Matt Vooris had just finished teaching drumming lessons in an area school when an inquisitive parent asked the question that became his light bulb: “Why isn’t there a boys rock camp in the area?”
Vooris had long wanted to work with Girls Rock N.C., the successful local chapter of Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls. But, as the organization’s mission statement unequivocally says, the camp is “an all girl and women learning environment.” So he did what he could from a distance, annually donating one year of drum lessons to Girls Rock’s silent auction. But, question asked, he realized the market for young musicians looking to learn about music and form a band cut across genders.
“It’s a reflection of where we are as a society, our desire to form a band,” says Vooris, who came to the Triangle six years ago with the tuba-sporting SNMNMNM. He now drums with Raleigh’s A Rooster for the Masses and maintains between 30 and 50 drum students. “I don’t know why, but I just know everyone wants to be in a band right now.”
So Vooris started his own music camp and opened it to both sexes. The success of his first camp seems to bear out his feelings about people’s unabated interest in forming a band, too: Seven campers, who’ve since split into two bands, attended this week’s inaugural Rock Camp at Woods Charter School in Chapel Hill. Those bands—the quartet King Louis and the Chimpanzees and the younger trio Breaking Expo Markers—spent part of the week learning about the basics of being in a band (from writing a setlist to utilizing music theory) from Vooris while learning about jamming with three area standbys: Robert Sledge of Ben Folds Five and Toxic Popsicle, Greg Humphreys of Hobex and Dillon Fence, and James Wallace of The Old Ceremony and Max Indian.
“I run the lectures and discussions, but they run the jam sessions and rehearsals,” says Vooris, laughing. “Those guys get the super-coolness factor.”
Both bands make their rock club debuts tonight at Mansion 462 with short sets, followed by an encore that Vooris can only describe as an “amazing finale.” Let’s hope the boys just don’t hurt too many magic markers.
Tuition for the weeklong camp was $325 per student this year, and Vooris anticipates similar fees next year. For information about registering for or volunteering for Vooris’ camp next year, call (919) 862-4017 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For details about lessons with Vooris, visit mattvoorisdrumlessons.com.