I’m a part of an Arts summer camp called the African American Arts & Heritage Academy. I was once a student, counselor, instructor and now I serve as an administrator and as creative director (I’m a big supporter of getting the youth involved with the arts). So once I found out about “PopShopWV” here in Morgantown, I needed to check it out. A good friend (and an artist that I respect), Scott Simon introduced me to Chris Russell who runs PopShop. Come to find out, I already knew Chris from his days when him and Scott played with a local group called The Argument. I did a couple of shows with them in the early 2000s with my band (304 Reconz).

So I set up a time to go meet Chris at their facility in Osage, WV called Blues Alley Studios. Another local music friend of mine Josh Swiger runs it. I started to do some research on their website and while looking at the videos, I just got inspired. I also noticed that all of my local music friends had their children involved with this program, so I was really ready to check this place out. It was better than what I imagined, I didn’t want to leave, and there was a adult band practicing in the first room called Noodles & The Soup.

They were practicing a Police song I believe, but to see that age did not matter when you engage in things you love to do was a great way for me to be introduced to PopShop. Personally, that is where I am now as an artist: don’t let age be a crutch, and do what you love to do. I went into the second studio room and there was Chris developing young musicians as they practiced a KISS song. Where was this when I was growing up?! For the youth, there is always outlets for athletes and scholars, but what about the arts? Well in Morgantown, you now have an outlet to ROCK, check out PopshopWV. All artists invited!

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