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Austin Peay State University’s Rock Band Camp looking to expand on July 19th-23rd

Austin Peay State University Community School for the ArtsClarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) Community School of the Arts’ (CSA) first-ever rock band camp in late June helped to bring together Clarksville’s newest band, RACA.

The band’s name, RACA, is an acronym that its members coined on the last day of the weeklong camp. The letters represent each band member’s first name.

The newly formed band RACA performs at the end of the Austin Peay State University Community School of the Art’s first-ever rock band camp. (APSU)
The newly formed band RACA performs at the end of the Austin Peay State University Community School of the Art’s first-ever rock band camp. (APSU)

R is for Rylan Ross, 11, the band’s bassist from Richview Middle School. A is for Rylan’s older brother, Aiden, 17, a Clarksville High School senior. C is for Cain Adcock, 14, Clarksville High freshman who along with Aiden led vocals and guitar. And the last A is for Andrew Bartel, 14, a Northwest High School sophomore who played drums, including an impressive solo at the end-of-camp rock performance.

The band met on June 28th and by the end of the camp, four days later performed a concert for family and friends at Austin Peay State University’s Music/Mass Communication building, performing two original songs and a couple of highly stylized covers.

“Camp was really fun making songs, but it was kind of a challenge since we only have four days that we could make stuff,” Cain said. “It was fun yet challenging.”

The camp was the first of two rock band camps that CSA has planned. The second one will be on July 19th-23rd. Registration is still open for that camp, which will be 1:00pm-4:00pm every day at Austin Peay and culminate with performances for friends and family at the end of the last day.

‘Learning to play with other people’s experience’

A RACA family member records RACA’s first performance. (APSU)
A RACA family member records RACA’s first performance. (APSU)

Austin Peay State University music graduate student Tyler Spuzzillo leads the camps and incorporates more than “jam sessions” into the week by teaching music theory workshops, rehearsal techniques, and repertoire preparation. The biggest takeaway for the campers, though, is learning to play with other people.

“When you play electric guitar or bass or drums, there’s not a whole lot of opportunity to play with other people,” Spuzzillo said. “I think that’s number one, just playing with other musicians and then playing with different levels of musicians, not only learning to play with others but learning to play with other people’s experience.”



RACA’s band members were ready to go from the beginning. They wrote one of the original songs, “Pessimist,” in four days. The other original song, “Persistent,” was one Aiden had been working on. The band performed both songs during a performance for their families at the end of the camp.

“‘Pessimist’ came this week, it was all from this week,” Cain said. “Even then, we went through a bunch of revisions, and it got to this point. And Aiden’s song, ‘Persistent,’ required me to have to learn the riffs and how to push my voice a lot more than what I usually do.”

Aiden, who wants to pursue music education after high school, agreed: “Having the most experience, I still got something out of it because I got to do stuff with my voice I’d never done before. This is stuff that I didn’t know I could reach with my voice.”

Rylan had never played bass guitar before the camp, but because Andrew played drums, Rylan agreed to learn bass to round out the band.

“That was challenging, and I had to learn to play five songs in four days,” he said. “I was having trouble for the first four days, and then last night, I got home, and Aiden helped me with practicing and I got it.”

Added Aiden: “He just drilled and drilled, and he got it. I think he learned that as long as he really puts the effort into it, he can achieve anything he wants.”

Cain hopes that the work continues for RACA.

“I really do hope that this band does stay together, because the music that we put out together was amazing,” he said. “And, honestly, we basically rocked everyone in here. It’s an achievement on its own, and I feel like we could do more.”

Aiden, who has played guitar since he was 12, agreed: “It was amazing. It was crazy. I wouldn’t change it for anything. This week was really good. I wish I had something like this when I was starting out. The ability to play with an ensemble is absolutely amazing.”

Second APSU Rock Band Camp starting July 19th

At the second rock band camp, students will be placed in their own rock band (from three to six members) based on their music taste/interest. Then they’ll learn to operate, organize and create a functioning rock band in masterclasses, music workshops, and rehearsals.

The camp costs $150.00 to attend. All proficient instrumentalists or vocalists ages 10-17 are welcome to attend.

To register or find more information, visit this page. To learn more about the Community School of the Arts, visit www.apsu.edu/csa.


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