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Albany's 'School of Rock'

joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com
Twelve-year-old Colton Wisham finds the right notes of an Allman Brothers Band tune on his Epiphone electric guitar during a music lesson at the LeVee.

joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com Twelve-year-old Colton Wisham finds the right notes of an Allman Brothers Band tune on his Epiphone electric guitar during a music lesson at the LeVee.

ALBANY -- Blake Cook cues up his computer and the songs that play are a little rough but unmistakeable: Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army."

The thing is, the songs are being played by 9-, 10- and 11-year-old kids, the product of the LeVee's annual RockCamp.

"Those guys nailed it," Cook says proudly as the songs play out. "And those are 10- and 11-year-olds. It's amazing what we get each year."

The LeVee Creative Group, Cook's musical wonderland at 2516 Dawson Road that has everything from private lessons, a performance stage, a recording studio, a rehearsal stage and even a coffee shop, holds its RockCamp each summer for budding musicians ages 8 to 15. It's become one of the area's most popular school vacation activities.

"We limit the camp to 25 students, which we split up into six different bands," Cook, who opened the LeVee in January of 2008, said. "Then they do everything from design a band logo to create a CD cover to write and perform an original song.

"Each band works up one cover song and one original song to perform on the last day of the camp. A winner is selected, and that band gets band T-shirts, stickers and gets to record its songs in our studio. The creativity level is always incredible."

RockCamp students have already started signing up for the two summer sessions: June 14-18 and July 19-23. The weeklong camp runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. each day. Cost for each camper is $200, with a discount for students who sign up for both weeks.

"We group the bands according to their skill level," Cook said. "We have everything from complete beginners to students at various levels of skill. This is our third year of doing this, and the camp always fills up. It's a lot of fun for everyone involved."

For additional information on RockCamp, contact the LeVee at (229) 255-4331 or online at www.theleveestudios.com.