of the local band, The Auditor General, and multi-instrumentalist Jean-Paul De Roover.

Rock Camp in Action
For one week, these "bands" spend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in rehearsal, instrument classes, and workshops on stage preparation, rock history, songwriting, rhythm, music theory, promotional art, ear training, and recording. A police officer and former band member even led a workshop on drug awareness and the rock-and-roll lifestyle.

"We want to promote a positive rock-and-roll experience," says Guilbeault.

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