Rock ‘n’ roll craftsmanship in Minturn |

Rock ‘n’ roll craftsmanship in Minturn

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyMinturn Middle School eighth-grader Moira Laughlin thanks the band Hustle for playing at their school and for answering students' questions Wednesday in Minturn.

MINTURN, Colorado ” The entrance to the gym at Minturn Middle School was guarded by a stone-faced but very young looking bouncer wearing a doo-rag, sunglasses and a black coat. He may have been a student, but he obviously wasn’t putting up with any funny business.

The gym was dark and looked like night club with basketball hoops and folded up bleachers. The students filed in, the curtains opened, and the show began. The local band Hustle launched into a series of driving, soulful rock songs while the students bounced and danced on the gym floor.

So, why hold a rock concert at school?

Besides being a lot of fun, there’s a lot you can learn from the craftsmanship and courage it takes to be musicians who write and play their own songs, says seventh grader Garrett Funk.

“You have to try your hardest and never give up,” Funk said. “Practice makes perfect.”

The Hustle concert was a part of daily class called CREW at Minturn Middle School.

Once a day, students meet with other students in different grades to work on character building and life skills. Usually, they read a book together that demonstrates important character traits ” like courage and craftsmanship.

Every CREW class is also supposed to organize a community meeting. The “Rolling Stones” crew decided to put on a concert.

On one side of the gym was a roped-off “VIP” section, where students who showed craftsmanship and courage in class were allowed to sit. This too was guarded by bouncers.

In between songs at the Hustle concert, students interviewed the band members about their craft. They wanted to know things like how they came up with their name and who are their musical influences, but they also wanted to know how much they have to practice, what kind of work goes into learning new songs, and what do you do when you make mistakes in front of hundreds of people?

“What do we do when we screw up? We keep on going,” said Sean Healey, lead vocalist and guitar player for the band.

If there are problems in a show one weekend, the band knows exactly what they’ll be working on in practice the next week, and they figure out how to make it better, drummer Pete Haugh said.

And how did the band get its name? Well, when bands form, you throw a lot of names around, sort of like how parents probably name their children, Healey said. But the name Hustle seemed to fit their work ethic.

“It takes a lot of time and energy to make it work,” Healey said.

All the band members have regular jobs outside the band, and those extra hours are necessary to sustain their passion. They’ve all been playing music since they were in middle school, or even younger, and have always wanted to be musicians, Healey said.

The students learned about the craftsmanship needed to write music. Healey keeps a journal, and he writes down phrases he thinks of during the week, and eventually those turn into song lyrics. Sometimes, lyrics could come from a good day on the slopes, or maybe from a bad day of work. Healey takes those words to the band, and after a lot of work, they’re making their own music.

As class was ending, and the concert came to a close, the kids started yelling for “one more, one more!” Eighth grader Rylie Babcock said he enjoyed the music and appreciated the guts needed to be in a band.

“I just think people should follow their dreams, and practice what they’re good at,” Babcock said.

The concert at the school was recorded, and you can expect to parts of it on Babcock’s show on Radio Free Minturn.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or

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