at Veterans Memorial Amphitheater in downtown Napa gives listeners the chance to hear up-and-coming local talent from the city's premier school of rock.
Part of the acclaimed Napa City Nights free concert series, the Friday-night show, 6 to 10 p.m., features ensembles from the class at .
Founded in 2005 by the husband-wife team of Peter and Victoria Sykes,the school has 20 teachers instructing 400 students on the campus of in north Napa.
NSM’s facility is spacious and flooded by natural light. Small rooms have been transformed into studios, filled with drum kits, guitars, recording equipment, mics and speakers.
The school offers a panorama of classes in instruments of all kinds, but Garage Band 101 is one of the most popular programs offered.
The 11-week group course for kids and adults, culminates in a series of concerts in professional settings before a live audience.
This summer’s Garage Band showcase -- themed “The History of Rock & Roll” -- presents seven different bands playing music from the 50s to present day.
You can catch a glimpse of tomorrow’s rock stars at three upcoming August shows:
-- Fri., Aug. 5, 6pm – 10pm, Napa City Nights / Veteran’s Memorial Park Amphitheater, downtown Napa, free;
--Thurs., Aug.11, Kids Day, Town & Country Fair, Napa Expo (check with NSM for times), kids 12 and under admitted free;
-- Sat., Aug. 13, 7pm,, $15/advance, $20 at the door.
Australian-born Peter Sykes is an accomplished guitarist in his own right and has had years of professional gigs with bands in Los Angeles as well as composing for and appearing on Fox TV.
Victoria is a theatre major whose instrument of choice for 11 years was tenor sax (though she met Peter while taking guitar lessons from him).
What little spare time they have, they give back gratis judging musical competitions, performing back up for shows at and supplying choir/band teachers for Justin-Siena students.
The Sykes’ philosophy of “building self-esteem through music” is reflected in their teaching methodology: Make it fun, make it relevant, make it educational.
On the horizon, new classes include music theory for all ages, Garage Band/Unplugged, a string ensemble for kids plus the addition of acclaimed singer/teacher Bradford as vocal coach.
Apple iMacs allow teachers and students access to the latest music recording programs enabling the production of CDs and mp3s of their original compositions.
Computer-based notation programs allow musical scoring (as used in films and television), and vocalists have hands-on instruction in using microphones in live and recording situations.
After six years of building and growing NSM, kids who had no previous musical training before classes at NSM are now starting their own bands, getting calls for gigs at weddings and wineries and thinking seriously about music as a career.
“People have the perception that we’re not a real business,” said Peter, “which is an attitude that seems to come with music education.
"But our vision is to make music fun. We have a different way of approaching music. It’s the real thing. You can learn music in an academic way but music is show business, music is entertaining.
"It’s communal, a shared experience.”