This week, Tucson teens are learning about everything that goes into a live music show at the Rialto Theatre.

More than a dozen Tucson kids aged 12-17 are part of the Rialtos first ever StageCrafters Summer Program. Many of the participants are musicians themselves.

Music is meant to be celebrated and enjoyed together, said Rialto Theatre executive director Cathy Rivers. When you come to a show at the Rialto Theatre, you come in and get to see the magic. Theres a lot of work that goes into putting on that magic, and theyre learning all about that.

They have a lot less fear in their minds and they have a lot more creativity going on, said Heather Cossette, the Rialtos Lighting Director and Education Coordinator. So its really fun just to watch them absorb the information and then come up with new ideas on their own and come up with new ways to do things.

The week-long camp teaches the kids how to adjust lights and sound, as well as how to handle cables and equipment. They learn to tie special knots to safely and quickly hang lights onstage.

Rivers says special guests have come in this week to teach the kids how to market shows on social media and even book bands for a gig.

The kids will then put all that knowledge to work, setting up for a practice concert for a local band on Thursday, before breaking down the equipment on Friday.

They unload the bands gear, they plug it all in, they get the microphones set, the lights set, the sound set, and we have an actual concert, said Rivers.

Most of us in the industrylike sound, lighting, videoweve all learned from each other or taught ourselves, said Cossette. So theres a huge value of sharing knowledge with each other.

I wanna be in the music industry, pursue a career in it. So I figured, well, might as well learn all aspects about it, said Dash Chavez, who is attending the program and also plays bass and sings. I think its a really cool experience and every adult that Ive talked about this to said, Oh man, I wish I could be able to do that kind of stuff as a kid.

We got to unload a truck and we hung lights up and we get to learn how this stuff works, its pretty great, said Sophia Pontius, another attendee. Its really nice to be connected to a community like this, that has the same interest as I.

The Rialto already provides free education to Paulo Freire School and City High School, and Rivers says the hope is to expand that to more schools.

Adrian Duarte took the class at Paulo Freire for two years, turning that into an internship at the theatre. The high schooler has already run lights at a handful of shows at the Rialto.

Its really fun, its really different, he said. Cause theres a lot of people. And its like nerve-racking, but its a really cool experience Its a different world. And you kinda just forget about everything and can enjoy it.

“We want the Rialto to be part of Tucson forever, and for everyone to have a piece of that, because this is their theatre” said Cossette. “We want everybody in the community to be part of it and that’s why we’re bringing kids in. Their relationship begins now with the theatre.

Cossette thanks the Southern Arizona Heritage Foundation and Mountain Mike’s Pizza for helping make the program possible.