Exposing kids to new sounds

Amy Poppinga

Amy Poppinga

On Mondays at 7 p.m., the Boys and Girls Club in Brookings will no longer feature only the screams and laughter of children. Due to a new program, the sounds of bands will also fill the club’s hallways.

This new program, which can be described as a jam session open to all local musicians and garage bands, will give these musicians a place where they “can get together, play with other musicians and exchange information,” Andrew Hockett, the program’s organizer, said.

At these sessions, musicians will play and work on some of their own music, discuss techniques, learn to play with other artists, get some stage experience and hopefully conquer any stage fright they have.

Hockett also hopes that the Boys and Girls Club can become a “home” to some of these bands and musicians. “Basketball players have basketball courts ? this is now for the musicians,” he said.

Nov. 19 was the opening night for what Hockett plans to be a weekly occurrence. At around 7 p.m., two guitarists and one drummer took the stage in the club’s gymnasium.

The atmosphere was relaxed as Hockett wants the musicians “to feel as comfortable as possible.” In the future, he wants to have some people on the side to help the musicians get their instruments and equipment ready, but in general, the format will be “laid back.”

Although it was not a formal concert, several of the younger kids abandoned their balls and scooters to attentively listen to the performers. Many of them crept farther and farther onstage, and one kid bobbed his head to the beat.

Charell Vickery, an eight-year-old member of the club, enjoyed listening to the music. “I like it so far,” she said.

Another goal of the program is to expose some of the younger kids to different types of music, or music at all, as Hockett said that many schools are taking music out of their curriculum. “I hope to expose them to lots of styles of music? and get them interested,” he said.

Mike Roe, a freshman music merchandising major and the drummer for the evening, shares that goal because older musicians inspired him when he was younger. “I saw some people playing which made me want to play more,” he said.

If the younger kids do become interested in playing onstage with the bands, Hockett said he would allow it. “I would definitely support the younger kids coming up,” he said.

To further encourage the younger kids to participate in the arts, the Boys and Girls Club is also planning concerts, a battle of the bands competition and a Boys and Girls Club Idol, which is a program that any club member with a talent, not just singing, can do.

As for the weekly jam sessions, Roe encourages all other local musicians to come. “The more the merrier,” he said. “We could have a big jam session; it’d be fun.”

Interested people can contact the Boys and Girls Club for more information.