Kids rock out in Fleetwood Park Aug. 10

Submitted photo The Richmond Street Rockers, as they call themselves; they include (from left to right, top to bottom) Coby Conrad, Jonathan Mertz, Josh Sceurman, Gavin Robinson, Michael Hill and Caroline Brown.

Even when you’re a young kid, it’s never too early to show a talent for rocking out.

A group of children, ages 8-12, will be playing a free concert on Aug. 10, at 6 p.m. in the Fleetwood Park bandshell, as part of the Richmond Street Music Lessons program in Fleetwood. The concert was originally set for Sunday, Aug. 5, but was rescheduled due to rain.

Their rough set list includes rock (Steve Miller’s “The Joker,” Green Day’s “Brain Stew”), an instrumental (“Green Onions” by Booker T. and the M.G.’s), folk and blues (“Blackberry Blossom”), and a contemporary hit, “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye.

The concert is set up by RSML’s Josh Sceurman, who has been teaching guitar, bass and other instruments for more than10 years. For the past seven, as part of his program, Sceurman has tried to do a bunch of concerts every year—ideally, “four a year, one for each season.” These concerts are played at the bandshell, naturally, “when the weather’s nice”, and also in places like the Fleetwood Community Center.


The kids who are playing are the ones who signed up for Sceurman’s summer camp program, which runs for four weeks and about six rehearsals.

Which doesn’t leave a lot of time, so the group chooses songs that can be learned quickly.

“I’m looking for songs that are kind of simple,” Sceurman said, “that don’t have many parts. And frankly, to me, less is more.” Like the Green Day song “Brain Stew,” which is built around one riff, and which is “such a great song because it is so simple—it just kicks you in the chest.”

Sceurman was confident, though, that his students could play “more complicated stuff” had they the time. And it’s clear, from their playing at a recent rehearsal, that the students have a real enjoyment for what they do.

“I don’t play any sports,” said 12-year-old Coby Conrad, “but my dad taught me at an early age, since he’s a musician. And I’ve had three other guitar teachers, and Josh is the best one I’ve had so far. It’s doing the stuff we all like to do.”

And even for kids who might be nervous in front of an entire audience of people, it can be a great help to have something like music to get lost in.

In that regard, they’ll all have a chance to ‘stand out’ at some point—to do “some kind of solo,” Sceurman said; “an instrumental break, a guitar solo, something where they get to step on the effect pedal and rock out!”

It’s an opportunity to show off their talents—both their own, and with the rest of a band to support them.

“A concert gives these kids something to work for,” said Sceurman; “it gets them playing with other musicians, instead of just rehearsing in a bedroom by themselves. I think it’s a great thing.”

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