(The seventh annual GRAMMY Camp, produced by the GRAMMY Foundation, is a residential summer camp for high school students with a focus on providing hands-on instruction about careers in the music industry. GRAMMY Camp in Los Angeles took place July 9–18 and, for the first time ever, GRAMMY Camp was held in New York Aug. 2–8. GRAMMY.com featured select blog entries from camp participants relating their firsthand experiences from this unique educational opportunity. To apply for GRAMMY Camp in 2012, click here.)
By Dertrick Winn Jr.
GRAMMY Camp New York was nothing less than a fast blast of musical creation for the 35 young instrumentalists, engineers, filmmakers, vocalists, and songwriters who piled into the hidden depths of Converse Rubber Tracks studios to embark on a musical journey they will never forget.
From the kick-off event on Aug. 2, GRAMMY Camp's first-ever New York installment was jam-packed with performances. After campers were greeted and staff was introduced on the first day, everyone crowded around the Rubber Tracks stage to enjoy a performance by "Glee"'s Matthew Morrison. With a backing band of musical friends and his trusty ukulele, Morrison performed a few tunes from his self-titled debut album, including the single "Summer Rain." The performance was followed by a question-and-answer session. After the performance, campers helped break in the Rubber Tracks stage with some talent of their own (and there was a lot to go around) during Open Mic Night.
The campers would spend the next five days in the Big Apple working on their own songs, pitches and projects for the camp's launch party. Everyone had to work together and ideas were quickly molded into musical masterpieces, website concepts and potential business endeavors that could someday shape the face of the music industry.
The musical journey culminated on Aug. 7 with the launch party at Best Buy Theater in Times Square. The event was a huge success as campers had the opportunity to perform songs and present ideas to a panel of qualified music industry professionals, including GRAMMY-nominated recording artists Marsha Ambrosius and Vanessa Carlton; GRAMMY-winning engineer/mixer Scott Jacoby; and GRAMMY-winning songwriter Angela Hunte-Wisner, among others.
Featured showcases and performances included a screening of a GRAMMY Camp documentary directed by Mia Lalanne, a participant in the Electronic Music Production track; "It's Gonna Be Alright" by Jack Rodenburg, Fandy Tjen and Kristen Castro; and "Imitator" by Rees Finley, Blaise Sandburg and Alan Price, among others.
The grand finale was led by Tanner Grandstaff's "I Wanna Be Everything," performed by Rachel Gibler with rap lyrics by Ryan Dents and accompaniment from the talented GRAMMY Camp student musicians. The song perfectly captured the open-minded sense of musical opportunity and creativity that surrounded GRAMMY Camp New York.
(Seventeen-year-old GRAMMY Camp alumnus Dertrick Winn Jr. is a multitalented artist and cancer survivor from Austin, Texas. He has been recognized for his work in journalism, creative writing, technical writing, songwriting, singing, rapping, filmmaking, acting, public speaking, and graphic design.)