By Anna Sekula Posted August 10, 2011, 1:11 PM EDT
NEW YORK In a bid to reach a broader range of musically inclined teens, this year the Recording Academy's Grammy Foundation expanded its summer camp program to the East Coast, bringing Grammy Camp to New York for the first time. Following the seventh run of the summer residential program in Los Angeles from July 9 through 18, the national organization hosted 35 high school students at Brooklyn's Converse Rubber Tracks studio from August 2 through Monday, with a launch party in Times Square's Best Buy Theater on Sunday.
“Our Grammy Camps offer young people highly interactive settings created by Grammy-winning artists and industry professionals, where they can explore a range of careers in the music industry. And with the launch of our New York camp, we've enrolled the largest number of Grammy Campers to date,” said Neil Portnow, president and C.E.O. of the Recording Academy and Grammy Foundation in a press release. The New York effort—and its accompanying events—was planned and produced by internal Grammy Foundation staff, led by senior director of education, David R. Sears, and supported in part by Best Buy, Converse, and the Hot Topic Foundation.
With the camp's participants hailing from 33 different cities across the U.S., the Grammy Foundation welcomed the students by kicking off the program with an open mic night on August 2. Gathering the teens at the Converse music studio in Williamsburg, the event brought in Glee's Matthew Morrison—who spent the summer promoting his eponymous album, and touring with New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys—to play an acoustic set. The campers were also invited to perform, showcasing their skills for an audience that also included Sears and Converse's chief marketing officer, Geoff Cottrill.
And, much like the showcase concert held July 7 at El Rey Theatre to cap off the Los Angeles program, Grammy Camp New York concluded with a performance-focused affair at Best Buy Theater. Designed as a way for the campers to show off the work they'd produced during their seven-day stint at the studio, the launch party on Sunday included video presentations and musical acts by the students, as well as a post-event networking session with industry advisers and recording artists, including Grammy winners, singer-songwriters Marsha Ambrosius and Vanessa Carlton, Warner Brothers Records vice president of publicity Phylicia Fant, and the Grammy Foundation board's vice chair, Rusty Rueff.