For additional information, contact:
Christopher Buttner, President
Aarvak Marketing Communications
Artist and Public Relations
Fax: 415-892-5971


September 19, 2002 – Marin County, California – Leading San Francisco professional musicians, with the support of leading musical instrument manufacturers and music educational material and magazine publishers, including Berklee Press, United Entertainment Media’s Music Player Group, and Primedia Business Magazines, participated in the highly successful debut of The Blue Star Music Camp West in August 2002. Founded by Bay Area-native and guitarist Jimmy Dillon (below), Blue Star Music Camp West is based on an incredibly successful summer music education program first established in the summer of 2001 in South Haven, Michigan.

Jimmy Dillon

Two weeks of sessions took place in August 2002 in the town of San Anselmo in Marin County and in Petaluma in Sonoma County with approximately 20 students attending each session. Blue Star Music Camp West encourages students of all ability levels, ages 13 to 18, in a motivating, supportive and friendly environment to learn the player’s basics of contemporary musical instruments, songwriting, performance, as well how to pursue a career in the music industry. Each week of sessions culminated in a live performance for the entire community to enjoy.

Music education and performance programs were facilitated by a wide range of well-known Bay Area professional musicians, including keyboardist and songwriter Bonnie Hayes (Bonnie Raitt’s ‘Slow Ride’, ‘Love Letter ‘and ‘Have a Heart’), former Jerry Garcia Band and current Craig Chaquico keyboardist, producer and songwriter Ozzie Ahlers, internationally renowned percussion/drum teacher Chuck Silverman, John Lee Hooker saxophonist Rita Thiess, Robert Cray Band drummer Kevin Hayes, Grammy Award-winning guitarist Lorin Rowan, as well as Jimmy Dillon. Mr. Dillon has toured and recorded with Clarence Clemons, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Boz Scaggs and others. Additionally, Frank Gallagher, tour manager for Buddy Guy and Bruce Springsteen, facilitated a program called "Anatomy of a Gig", describing for students what its like to be on the road as a professional musician.

Gibson Guitars, Yamaha Musical Instruments, Modulus Guitars and Basses, Jim Dunlop Musical Accessories, Mesa Boogie, DiMarzio Musical Electronics, Mapex Drums, Toca Percussion, Remo Drum Heads, Drum Headquarters, and Zildjian Cymbals, in part, sponsor Blue Star Music Camp West. Music curriculum materials were donated by Berklee Press, the publishing division of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, the world-renowned leader in contemporary music for over 50 years.

According to Jimmy Dillon, “To say Blue Star Music Camp West is simply an avenue for youth to learn how to play an instrument is a gross understatement. Blue Start Music Camp West offers young people an environment to explore self-expression, develop musical skills and gain confidence through setting and achieving goals.” Continuing, Mr. Dillon notes, “As thrilling as it is to watch these young people enjoy their introduction to the arts, the real thrill is the knowledge of the intangibles the students will acquire. Confidence, increased self-esteem, empowerment, team work, pride, and a new form of personal expression are just some of what the students take away from their experience at Blue Star Music Camp West.”

Keith Hatschek (below) author of the Berklee Press title, HOW TO GET A JOB IN THE MUSIC AND RECORDING INDUSTRY, and University of the Pacific professor of Music Management, spoke to the inquisitive students about the many career opportunities in the music industry. After Keith’s speaking and Q & A session, he autographed copies of HOW TO GET A JOB IN THE MUSIC AND RECORDING INDUSTRY, for the students, copies of which were graciously provided to Blue Star Music Camp West by Berklee Press.

Keith Hatschek and the students of Blue Star Music Camp West, in Petaluma, CA.

Additionally, both Primedia Business Magazines and United Entertainment Media’s Music Player Group provided each student with copies of their respective music magazine titles, including Primedia’s MIX, ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN, REMIX and ONSTAGE, and MusicPlayer’s GUITAR and BASS PLAYER, KEYBOARD, EQ and GIG Magazines. Mr. Dillon points out, “It was important to expose the kids to the diverse and incredibly comprehensive music magazines and the support of the publishers in providing copies of their titles was incredibly beneficial to the program material.”

The not-for-profit Blue Star Music Camp West acquires its funding thanks to a series of benefit All-Star Jam Concerts. These concerts are combined with autographed musical instrument and Rock n’ Roll memorabilia auctions and take place during the fall, winter and spring at well-known San Francisco Bay Area nightclubs, including the Petaluma Mystic Theater and Mill Valley’s legendary Sweetwater Saloon. Many leading Rock, Jazz and Blues musicians, including Craig Chaquico, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Weir, Buddy Guy, Les Paul, and BB King have donated autographed instruments, which were auctioned off at past All-Star Jam Concert/Auction Fundraisers. The next All-Star Jam Concert/Auction Fundraiser is scheduled for November 16, 2002 at the Sweetwater Saloon (, in Mill Valley, Marin County, 15-minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Mr. Dillon points out, “Blue Star Music Camp West attracts and works with kids who represent a diverse population – whether it is difference in economics, ethnicity, or physical ability. With this guiding principal, Blue Star Music Camp West serves many youths who are considered ‘at-risk’, with more than one-third of those students attending on scholarship, the funds of which are derived from the concert/auction fundraisers.” Mr. Dillon stresses, “Blue Star Music Camp West stands behind the belief that no student will be turned away due to financial hardship.”

“The Star Power in support of the Blue Star Music Camp West has been simply overwhelming,” continues Mr. Dillon. “For our November 2002 Fund Raiser, Keith Richards of THE ROLLING STONES (below) was so impressed with the concept of the Camp that he recently donated an autographed Fender Telecaster, as did guitar great Robert Cray (second photo below). Ernie Ball Music Man has donated an OLP MM-1 electric guitar autographed by all five members of the rock band DREAM THEATER (third photo below) and support from San Francisco Bay Area parents is phenomenal. One father, who was the winning bidder of Craig Chaquico’s autographed guitar from one of our early 2002 Fund Raisers, donated the instrument back to the Camp so we can again auction it off in November 2002.”

Keith Richards of THE ROLLING STONES

Robert Cray


What does the future hold for the Blue Star Music Camp West? According to Mr. Dillon, “I am finalizing the educational model and the plan is to take it nationwide within twelve months,” he states. “We have the participatory support from leading professional musicians and the biggest and best gear manufacturers and educational material publisher in music industry. I believe the Blue Star Music Camp West is a music education model that finally succeeds in getting kids interested, involved and motivated in music far beyond learning how to play their favorite songs on guitar or drums. The Blue Star Music Camp West opens kids up to the fact that a career in the music industry is much more of a reality then a hard to reach dream.”


To arrange interviews with Jimmy Dillon, contact Christopher Buttner, President, Aarvak Marketing Communications at email: For additional info about Blue Star Music Camp West: