NEW PORT RICHEY  A group of young Bay area musicians are hitting the road this weekend for a rock tour of a lifetime. Routes of Rock" formed at Pasco music school Group didn't know each other until two months ago Group will perform at Allman Brothers' The Big House Museum Routes of Rock" formed two months ago after auditioning at Mullins Music, a nonprofit music school in New Port Richey. Prior to that audition, the members of the group didn't know each other.“It's a really cool feeling," said band member Kimmie Fidecoat while describing how the group has bonded around music. "It's like in a way euphoric, it's just really awesome."In just a few days, the teens will be hitting the road. They'll be traveling to New Orleans, Memphis, Muscle Shoals, and Macon, Georgia, getting an intense rock and roll history lesson while they play.“There's no one set place that I’m really excited about, basically the whole thing is a really cool experience," said band member Kyle Lopp.The trip will include performing at the Allman Brothers' The Big House Museum in Macon, and even do a recording at Fame Studios.“We're recording there and a lot of people have recorded there before,” said band member Rylee Reynolds. “I’m really excited because then I'll be able to say, 'Yeah, I recorded there.'"On Saturday, "Routes of Rock" sets out for their first stop in New Orleans. If any of them are nervous about the gig, it certainly doesn't show.“We're going to go out there and we're going to kill it," said Lopp.  Mullins Music is fundraising to help the band members with travel expenses. To donate to the cause, visit” - Leah Masuda

Bay News 9

PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA)- A music recording camp has a group of Pasco County young musicians collaborating with professional musicians to create a master piece at the end of this week. “We are doing ‘Rock Studio’ which is a summer camp for kids age 12-18 and they come and are put into a band and they work all week and at the end of the week they have a CD release party,” said Owner of Mullins Music studio Eric Mullins. This years music theme is “Detroit” which means students get to study and play music that came out of the motor city. And the musicians that are teaching the classes come from very diverse backgrounds. “Our faculty as a whole has performed all over the world. Two of our faculty members are from South Africa and we have performed in Japan and Ghana, South Africa All over North America. Our drum teacher is one of the top drummers in Tampa Bay. We try to get the best of the best,” Mullins said. Most of the students come from Pasco County but Mullins said he gets an occasional student from Tampa and has had someone from as far away as Tennessee come to the music summer camp. And some students from this weeks group have signed up for Mullins camp several times. “I have been here for four or five years. Every time it’s a new musical experience. We get to learn about new songs we never listened to before so it expands our horizons,” said 18 year old Jerry Brown who sings vocals and plays bass guitar. “This is my first year and I heard about it and I got really excited because it was something I’d really like to do because I normally do stuff like this, So I got super excited and said I’m doing this no doubt in my mind,” said 13 year old vocalist Kimmie Fivecoat. The young musicians will practice all week and on Saturday Mullins Music will throw the students a CD release party where everyone gets a professional studio quality recording of their work. “It will feel good and like an accomplishment when It’s all done and over with you can look at your work and see how good it is and have your friends listen to it and have them tell you ‘Wow you guys are only this old, I can’t believe it. I thought you guys were professionals’,”said 15 year old Meghan Hurley who plays piano and keyboard. The students release party is open to the public to come watch the students perform some of their work at Journey Church in New Port Richey at 6:30PM July 18th.” - Anthony Allred

WFLA News Channel 8

NEW PORT RICHEY — While Eric Mullins' mom worked as a lifeguard when he was a kid, she couldn't afford the cost of music instruction for him. So she struck a deal with a pianist. The woman provided "piano lessons for my mom's kid, and my mom gave her kids swimming lessons," said Mullins, 37, now a music teacher at Genesis Preparatory School and co-owner of a music school called Mullins Music. If the pianist hadn't agreed to barter, "I wouldn't have been able to take piano lessons," Mullins said.He doesn't want Pasco kids whose parents struggle financially to miss out on music lessons, either. So Mullins Music, which has been in business since 2007, is in the process of incorporating as a nonprofit — a decision inspired by his belief in the importance of music, and his knowledge of the plight of parents who can't afford their kids' music instruction. My mom was a single parent," he said. "We never had money growing up."So his grandfather bought Mullins his first saxophone. He was bored with it by eighth grade — until he took lessons outside of school. At that point, he began to flourish.As a young adult, Mullins studied music for a year at the University of Louisville and played sax for in the school's jazz band. He later played with the Bobby "Blue" Bland Band and earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the New School in New York City.He met his wife, Marina Mullins, 38, a jazz pianist, in Memphis, where he grew up. At the church they attended there, they hosted a music camp for kids."It was really fun," he said. So after they moved to Florida, they discussed starting their own music school, then made the decision."Let's do this," Mullins said. The school, which has no building but uses space at Genesis Prep, has four instructors year-round, and others who teach during summer camp season.The school offers lessons in drums, saxophone, guitar, bass guitar, voice and clarinet — $20 a half hour or $30 an hour. It also has a rock ensemble class called Rock Band during the school year, and summer camps including Rock Week, which took place last month, and Rock Studio, which will start Monday.The best part of Mullins' job is getting to do what he loves."That's a real blessing for me," he said.When Mullins Music receives its nonprofit status, Mullins hopes it will be a blessing for his students."We'll be able to write grants and solicit more donations, to offer reduced or free lessons and instruments, especially for kids," he said. "It can give them a whole lifetime of enjoyment.  ” - Arleen Spenceley

Tampa Bay Times

NEW PORT RICHEY — Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin are seen as some of the greatest rock bands of all time. Young musicians aspire to be as famous and successful as these bands, and a local camp gives teens the music knowledge and experience that all great rock stars started with. Mullins Music presented Rock Studio, a rock music camp that aimed to educate young musicians about the recording and mixing process. The camp took place at Genesis Preparatory Academy from July 7th to July 11th. Mullins Music is a nonprofit community music school that began in 2007, and they provide private music lessons for a variety of instruments including piano, drums, saxophones, guitars, bass guitars, clarinets, and voice lessons. The camp was for youngsters from the age 12-18, and they were required to have one year of previous musical experience. The camp featured a variety of musicians and talented teens including guitarists, singers, drummers, keyboard players, and saxophone players. The aspiring musicians were put into bands, they rehearsed and recorded songs, and then the songs were burned onto CDs. The week ended with a CD listening party and a concert that was open to the public. The camp gives the campers a chance to see the whole process of creating music and performing the end result. Every camp that Mullins Music puts together has a theme. The theme for Rock Studio was Memphis, which is the city known as the birthplace for Rock and Roll music. The songs chosen by the bands had to be related to Memphis in any way, such as mentioning the city in the lyrics or the song was originally created in the city. The bands formed through the camp are Route 64, Convergence, Keystone, and Insert Band Name Here. The mentors that guided the bands along were Eric Mullins, Marina Mullins, Coenraad Appelgrijn, and Andrew Legg. Eric Mullins is the executive director of Rock Music and Mullins Music, as well as one of the Rock Studio mentors, and he believes that the camp lets the youngsters explore and develop their musical talent. “We want them to have fun number one,” Mullins said. “And obviously we want to challenge them.” Coenraad Appelgrign was the mentor for the band, Route 64. He said that he hopes that Rock Studio gives the campers a chance to communicate in a more artistic way than just verbally talking. Rachel Bowns, 15, is a singer at Rock Studio and she believes that the camp helped her improve her knowledge about the different components of music and how to put it all together. “I’m learning how to listen to different parts of the music,” Bowns said. “I’m learning a lot about the recording system.” In the fall, Mullins Music is hosting another music camp called Rock Band, and it would take place during the school year.  ” - Nicole Carapolo

The Suncoast News

NEW PORT RICHEY — Local community music school Mullins Music is offering two music camps for youths ages 12-18 this summer. Rock Week, now in its seventh year, starts Monday and runs through Friday, said Eric Mullins, executive director of the music school. The camp takes place on the campus of Genesis Preparatory School, 7710 Osteen Road. Daily sessions, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., will culminate with a finale concert at 7 p.m. Friday. Student musicians are put into bands mentored by a faculty member during the week. In addition to rehearsals, there are competitive games and music history and music theory lessons. Next month, Mullins Music is adding a camp, Rock Studio, set for July 7-11 at Genesis Preparatory. Rock Studio focuses on the art of recording, Mullins said. The week ends with each band recording a compact-disc album and performing at their own CD release party. Students design and create the album and write original songs as well. Tuition for Rock Week costs $189, while Rock Studio will cost $199. Students who sign up for both camps earn a 10 percent discount. Scholarships are available for families who need financial assistance.  ” - Staff Reporter

The Suncoast News

NEW PORT RICHEY - At 6, Kierra Middleton has gone from hammering away on the keys of her toy Barbie piano to composing, playing and singing her own music. Her mom credits Mullins Music, a music education program in New Port Richey, with her daughter's improvement. She's had a love of music since she was born," said Kim Middleton. "But everything she knows, she learned from Mrs. Mullins. Marina Mullins runs Mullins Music with husband Eric. Based at the Trinity Family Church, the school has 20 students between 5 and 17 studying guitar, piano, clarinet, bass, drums, vocals and performance etiquette. My husband and I have both been music teachers since we were in college, and we feel like we have a lot to offer," said Mullins, whose father, Kobus Appelgrijn, is the pastor at Trinity Family Church. "We want, ultimately, to teach kids and grownups and to have the community come together to enjoy music. The teachers, who also include Mullins' brother, Coenraad Appelgrijn, encourage students not to let any obstacle stand in the way of developing their talents. I once knew a student who was told she couldn't play trumpet because she's a girl. That's terrible," said Eric Mullins, also a music teacher at Genesis Preparatory School. "I also know an accomplished jazz musician who was originally told that his fingers were too short and stubby to play jazz. Every student has a dream. Kierra would like to be a professional musician someday. I started hearing people playing music," said the Deer Park Elementary first-grader, who recently composed her first song, which she sings and plays on the piano. "I wanted to play music like those people. The school offers a diversity of activities, including the Rock Week summer camp in which students learn the ins and outs of being rock musicians. They get to experience an instrument, to write and record music, to learn the history of rock, which begins with the blues, and are put into bands," said Eric Mullins, who earned a music performance degree from The New School in New York City. Rock Week culminates with bands performing their own concert, complete with dressing rooms that have stars on the doors and refreshments inside. They learn how to interact with other bands," said Eric Mullins. "They learn if one band is playing, the other band should be there to support them - not trashing their dressing room. Graduates of last year's Rock Week program helped start East of Elsewhere, a Christian hard rock band based at Dayspring Academy that won Rack Room Shoes' Rock2School Music Video competition in November. Next month, Mullins Music will offer a program that explores the origins of modern music. Mullins also plans additional public concerts and recitals and hopes to gain nonprofit status, allowing it to reach more students in this area. Right now we're willing to work with students (who face financial challenges)," said Marina Mullins, who also teaches music at Montessori School in Safety Harbor. "What we ultimately want to do is offer music scholarships to kids.” - Megan Hussey

Tampa Tribune

Three months after forming, a group of teenagers from Pasco County has won a national music competition. By claiming first place in the Rack Room Shoes Rock2School contest, the Christian metal band East of Elsewhere is moving closer toward a career in the music industry. Besting competitors from 27 states, the New Port Richey quartet's videotaped rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" won an online poll that entitled them to a $5,000 prize for their school and a limo ride to the Rack Room Shoes in Gulf View Square mall on Thursday. . The prize money will be divided between Mullins Music, the nonprofit community music school in New Port Richey where the band formed, and Dayspring Academy, the school bass player and vocalist Amanda Blankenship, lead guitarist and vocalist Tommy Henthorne and guitarist and vocalist Nate Hollins attend. Those three met up with drummer Maddie Butler at Mullins Music's Rock Week this summer. The day camp gives young musicians a crash course in performing, songwriting and recording. Although the 13-year-olds played in separate bands during the camp, they discovered a common enthusiasm for music. We always tell the kids that they have to have fun when they play," said Eric Mullins, who founded Mullins Music with wife Marina. "These kids are passionate about music. The four also share a passion for Christian music. We believe Jesus is everything," Nate said. "You can depend on him for survival. The group writes and performs original songs such as "Mind's Eye" and "Tear Me Up," based on Biblical verses and an original arrangement of the classic "Carol of the Bells." The band also incorporates humorous touches into its shows, such as a heavy metal spin on the "Veggie Tales" theme. Through their hard rock look and music, the kids want to challenge the traditional image of Christian youth. We don't fit the image of perfect little church kids," Tommy said. The members also want to challenge the concept of a typical metal band. In this genre of music, many of the bands aren't necessarily Christian," Nate said. "We are. All members of East of Elsewhere have previous musical experience, ranging from school band participation to home-based lessons. I started playing when I was 6, and I've been singing my whole life," Amanda said. The group has played several shows already and is scheduled to play Dec. 3 at Mullins Music. Band members also plan on making a CD. We're good friends and we want to stick together as long as possible," Nate said. "We'd like to make this a career. For information about East of Elsewhere, visit the band's MySpace page: ofElsewhere.  ” - Megan Hussey

Tampa Tribune