HOUGHTON – Sweet harmonies and Cookie Monster growls. Piano ballads and techno rave-ups.
It all fit comfortably into Saturday’s concluding performance of PJ Olsson’s second annual Rock Camp, which drew a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Rozsa Center Saturday.
“I’m in infinity right now, in my mind and in space,” Olsson, the camp’s creative director, said after the show. “It’s absolutely wonderful. I could not be prouder of the kids.”
The youth musicians and dancers performed 40 numbers over a three-hour span, mixing originals and covers.
Wynter Bethel sang lead on “Stairway to Heaven” and gave a solo piano performance of her own song, “Pink Floyd.”
“Music is one of my passions,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons it’s so much fun to do this, collaborating with other musicians who like this as much as I do.”
Many of the players popped up in different configurations throughout the night, hop-scotching genres in the process.
“It was tough for a little while, until I had all the songs down,” said Aaron Posega, who played bass on several songs. “It wasn’t that bad.”
The Adventures of Derryl and Friends went from Panic! At the Disco to Lady Gaga in the span of three songs; Caitlin Polakowski followed up her hazy “Star Trance” with the uptempo dance number “Let Yourself Shine,” complete with background dancing.
PJ Olsson closed out the main set by accompanying his daughter Sofia on a cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Butterfly Fly Away.”
He returned shortly thereafter for the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony,” a performance that grew in waves until the entire camp was assembled onstage.
Afterward, audience members enthused about the performances.
“It’s amazing,” said Cindy Drake of Stanton Township, whose daughter danced in the show. “Fabulous. Very talented, hard-working kids. I was floored.”
So were the campers.
“It’s a little bittersweet that it’s all over,” Bethel said. “It’s been a fun two weeks.”
Tentative plans for next year include adding a tech camp, Olsson said. Alan Parsons has already expressed an interest in coming out, he said, as have other well-known musicians.
“Now that we know the relationship works so well with the Rozsa Center, we’re hoping we can really springboard off that,” he said.
Garrett Neese can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.