If you're a parent, you're probably deluged with the various choices of camps to which you can send your kids for a little peace and quiet this summer.
There is, of course, the traditional camp; load the kid up in a rickety old school bus and send him or her away for two weeks, where the child will sleep in an old cabin, sneak around the woods, and along with some mischievous counselors perhaps play a few jokes on the adults who run the place. Maybe they'll even compete in some form of Olympics with the snobby camp kids from across the lake. But life, alas, is not a movie.
Other camps, many of which can be found around here, are strictly of the day-camp variety, offering soccer, basketball, mountain biking, and in the case of Durango's newest camp, lessons in rock music.
Monday marks the start of the Hounds Music Camp, a two-week rock 'n' roll camp hosted by the local band Hounds of Purg. It's a camp for kids put on by a bunch of teenagers who have been playing music since they were kids.
The counselors/teachers/coaches/band members are Remy Russell on guitar, Jason Else on bass, Cameron Wright on drums and Andrew Derck on keyboards and vocals.
The subject matter is creating and sustaining a rock band, including lessons on playing your instrument, learning songs, writing songs, how to play a ripping solo and even the business end of the business - booking gigs. It's all really an effort by the band to pass along some knowledge to a community that supported them as a band when they were kids and to ensure that youngsters around here will continue to support an ever-growing music scene.
And the Hounds won't be here forever; by this time next year the boys will be fresh out of high school and on their way to college.
"We want to do the camp because we've only got one more year left in Durango because we're going to be seniors, and we want to encourage people to start new bands to carry on what we've done since we'll be gone," Russell said. "We just want to get more kids in the community started with music outside of school bands and orchestra."
Hosting a camp is an ambitious outing, but the task is not so daunting for a bunch of kids who have been accomplished musicians for most of their short lives. The Hounds of Purg formed six years ago and have been playing paid gigs ever since. Among Durango's more recognizeable local acts, they're regulars at every street festival this town offers, have played Snowdown and most of the local venues including the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, where they'll play a free show on July 9 for the Fridays at the Fort Series.
The members are all comfortable in their roles within the band, and more so on the stage when they roll through sets of originals and some surf and classic rock that was written and recorded long before they were born.
Russell hopes the camp will turn into an annual summer thing, if there's enough interest. Right now they plan on hosting two sessions, one beginning Monday and the second on July 19. The camp is intended for beginning or intermediate musicians ages 7 to 14.
"We're going to work with what we get, and give beginners the easy parts and give advanced kids the hard parts," said Russell with the air of one who has been teaching kids music for longer he's been alive. "And we'll make it all sound good."
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at Liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.