Camp band cuts second album - Catholic Courier
Adam Bell, camp director for Camp Stella Maris in Livonia, lays down a vocal track during a Dec. 20 recording session for camp band Popular Peninsula. Adam Bell, camp director for Camp Stella Maris in Livonia, lays down a vocal track during a Dec. 20 recording session for camp band Popular Peninsula.

Camp band cuts second album

LIVONIA — In a makeshift recording studio at a house at Camp Stella Maris in December, a sign on the wall stated "God bless pop culture" and the camp jokes flowed as fast as the rhymes.

On this December day, the members of Popular Peninsula, the camp’s house band, planned an all-night recording session fueled by adrenaline, pizza and caffeine.

They were laying down hip-hop tracks for their second album, which they hope will follow up on the success of their "Tetris Effect" debut, which featured the breakout single "Flower City State of Mind."

After the release of that album, the band threw a concert at Old Navy in Eastview Mall that drew an estimated 600 people, headlined the camp’s fall social, and raised $8,500 for the Camp Stella Maris Campership fund, which provides thousands of dollars in needs-based resident, day- and family-camp scholarships every year.

The sophomore sequel promises more parodies of hip-hop and pop songs that mix camp-insider humor and Catholic pride.

The current lineup of Popular Peninsula is Jon Gillan, Brad DeLano, Adam Bell, Pat Roberts, Jack Schott and Andy Black. Music is a part-time hobby for the band members, who are either year-round camp employees or students.

According to band members, they got their start recording parody videos while doing camp maintenance before the camp opened one season.

"My biggest concern is when we start taking ourselves seriously, then we’ll be bad," said Bell, who works year-round as the camp director in addition to being a Popular Peninsula member.

On their second album, the band turns such hits as the Flo Rida song "Club Can’t Handle Me" into "Camp Can’t Handle Me." In one corner of the room, band members hunched over lyrics, tweaking popular songs to fit the camp’s mission and message.

"Tell me if you know elementary backstroke; if you make it to the Koopa Troopa, you will be stoked," raps a camp counselor, referring to campers swimming to the camp’s large waterfront inflatable nicknamed the Koopa Troopa.

Conesus Lake, or "’Neesh" as the band calls it, figures prominently in both camp life and in Popular Peninsula songs.

"Don’t walk on that wall because it’s breakin’," one performer riffs about the lake’s breakwall.

"My buddy’s in the lake, and we love Jesus," sings another band member on the song "Buddy Up."

Even camp lore gets incorporated into the songs. For instance, the story of how a deer jumped into the water and swam while campers were swimming is referenced in lyrics.

"Excuse me, I’m sorry, I think I saw a deer," the song goes. "It jumped in the water and swam — weird."

The as-yet unnamed album is tentatively scheduled for release before the camp season begins, and band members also may debut some of the new material during several upcoming appearances in the area during March and May. Details of those events are still being finalized.

Yet there’s an easy way to see the band, Bell pointed out.

"Registration for summer camp has started, and we perform throughout the summer," he said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For details on purchasing Popular Peninsula CDs, e-mail or call 585-346-2243, ext. 132.

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