James Tankersley's dream of becoming a rock star has become a reality.
"I just like to be on stage," said the rising seventh-grader at Columbia Middle School. "I really want to be a rock star when I grow up."
Taking a breather, the 12-year-old sat outside a classroom at Portman's Music, where the sounds of Guns N' Roses' Paradise City drifted into the hallway.
His band, Broken Confinement, spent last week jamming and rehearsing for a full-production concert, complete with bright lights and a fog machine.
The concert gave 17 aspiring musicians in the Martinez music academy's "rock camp" the chance to live out their dreams on stage.
The camp was open to musicians ages 11 to 17 who had one year of experience with vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards or horns.
"It offers them that camaraderie of making new friendships," said Katie Glaeser, Portman's director of education.
The students were grouped with fellow bandmates based on their personal music preferences. In addition to jamming throughout the week, they learned about music styles and philosophies.
"The kids are happier if they're closer to their style of music," Glaeser said.
Across the hall from where Broken Confinement rehearsed, band members in two other classic rock groups --Random Acts of Awesomeness and Black Moon -- honed their musical talents.
Laura Owen, one of three girls participating in the camp, plays the upright bass in the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestra.
The rising freshman at Westside High School was in the group Black Moon, where she learned songs by Metallica, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. Laura said she wanted to try something new.
"I've never really played rock on the bass," the 14-year-old bassist and vocalist said. "I've been having a blast."
Many of the rock campers couldn't wait to show off their skills during the Saturday concert next door at Quest Church. It also gave them the opportunity to experience a sound check and set up their own gear.
"A lot of these kids probably have never collectively come together," said guitar instructor Dallas Duff, who led the band Random Acts of Awesomeness.
"It seems like everybody's having a good time."
James, who is a guitarist and keyboardist, said he's just happy to have found a band to play with.
"It's great to be in a band finally," said James, who is inspired by Van Halen. "It's just great to be here."
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