Rock Camp – an ending ..

Rock Camp logoJanuary 23, 2015

Greetings Everyone – After 12 years, it is time for me to move on from Vermont Rock Music Camp. There are new opportunities in music and music education that I wish to pursue and I no longer have the time or energy needed to operate the camp. Several attempts at continuing the camp under new ownership proved unsuccessful.

From 2003 – 2014, the camp saw 1132 students between the ages of 11-17 form 254 bands during the 27 sessions offered in Burlington VT, Morrisville VT and Lebanon NH. Seventy-six guest artists performed for the kids during this time and included such notables as NEULORE, And Then There Were None, Jon Fishman, Gang of Thieves, Leroy Justice, Jon Finn, Township, Dirty Names, Dave Gutter, Lions Lions, Loverless, The Static Age, Rough Francis, Vorcza, Seth Yacovone, Five Seconds Expired, Tammy Fletcher, Wards, and Swale. Sixty-one staff instructors and interns weathered the heat, volume and general mayhem to impart their wisdom on the budding rockers.

Many people and organizations made this camp possible over the years .. Thank you Ted Pappadopoulos, Gabe Jarrett, Stacy Starkweather, Jeff Sackman, Megan Sackman, Bobby Hackney, Kevin Boyea, Richard Bailey, Daryl Rabidoux, Mikey Wierzbicki, Jen Cotton, Tyler Daniel Bean, 242 Main, Advance Music, Channel Two Sound, Tiffany Pfeiffer, Caleb Bronz, Gary Williams, Aram Bedrosian, Maggie Leugers, City of Burlington Parks & Rec, D’Addario strings, Planet Waves, Sam Averbuck, Marie Claire, Julian Chobot, Speeder & Earl’s Coffee, Ira Friedman, Franky Andreas, Barbara Blaisdell, Synchronicity Web Designs, Andrew Moroz, San Gordon, Topher Horner, Russ Lawton, Clint Bierman, Harry Schenawolf, and anyone I may have missed. Special thanks go out to the parents and students who supported us all these years ..

Greg Matses
Vermont Rock Music Camp LLC

About Us

Rock Camp provided a forum for students between the ages of 11 – 17 to work closely with area professionals on the fundamentals of rock music performance and recording. For five days, students and faculty worked together rehearsing, writing and arranging a short set of material for each band to perform in concert on the final day of each session. Bands were formed on the first day of camp in the following possible styles: Classic Rock/Blues, Punk/Hardcore, Metal, Reggae/Jamband, Alternative/Contemporary Rock, Electronic, Singer/Songwriter and Funk/Hip-Hop. Student placement was dependent on personal preference, level and necessity. The only requirements were that the student have 1) some facility on an instrument or voice and 2) the ability and willingness to work constructively with others.

Rock Camp’s mission was to offer a structured music program for students interested in contemporary styles that fall outside the scope of traditional jazz and classical camps. The camp offered daily music theory classes and instrument clinics as well as workshops on topics ranging from digital audio recording to live sound reinforcement. In addition, each band recorded one original song for the annual Rock Camp CD. There were concerts by guest artists throughout each week. Past artists included Jon Fishman (Phish), The Static Age, And Then There Were None, 5 Seconds Expired, IsWhat?!, Loverless, Vorcza, Tammy Fletcher, My Revenge and Seth Yacovone. Rock Camp operated on a community-based model, bringing together local musicians, bands, educators, arts organizations and businesses to provide a creative and educational outlet for students.

The camp’s beginnings date back to 2001, where it operated as part of the Vermont School of Popular & Classical Arts founded by Harry Schenawolf in Jericho VT. By 2002, the camp was under the direction of Greg Matses and in 2003 he founded Vermont Rock Music Camp. The camp ran sessions in Morrisville VT, Burlington VT and Lebanon NH between 2003 and 2014.

Rock Camp Greatest Hits

As part of the Rock Camp experience, each band was challenged to write and record one original tune. Only 1/2 hour of studio time was allotted per band to record basic tracks and overdubs!  Here’s the best of the best from the Rock Camp CD’s recorded between 2005 and 2014.  * Titles denote band names ..

© 2005-2014 Vermont Rock Music Camp LLC

Rock Camp 2003-2014

photos by Chantal O'Connor, Nicole Bachand & Greg Matses


“I’m writing to express my high level of satisfaction and enthusiastic support for the continuation of the Rock Camp which my son Alexander attended in Jericho last summer. The camp was well organized had an excellent professional music staff, and was executed in a friendly, competent manner. Alexander and the other four members of his band thoroughly enjoyed the experience and benefited from it immeasurably.”
Thomas H. Naylor, Professor Emeritus, Charlotte VT (8/01)

“The best part of my summer!”
Sam Druckerman, Essex VT (8/08)

“Please accept my deepest appreciation to you and the other instructors at Rock Music Camp for your efforts in making last week’s Morrisville session a huge success. My son, Tyler, had a wonderful time and looks forward to enrolling next year. As a parent, I thoroughly enjoyed the Friday evening session. The enthusiasm among the students was evident. They were very proud of their performances and, indeed, had every reason to be. Your commitment to bringing music to Vermont children is commendable. The knowledge and experience my son gained from this camp was worth every penny….and then some. I only wish the camp was longer!”
Carol Presley, Stowe VT (7/06)

“I wanted you to know that Kelsie LOVED this camp. She missed it for the next week after it was over and spent an entire day posting their performance on YouTube. Please keep us on the email list because she wants to take this camp again for sure next summer. Thanks to all the teachers for all of their positive and hard work with the kids. Kelsie had a particular blast with Barbara and Stacy! Thanks again.”
Julie Hogue, Hanover NH (8/07)

“David had a great experience. He really enjoyed every part of it. We will definitely be back next year. Thanks Again,”
Carolyn and Steve Servais, Hanson MA (8/08)

“We would like to express a note of appreciation and congratulations for the efforts expended on and the great success achieved in your first, we hope, annual Rock Camp. We could feel the enthusiasm Adam was feeling during the week and to see this culminate in that really terrific outdoor concert was fantastic.”
Mr. Ross Ferguson, Underhill VT (8/01)

“The best week ever!! Didn’t want it to end!”
Tucker Dussault, St. Albans VT (7/12)

“Rock Camp is always a thrill. The rush of meeting all these great young aspiring musicians in a relaxed and creative environment inspires others to become better at what they do. Each day bands grow and learn, developing new skills from fellow musicians and amazing instructors.”
Alex Bosenberg, Guilford CT (7/09)

“My daughter went from being VERY apprehensive on Monday to VERY excited by Friday. The only critisim I have is that the camp is ONLY 1 week long. Hopefully this camp will be longer or more than one in the summer in Morrisville.”
Michele Longe, Huntington VT (7/06)

“I enjoyed the experience of being in a band! I found out how much I love to play in front of an audience!”
Joey Milewski, South Hadley MA (8/07)

“Overall it was an excellent experience. My son would have enjoyed attending a longer session- say two weeks consecutively instead of just one week.”
Robert Simonds, Sugarloaf Key FL (8/08)

“Silas stated the end concert was his favorite part of the camp. He wished that the camp was more than one week. He suggested that maybe two weeks (or six). The first day he completed he immediately stated, “I want to go again next year”. This camp allowed him to feel connected to a larger community of people he finds really interesting. What a great opportunity to meet new people while expressing his creative energy. Thank you to all of you for sharing your talent and skill with my son. He came home rejuvenated and refreshed.”
Sarah and Brad Biggie, Fairfax VT (8/12)

“Jack grew as both a musician and a person as a result of Rock Camp. I can’t say enough positive things about the instructors and their commitment to the kids who attended camp. Each day brought a new experience, new knowledge and greater confidence. And the end of session concert was fantastic. Keep up the great work you are doing Vermont Rock Camp! See you next year.”
Molly Carnahan, Williston VT (8/08)

“It was an amazing experience for my daughter, in her words “The BEST Camp Experience Ever!!!! It didn’t end at the end of the day, she was so focused each night with her own self-imposed, internally motivated “homework”. I’ve not seen her so dedicated and driven. Although camp has finished she continues to work on material she has learned and feels her band members are now life long friends. I’m very impressed with how organized, supervised and professionally run the entire experience has been. It was great to see so many dedicated musicians inspiring the next generation! Thanks for a great experience!”
Kelly Perline, Underhill VT (7/09)

“I loved rock camp! I’ve gone to a lot of summer camps, but this was by far the best that I have ever attended. I really feel like I have gotten better on bass and made lasting friends with my bandmates. SUPER BUDGIE ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Julie Bauer, Hyde Park VT (7/06)

“July 06 had the best group of bands top to bottom we have seen. A testament to the camp and it’s instructors. Thanks again and we’ll see you in Aug.”
Bob Arthur, Cambridge VT (8/06)

“After my daughter’s first day of camp, she came home and went right back to her electronic piano for more practicing. The next day, she was practicing her keyboard BEFORE we left for camp. The positive feedback and direction that she received at this camp were invaluable. It was also an amazing thing to see all these groups of kids performing after only one week of rehearsal time. I can’t thank the staff enough for igniting a musical spark.”
Rejeanne Jalbert, Westford VT (8/01)

“Dylan called this the ‘Best week ever’. When I picked him up he was tired, psyched with how the day went, and connected with his band mates via Facebook in the evenings to plan for the next day, trade lyrics, ideas, etc.  As a parent, this kind of camp is well worth the cost, as it teaches young adults to give and take criticism, collaborate, communicate, compromise and work toward a deadline… Great life experience for young musicians.”
Mark Sylvester, Richmond VT (7/09)

“Andrea had an amazing time! She really learned a lot this year, improved on her bass tremendously, and I was thrilled she decided to sing! I think everyone there does an amazing job at encouraging the kids to be engaged and do their best. It was a GREAT final concert!”
Janice Santiago, St. Albans VT (8/08)

“My favorite part was writing the songs. I thought that it was a great experience and that it was good enough to do again.”
A. J. Ellis, Reading VT (8/07)

“Forming a band in five days, writing and recording a full length song and playing a concert at the end of it all had to be the most kick ass experience of the whole summer. Playing “Slow Ride” with Tammy Fletcher as the backup vocalist was one of the most exhilarating experiences for me. The instructors rocked and it was an overall great experience… thanks guys.”
Kevin Kehoe, Jeffersonville VT (7/06)

“Justin had a wonderful experience with Rock Camp. This was his second year. He especially liked the guests concerts & learning new and different aspects of music. It was a great experience for him to play in a band and to perform as well.”
Brian & Val Pineo, Jeffersonville VT (8/07)

“I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the camp. It was a great experience for Cameron. As we left the auditorium for the last time Cameron announced “I’m definitely going to go next year!” This one week camp was clearly money well spent and I can only hope it will continue to be a part of our summer schedule for years to come.”
Chris Hancock, Waterbury Center VT (7/04)

“My son, Harrison, is not easily impressed. And he rarely gives out compliments; his choice of adjectives is usually subdued, ie he’s a tough customer. But when I asked him how Rock Camp was, he said it was “AWESOME.” Now from most kids, that’s a comment easily extened. Not with Harrison. So when he says it’s awesome, it’s gotta be awesome. thank you thank you.”
Carol Ann Johnson, Marlboro VT (8/06)

“I know the whole experience was a real adventure for Tristan. Working w/other musicians, brushing up against some real local musicians, playing with an excellent group of musicians himself…it was an incredibly inspiring, positive experience. My family and I could not believe the excitement and the high quality of the final concert. The whole experience was a HUGE success for Tristan, and we plan to send him next year, along with his best friend … You are doing a great, great job. It is educational, but fun, and cool…incredible. Loved hearing some of the instructors, staff, etc. talk at the concert… Wonderful week – Congratulations to all who make this camp so excellent.”
Katherine Arthaud, Charlotte VT (8/07)

“What a great way to bring young musicians together. A huge thank you to you Greg for what you do for the kids. Logan said “While listening to a song, I don’t always listen to the words. I listen to the instruments for the beat now.” He had a blast drumming all week. Thanks again.”
Denise Carter, Morrisville VT (7/06)

“Our only concern is that future demand will be so great we will not be able to get him in. Please contact us as soon as you know when registration for ANY of your outstanding camps will open.”
Matt Granai, Colchester VT (8/06)

“Camp was terrific. Please come back to Morrisville next year!”
Patrick Titterton, Morrisville VT (7/06)

“THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! It was the greatest opportunity for Jason to be able to “focus” on an instrument. You all certainly did something right(!) because he can now play the bass by note, not just play guitar chords. We have shown everyone the video and everyone says they can’t believe you all got kids with absolutely (or mostly) no experience to not only play, read and write but to record and play 2 whole songs in one week! Phenomenal!! Jason will keep following through and will hopefully be able to join in again next year … Thank you all so much. We really appreciated the call from Greg and the in depth call from Stacy. It really means a lot that you all care so much about each kid individually and what they are “all about”… thanks again.”
Jeff Dougherty and Allison Bigelow, Stowe VT (7/06)

“I just loved it, can’t wait to come back next year – don’t change a thing ..”
Zak Munro, Warren VT (8/07)