Saturday, March 28, 2009

McRock skool for TEENS.

This link will take you to the Vancouver Courier, where I am featured in an article that describes a FREE McRockSkool seminar for TEENS, taking place THIS Tuesday March 31st.

McRockSkool, is a band bootcamp for teens, and I am so excited to see this thing finally taking off because I have been dreaming about something like this happening in Marpole, since 2007, when the area was plagued by a rash of mini garbage can fires which were started by bored teenagers.

It all started to take shape with the creation of a very cool "clubhouse" which was customized especially for teenagers, by designer Ami McKay from the Makeover Wish television show on HGTV. Back in the Fall of 2007, Ami Mckay and host Erin Cebula (and crew), spent several days transforming a drab classroom portable, into a cool hang out for youths, complete with a stage full of gear and music equipment.

It is truly an amazing place to hang out (even without the stage, guitars and drum-kit) and it also boasts an air hockey/pool table, books, games/game tables, an ipod dock, and even big comfy couches surrounding a large flat screen with a Wii video game.

The space is called Safe Base, and it belongs to the Spare Time Fun Centre, a 35 year, non-profit, out of school care organization which I have been a part of ever since its doors opened.

I was enrolled in STFC when I was 5, and now, 35 years later, my children go there today. I have been teaching dance classes, skits, and musical numbers to the children who attend the centre, on and off, ever since I turned 12 and was too old to be enrolled in the centre myself.

So here we are today, and we have Safe Base, which is something we are all very proud of. The 120 plus children in the daycare respect it, and they take care of it, it is simply gorgeous, and we are all extremely protective of it.

Which is why it took me nearly a year and a half to invite someone to use the space. Not only did I want to find an excellent program that would engage teens and distract them away from trouble, I wanted a self contained program (which the McRock Skool is), facilitated by an instructor whom I felt comfortable trusting with the space. Someone who would lead by example, and require the kids to respect the space and the opportunity to be there. Someone who would make the teens cognizant of the fact that using the facility and its equipment is a privilege, not a right.

Enter Mick Dalla Vee, who is the man behind the McRock Skool, Mick is an excellent multi- instrumentalist, performer and producer who is extremely well respected in this city. He is a long time member of Randy Bachman's band, and when Mick is not on the road rocking out to sold out shows with Randy, he is likely playing with one of his incredible corporate bands (Cease and Desist/Atlantic Crossing) which tour worldwide.

In studio sessions one day at Mick's, I learned that he had been spending most of his time staying in Richmond where his lovely better half lives. As he told me this, I think I heard a "PING" go off in my head, because Richmond, is a mere hop skip away from Safe Base. Knowing that Mick had a McRock Skool ( which was previously run in Abbotsford ) I ventured to ask if he would be willing to offer his course in Marpole, and I invited Mick to come and have a look at Safe Base. Immediately Mick saw the value in it. In fact, he must have had his own "Ping" moment because as soon as he saw the facility, he started talking about also using the space for a different music program he is involved with, which is geared towards enriching the life of people with Down Syndrome.
I knew at that point, I had asked the right guy.

Anyhow, back to it, I see great value in a music program like the McRock Skool, where a professional artist draws from his life experiences on the road, and shares what he has learned from working in and putting together bands over a lifetime career. No questions in my mind this is win, win.

Mick and the McRock Skool, is just the first of a few professional working artists I will eventually be inviting to use the space. Once the Rock School is going, dance classes will be the next addition to the centre.
Next door to the Safe Base, we have another fabulously decked out portable, complete with dance floor, small stages, lights, and a wall of mirrors.
It is an incredible dance room and I already know an amazing professional dancer whom I hope will be able to teach some classes in between her regular schedule of live shows (wink, wink Alecia). She performs with and choreographs for Mooncoin Productions ( the company who produces the Abba show I sub for).

I still have to learn songs, perform, write, play guitar, shoot and edit videos, as well as work online and hang out in blogland in a basic workday, so everything does take time. But for now, I introduce and welcome you to the McRock Skool, its just starting to nudge itself off the ground and now is really the time to get in, because I know it will eventually get to waiting list status. If you would like to know more about it, please come down to the Seminar on Tuesday night (March 31st), its free, and parents are encouraged to come and see the space and meet Mick for themselves. If you are reading this after March 31st please do visit the website to find out more, and contact Mick for enrollment info.

I will leave you with this request folks, If any one of you reading, knows a family with a musical teen (singer/guitar player/bassist/drummer) who lives in/near the Vancouver/Richmond area. I would sure love for you to pass on the link and information.

Warmly, I thank you, Rach.

(PHOTO of Mick/Rachael courtesy- Dan Toulgoet Vancouver Courier)


Michelle said...

I gave you some love on my blog!

Jac said...

I am very impressed how you are expanding, branching out and incorporating the good of the community. Keep it up.

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

I am so blown away by the aesthetic of the Safe Base photo that I can't even put coherent words together.

You are doing great things - keep it up!

rachael chatoor said...

Thanks so much Michelle, I will get right on that asap~

Jacco, :)

Its an amazing place Andrea~! Thanks so much for coming by~ :)

Barbara Doduk said...

This seem like such a wonderful place. You must be so proud to be a part of it. I will pass along the link. Keep up the good work.

As well, thanks for your kind comment on my blog.

Jeanne said...

What a great idea! You are one of those people who make things happen.

Maureen said...

Wow, how exciting! Wish we had something like that around here....might start twisting a few arms on that :)

bernthis said...

alright, that's it. I'm officially changing your name to mother theresa.

rachael chatoor said...

LMAO Jessica, if it makes you feel any better, my house is usually messy, and I let my kids play video games. ;)