Print Teens break library silence
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 01:00

Camp Verde teens may not need instructions to know how to rock, but Barbara Hughes is here to give them a helping hand just in case.

Josh Williams, right, along with other young musicians, from left, Jon Williams, Dylan Barnes, and Cody Patten, work on a  composition Thursday, June 3, with Teen Power of Music teacher Barbara Hughes.Hughes runs the Power of Music program from her home base in New Hampshire, but she’s made a return visit to the desert for the second time in two years to provide local youths a creative outlet this summer. Hughes lived in the area before, and makes a point to return to give kids a chance to express themselves.

Normally, a library is a place where people are quiet, but for the next few weeks, visitors can find teenagers plugging in their amps, turning on their keyboards and singing at the top of their lungs.

They do keep it behind closed doors, at least for the time being. The ultimate goal of the program is to come up with an original song and release it on CD.

That’s possible thanks to Kenny Star, who has graciously offered the kids some

studio time.

“It’s pretty crucial,” Hughes said. “Typically it costs around $1,200 to $1,500 in the studio to record a song and to make sure it’s done right.”

The kids from Camp Verde include a drummer, a keyboardist and “a lot of guitarists and vocalists,” Hughes said. The music students work collaboratively three to four times a week on the project.

Two years ago, Hughes helped guide the students into producing their own original song, “Famous Last Words.” Some of the same kids returned this time around, but the scope of the project has expanded.

“The theme this year is the power of the voice,” Hughes said.

The program involves kids from Sedona this year, working at a distance with their peers in Camp Verde, Hughes said, in order to take many separate voices and ideas and turn them into one unified voice.

All together there are around 17 teenagers participating in the project. Last week, a handful of the Camp Verde kids were busy trying out different chords to best suit their latest creation-in-the-works, before sending off their progress and ideas to their musical collaborators in Sedona.

“One of my friends did this and told me it was a good experience,” said Cody Patten, a teen who has played guitar for around a year and a half. “Just to go into a recording studio and record songs with other people I think is something that’s a great experience.”

Patten occasionally jams in the garage with a friend, but said he’s looking forward to the entire creative process with a large group of people who are also musically inclined.

Katie Blake was one of the contributing voices on “Famous Last Words,” and she’s back again to take part in whatever this new group of musicians ends up creating.

“It was amazing, so I came back,” Blake said. “As soon as [Hughes] called me and said she was back, I was like, ‘Yea!’”

Hughes said ordinarily she’d like to hold a CD release party when the project is over. However, her schedule may prevent that this year, so she’s hoping to come back to the Verde Valley in September for a wrap-up with all of the kids from Camp Verde and Sedona together on stage to perform.

Ultimately, it’s about getting people to listen to each other and work together, according to Hughes, getting young people to come together through the power of music.

“It’s a powerful thing to witness,” Hughes said.