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MailTribune.com
  • A rockin' good camp

    Teens sharpen their musical skills under experienced entertainers in Britt's rock 'n' roll band program; see what they've learned today in Medford
  • Page Hamilton nods and taps his foot in time as his teenage proteges Colonel Sanders and the Mountain Men rip through a rough version of a song they've spent nearly a week crafting.
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    • If you go
      What: Britt Festivals Band Camp live show
      When: 5 p.m. today, June 22
      Where: Rocky-Tonk Saloon & Grill, 333 E. Main St., Medford
      Admission: Free
      For information on future band camps: ww...
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      If you go
      What: Britt Festivals Band Camp live show

      When: 5 p.m. today, June 22

      Where: Rocky-Tonk Saloon & Grill, 333 E. Main St., Medford

      Admission: Free

      For information on future band camps: www.brittfest.org/rockcamp
  • Page Hamilton nods and taps his foot in time as his teenage proteges Colonel Sanders and the Mountain Men rip through a rough version of a song they've spent nearly a week crafting.
    After the last power chord echoes through the walls of Jacksonville Elementary School, Hamilton stands up and pumps his fist.
    "All right, that was good," Hamilton says. "We made it through the entire arrangement, but now we need to work on some transition things."
    Hamilton, a Medford native who fronts the popular and influential hard rock outfit Helmet, has the full attention of his students at this year's Britt Rock Camp.
    Colonel Sanders and the Mountain Men is made up of a group of Ashland high schoolers whose sights are set on a life of rock 'n' roll. Their name might elicit a grin, but they come off as serious musicians on Thursday, eager to pick Hamilton's brain.
    Before a session break, Hamilton barks a few more words of encouragement, but leaves the band with a challenge.
    "No more mess-ups, OK?" he says. "We've used up all our mess-ups for the week."
    Colonel Sanders and the Mountain Men members nod in agreement.
    During the break, bassist Josh Griffin expresses his gratitude that his band can work with someone who has achieved success in the tough music business.
    "It's really nice to learn from someone who knows what he's talking about," Griffin says.
    Lead guitarist Loren Trottmann hopes the band, whose real name is Autopilot — members chose the Colonel Sanders moniker strictly for the camp — will take the teachings of Hamilton and apply them to live gigs in the future.
    "He's taught me a lot about music theory and things like that," Trottmann says.
    They are among several bands who invaded the school this week for the Britt Festival's third Rock Camp.
    The program brings in veteran musicians from across the country to teach kids lessons in rock 'n' roll and life.
    "This is really about empowering them," says Chaska Potter, an instructor who sings with the Los Angeles band Raining Jane. "Some of them are so shy when they get here, but by the end of the week they really come out of their shells. Watching them take ownership of their songs is really impressive."
    Rock Camp focuses on regional musicians between 13 and 18 who devote the week to forming a band, working with their bandmates to craft one song and preparing it for a live performance.
    Rachel Jones, who is the Britt Festivals director of education and community engagement, says the week can prove transformative for some of the students.
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