COLUMBIA — For the first time since it was started three years ago, the University of Rock will give an outdoor concert. The program is an arm of Palen Music through which teenagers (and sometimes younger children) can learn about being in a rock band.
“We wanted to give young adults a context where they could come together in groups that share a stylistic interest,” said Jack Falby, manager of the store. “Then we teamed them up with an instructor to teach them the nuts and bolts of making a band.”
Adam Ballard, the instructor, has been in and out of bands for years. He can play guitar, bass guitar, drums, percussion and some brass instruments.
“I’m also a vocalist,” Ballard said.
Falby said, “He’s more or less producing the bands. We looked for an instructor with real-world experience.”
For rehearsal, each band meets with the University of Rock instructor separately whenever schedules allow.
“We either practice, if it’s one of the newer bands, then we practice covers. For all the bands, we’ll practice song craft,” Ballard said. “The whole point of the program is to give you real-life experience, to be in a real-life band and to give the students the space to let them do what they want to do.”
The three bands of the University of Rock — Disruption, Zach and Joe, and KCoalition — will perform in one-hour sets on Saturday. Their repertoire includes songs they have written themselves and want to showcase.
Tonya Pauley, Palen’s director of education and a vocal instructor, will have some of her students perform while the bands set up and tear down.
“And I have a couple of guys who work the sales floor who want to play their guitar and vocals,” Falby said.
The concert will be held in Palen’s parking lot; Cici’s Pizza will provide food and drinks for the concert attendees.
“It’s a chance for people to see their peers play together,” Falby said. “And hopefully we’ll get some more traffic and more people involved with the University of Rock.”
Instructors also hope the concert will attract other young musicians to the University of Rock. Currently, the university is looking for bass guitarists and drummers to help complete other bands.
“We want this to become an annual or semi-annual thing,” Falby said.