Evolution Rock School's Summer Cookout Bash celebrates first anniversary
Lara White, 15, of Hagerstown plays bass and Noah Miller, 13, of Hagerstown is on drums with "Straight Edge Revolution" Saturday at Doubs Woods Park for the Evolution Rock School summer concert in Hagerstown. (by Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer / August 18, 2012)
Nick, 13, said one of their neighbors in Thurmont, Md., was a guitar player, and one day, his father suggested to Tyler that he should get some lessons playing a real guitar.
“Having that brotherly competition, I wanted to take guitar lessons, too,” said Nick, an eighth-grader at Thurmont Middle School. “After one lesson, Tyler quit and I continued. And then ... I started giving Tyler a few guitar lessons.”
Nick and his 11-year-old brother were two of about 20 student performers who took the stage Saturday afternoon at Doub’s Woods Park during the Evolution Rock School’s Summer Cookout Bash, a first-ever event to help celebrate the local school’s one-year anniversary.
The free concert featured solo acts and performances by student bands, including some well-known rock hits such as “Blue Orchid” by The White Stripes and “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by The Smashing Pumpkins.
Chris Figgatt, the father of Nick and Tyler, co-owns the Evolution Rock School with his wife, Cindie. Figgatt said proceeds from the event — from food sales and donations — would be used to purchase some new equipment for the students.
“We’re really pleased,” he said. “Any donations that people give are greatly appreciated. This whole thing is more or less for the kids. Hagerstown really doesn’t have a lot of (opportunities) for the kids right now, and I think this is a good thing for the kids to come do.”
The school offers lessons, clinics, performance programs and summer camps in all things rock, Figgatt said. Students range from 5 years old up to adults, he said.
“We currently have about 35 students enrolled right now,” Figgatt said. “That’s in the band program and lesson students. We do everything from guitars to bass to drums to keyboards to vocals.”
Figgatt said most students who are looking to get experience in a performance setting are paired up based on skill level, but the top students earn a spot in the school’s House Band, which currently has seven members.
Hayley Beyer, 14, of Hagerstown, plays bass and sings in the House Band, among other side groups. She sang lead vocals on a cover of Aerosmith’s “Livin’ on the Edge” during the performance of one of her other bands, Empty Paranoia.
“It’s something to do after school, and you get to meet a lot of new people,” said Hayley, a 10th-grader at South Hagerstown High School. “It’s a way to learn an instrument, gain a new skill ... it’s probably one of my favorite things to do.”
The students perform a concert every semester, but this was the first time an event was held in the arts pavilion at Doub’s Woods Park, Beyer said.
“I love to perform,” she said. “It’s fun.”
Friends Joe Kelso and Penny Booth, both of Hagerstown, were sitting at a picnic table listening to the music about halfway through the show.
“They’re awesome,” said Booth, who enjoyed The Smashing Pumpkins cover earlier by Broken Cords.
Kelso, who is a big supporter of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, said he was surprised by the nice turnout of about 130 people.
“It seems like everyone is having a good time,” he said.
Nick Figgatt said he hopes to one day make his living by writing and performing music.
So far, the youngster is off to a good start, and already is writing his own music. He performed one of his own songs, titled “Bad Boy,” with his band Reaction on Saturday.
“Who doesn’t want the rock and roll lifestyle?” he said with a smile.
To learn more about the Evolution Rock School, call 301-733-1850 or go to www.evolutionrockschool.com.