After years of traveling around the world pursuing a career in music, Ball State alumnus Christopher Swinney revisited a previous gig in Muncie: helping children get a taste of the rock star life.

The camp also focuses on merchandising, ticket sales, marketing on social media and traveling — aspects of performing that are often overlooked, helping children get a taste of the rock star life.

Swinney partnered with Cornerstone Center for the Arts to host a Rock and Roll Winter Workshop that consists of five weekend workshops, where campers of all skill levels work on everything from stage presence to music theory and rehearse for a live performance, which will be held Sunday.

Interested in seeing concert? 

Where: Cornerstone Center for the Arts 

When: Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and the show starts at 4 p.m. March 4

Cost: $5 for anyone 10 and older 

Swinney originally started the Rock and Roll Summer Camp in 2006 after getting inspiration from the movie “School of Rock,” but left Muncie six years later to follow his passion. 

He performed in 58 countries with different artists, including The Ataris, and worked for the Hangout Festival in Alabama helping with artist relations, but Swinney said he felt there was more he could be doing.

“There are kids out there who love music, but no one helps them,” Swinney said. “Age doesn’t matter. You can do what you want if you work for it.”

After returning last year to be closer to family, Jeff Robinson, director of community relations for Cornerstone, contacted Swinney about partnering to restore the event. 

RELATED: Ball State alumnus returns to Muncie with rockin' ideas

Eventually, Swinney hopes to have two summer workshops, a winter workshop and an after-school program to help campers maintain their skills in the future. 

With Cornerstone alleviating many financial and logistical concerns for the first winter camp, Swinney is able to focus on the music.

Swinney and his staff of music instructors, most of them veterans of the camp themselves, run the workshop and help campers learn different skills and instruments. 

When working with them, Swinney said he treats campers as fellow musicians, rather than pupils, working together to host a successful show. 

While the camp only had 25 campers this winter compared to its former 60, 17 of the 18 campers from last summer returned. Two returning brothers, 12-year-olds Quinn and Gage Palilonis, said they returned because “once you get up on stage, you don’t want to get off.”

“The coolest thing about this is, it gives everyone a sense of what it’s really like to be in a band,” Quinn said. 

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