Getting the band back together

HOUGHTON – Young local musicians took up guitars, keyboards or other instruments at auditions for the annual PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp Saturday and Sunday.

During the two weeks of PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp, the musicians are instructed by Olsson on performance and form in various configurations to learn a mix of original songs and covers.

To audition, musicians could play a verse and chorus of a song, then talk with co-founders PJ Olsson and Todd Brassard afterward.

Unlike previous Rock Camps, this year’s automatic byes were given to returning campers. By about 1 p.m., Saturday, six new people had auditioned.

“We decided to concentrate on new kids, because we know what our returning offenders can do,” Olsson said.

Auditions had gone well so far, Brassard said.

“I think we’re always just so impressed with the talent that they have,” he said. “Every kid that’s come in so far has played an original song.”

With young musicians coming up through the ranks, Olsson said the area is developing a young core of musicians. “This makes me happy, because our town is getting bands, and we need more of that,” he said.

One of the auditioners is Houghton High School graduate Cheyenne Kaufman.

“A lot of my friends did it, and I watched the shows before, and it’s always been interesting to me, and I decided to give it a try,” she said. “And it’s a different aspect of music than I’m used to.”

Kaufman, who played keyboard for the audition, also plays several concert band instruments, such as baritone sax and clarinet.

She doesn’t have any preference for what type of music she’ll play at the Rock Camp.

“I like lots of different types of music,” she said. “I’m open to lots.”

Rock Camp practices begin July 29. The musicians will also play at various spots along Shelden Avenue in Houghton on Aug. 5.

The camp culminates at a final concert at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Rozsa Center. To sponsor a camper, or volunteer to help with a myriad of camp activities, check out or email More information is also at