PJ Olsson to hold Rock Camp fundraiser concert

HOUGHTON – Houghton native PJ Olsson will be performing at 7:30 p.m. on March 8 at the Rozsa Center. His performance is not for any personal gain, but to help fund Rock Camp, an event that helps foster musical talent in the area that Olsson and co-founder and partner Todd Brassard have put on since 2009.

Olsson will also be using some of the kids from Rock Camp as his band, which will consist of Wynter Bethel on keys, acoustic and vocals, Henry Ashburn on drums, Kenneth Stahl on drums, Aaron Posega on bass and Marya Julio and Daphne Makie. The latter two perform under the name Marya and Daphne.

“I’m doing some of the show solo, I was working on having some of the instructors come in that we use for Rock Camp. By the time the whole show is done it will be about an hour and 20 minutes that features not only my music being supported by the Rock Camp kids, there will also be a couple of kids that will play some songs during the show,” Olsson said.

Steve Jones, Bob Hiltunen and Dr. Milton Olsson will also be on stage during the show.

“That’s primarly the make up of the band.”

But Olsson said that people can expect some other surprises during the show.

Beyond the show being a fundraiser for Rock Camp and bringing the community some professional music, Olsson said that it’s a way to inspire kids and help them to grow musically and artistically.

“Not everyone that comes to Rock Camp is going to be a professional musician,” Olsson said. “As a matter of fact, probably only 2 or 3 percent of them are going to actually make music their life, but it’s how it applies into their life no matter what role they choose. They gain a lot of security and confidence in themselves.”

Aside from inspiring people with music, Olsson said that Rock Camp is so important to him because growing up in this area there was a lack of opportunity for him growing creatively.

“Creative opportunity wasn’t there,” Olsson said.

But Olsson credits his father, Dr. Milton Olsson, with helping to bring culture to the area with the Rozsa Center and he credits teachers with helping to instill it within himself.

“Me being a Rock and Roll musician, I’d like to continue bringing culture to this area, but I’d like to concentrate on the youth,” Olsson said. “I want to concentrate on how much talent I know is here, and there is true talent here. I’ve had my chance. I’m all over the world. Nothing compares to inspiring a kid.”

But one of the things Olsson and Brassard would really like to do is put together a multi-media talent development school that runs year round and incorporates music and film.

“We’d like to facilitate these kids to make documentaries, their own newspapers, their own record label – they run it all. We give them the facility to do it and the guidance,” Olsson said. “They’ve got real world professionals teaching them – a school that develops the very best creativity a child can have but with the most real world application. …There’s so much talent here they just need the direction, they just need the facility. That’s really my main goal and it’s a life goal.”

Alan Parsons will also be coming up to help with this fundraising event. Olsson has worked as Parson’s lead singer for the past 12 years, as well as working as his sound engineer. Parsons will be coming in to do front of house mixing, which is how Parsons started when working with Pink Floyd.

“PJ is an old chum,”?Parsons said. “He’s been a singer in my band. It’s a nice idea to return the favor. We’ve had very good experiences here in Houghton.”

Parsons is also looking forward to coming back up to the Houghton area.

When it comes to Rock Camp, Parsons said it’s fantastic that kids get the opportunity to get together and make music.

As far as Parsons career is concerned, he and his band will be going to South America in March and they’re about to release a double live CD with all the hits on it. A box set will also be released soon.

He and PJ?also have a song coming out called “Fragile.”?

There is no set price to attend the show, but donations will be accepted at the door.