"Making the Band --
"The program usually starts in January and it runs through July," he said. "I teach kids how to play together, write songs, make CDs. I've got four groups this year and in three of the groups all the kids are 11 years or younger, Monkey Business, Limit 55 and DNKL."
In another group Lawson has mentored, Gods among Titans, ages range from 13 to 18.
"They don't have to take private lessons to be in the program," Lawson said. "As long as they sing or play any kind of instrument."
Lawson said there is a monthly fee for putting together each band. He teaches in the old
"I've had the building for four years now," he said. "I have it set up for band practice as well as recording booths. I had them play for Herofest three or four weeks ago to just kind of warm them up. They practice strictly for this event (Making the Band)."
Playing styles vary from group to group, often surprising Lawson.
"There are pieces they've written along with at least one cover," he said. "But there is at least three or four original songs per band. (The bands) all turned out really well this year, and I'm always really surprised at what styles they pick or how it comes out by the time the process is done. And it's the thing that the kids step up and do -- what they normally wouldn't do. They get out of their comfort zone. There's a second grader singing in (DNKL). I'm really surprised at how they all put it together and how they get it done -- it's pretty cool."
Students this year also include girls in the band.
"It's very interesting in (Monkey Business), there's a boy and a girl and in Limit 55 it's all boys," he said. "And DNKL they are all girls except the drummer who's a boy. And then Gods among Titans they are all boys except for the drummer who's a girl. I think it's great."
Through the years Lawson has noticed younger children becoming involved with the program and with music in general.
"In the first five years it was mostly 14 to 18-year-olds," he said. "And in teaching private lessons I have kids as young as 3 years old that start, and years ago it wouldn't have been."
Lawson gives private lessons at
"Music is my life," he said. "I don't think I could do anything else."
Last year Making the Band performed a Christmas show at the
"We adopted 10 families last year for Christmas and gave them dinner and clothes and toys," Lawson said. "That way the kids could see what it's like to give back to the community. We had a silent auction and we had bands ... I'm going to try to do that every year."
Although the groups Lawson has worked with this year are all rock, he said there will be a total of 12 different bands playing music from folk to heavy metal.
"Any kind of music you can think of," he said. "We even have a band (I4Got) that used to live in
Many of the 12 bands playing Saturday are from the
"It starts at noon and goes until one in the morning," Lawson said. "So there's 13 hours of music. They'll all have an hour set."
As for the groups he's worked with, Lawson said the music needs to be for a general audience.
"As long as it's family friendly, I let them have their freedom to do what they want," Lawson said. "They don't have any stipulations as long as they stay within the family friendly boundaries. It's a way for them to express themselves and have a good time."
Some of the adult groups playing at the event this year include Prometheus-Fire God,
Lawson, who has been teaching music for 15 years, will play in two of the bands -- Livery Other Friday and Unseen Hatred.
The event will also feature an instrument raffle for a guitar, a keyboard and a junior drum set. Raffle tickets cost
Students in the Making the Band program will also have CDs for sale at the event, costing
Through the years Lawson said he has seen the community become more involved with the program.
"Which is great," he added. "Now they don't care what kind of music it is, where as before if it was this 'kind' of music than they wanted to stay away from it. Now they don't care because it's supporting the community, and supporting the kids, and supporting local music as well."
Sponsors for the event include
"It's a good time, and on average there's about 300 people that come through," Lawson added.
"Making the Band --
(c)2014 The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Mo.)
Visit The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Mo.) at www.sedaliademocrat.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services