Kids Who Rock 4

A Sampling of Rock U Live Performers

In 2009 Jared Barney founded Rock University Guitar School in Draper with the desire to pass on the gift of guitar to others. “Our program is designed to not just teach guitar, it is designed to develop confidence and self-esteem in each student,” states Jared. It was with this idea in mind that “Rock U Live” was born. “We wanted to create a forum that would not only showcase the talent of the students, but also give them the opportunity to grow as people. We didn’t want it to be just a normal recital. We wanted it to be a rock show. So each year, we bring in lighting trusses, staging gear, truckloads of equipment and even food for the green room in the hopes of giving each student the opportunity to find their inner rock star and feel like a VIP, all while growing confident in life.” Rock U Live began as one show on a Saturday morning years ago. Today it has grown into a two-day event, encompassing six shows and showcasing over 120 amazing performers.

The following Rock U students are winners of a Facebook contest held by Draper Lifestyle magazine. Families and friends voted on some of their favorite Rock U Live performers and these were the top 15.

Max Summerhays

Age: 11

How long have you played guitar? Just over two years

Favorite guitar memory: Rock U concerts

Who inspired you to play guitar? Both of my Grandpas and my uncle Tyson all play the guitar and I wanted to be like them.

Ultimate guitar dream: I’d like to become a guitar teacher and help kids learn to play the guitar.

Anything else? I like to be with my friends, family and do flips on the tramp.

Sophie Poulson

Age: 11

How long have you played guitar?  About five years

Favorite guitar memory: When I did a singing telegram to ask a girl to prom for my cousin.

What inspired you to play guitar?  I can’t remember specifically. I just remember telling my parents that I wanted to learn to play the guitar when I was five or six.

Ultimate guitar dream: Playing and singing the National Anthem at a RSL game.

Kate deBry

Age: 12
How long have you played guitar? Five years

Other instruments? Violin

Favorite guitar memory?  Playing in my school talent show

Who inspired you to play guitar? I used to love Taylor Swift and wanted to be able to play and sing her songs. My dad also plays the guitar and I wanted to play like him.

Ultimate guitar dream: I would love to keep getting better at guitar and be able to write songs that I could perform at concerts.

Anything else? I’m a swimmer and I love to hang out with my friends.

Zach Gardner

Age: 16

How long have you played guitar? Seven years

Other instruments? I mess around on piano a lot, but guitar is definitely my main instrument.

Favorite guitar memory: I wish I could think of a particular moment, or great story, but the real truth is just that guitar is a part of who I am. I love playing for people. I enjoy sharing that talent.

What inspired you to play guitar?  I got a toy guitar when I was very little and loved that thing. Ever since then I wanted to have a “real” guitar. Playing with Jared showed me that I could express my personality through guitar. He taught me that I can put my own spin on things and make them unique.

Ultimate guitar dream: I would love to teach guitar. I would love help other kids learn to love guitar like I do. I think knowing that I shared that gift of music with someone would be awesome.

Hannah Brown

Age: 15

How long have you played guitar? Four years

Other instruments? Singing is my passion and I also play the piano.

Favorite guitar memory: Every time I finish performing a song in front of an audience and they start cheering. I work hard with my music and preforming is something I want to do for the rest of my life, and when my practices and performances pay off it is so rewarding and the best feeling ever!!

Who inspired you to play guitar? My uncle taught me one song on the guitar and I fell in love with the instrument right away. Eventually I learned more chords and songs and sang along to the music, which is now my favorite thing to do.

Ultimate music dream: To sing and play my music on a huge stage every night in front of crowds of people that sing along with me to my songs., 

Kaylee Rigby

Age: 14

How long have you played guitar? Four years

Favorite guitar memory: Playing guitar for everyone at my Pap’s 70th birthday party. I was really nervous, but it was exciting too. Everyone was so positive afterward and made me feel really good. Playing at two of the Rock U concerts is a very close second. They were both scary but wonderful experiences. Thanks, Jared!

Who inspired you to play guitar? I was inspired to play guitar by the worship team at my church (South Mountain Community Church). I loved watching them sing and perform. They seemed to enjoy it so much, and they were able to lift kids up each week with their music. I always had an interest in playing guitar, and seeing kids that were not much older than me really encouraged me to start playing too. I would love to play in the worship band in the future.

Ultimate guitar dream: My ultimate dream would to be to perform on stage with Taylor Swift in front of a sold out arena. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Anything else? I love FOOD, my friends, my family, music and cheer.

Kamdyn Simons

Age: 7

How long have you played guitar? One year

Any other instruments? Piano

Favorite guitar memory: My Rock U Live performance.

Who inspired you to play guitar? Seeing my older brother play on stage at Rock U Live.

Ultimate guitar dream: Play guitar on stage with Taylor Swift

Anything else? Rock University is the BEST!!!

Alyssa Brown

Age: 14

How long have you played guitar? I have been playing guitar for 4 years.

Other instruments? I also play piano, but I like guitar a lot better.

Favorite guitar memory: My cousin and I started playing on the deck of some house all of us were renting for a trip, and then the people staying in the house next to us came out on their deck and we gave them a private concert.

What inspired you to play guitar? I love to watch singing shows like American Idol and The Voice and all the singing award shows, so when I was little we watched those shows everyday. My favorite performances to watch were the ones that were singing and playing guitar ’cause I thought it was just so cool how they played that thing. I asked my mom if I could learn how to do that and then I started guitar lessons.

Ultimate guitar and music dream: My ultimate music dream would be to make it onto The Voice. My ultimate guitar dream would be to release an album all with me playing guitar.

Instagram- alyssabrownmusic  Instagram- alyssamichelle.b

Colter Barney

Age: 10

How long have you played guitar? 2.5 years

Favorite guitar memory: My first Rock U concert. I was nervous, but I did better than I expected and had a lot of fun. I got hooked after that.

Who inspired you to play guitar? Uncle Jared. I liked how he always played for the family and I enjoyed listening to him. He’s so good.

Anything else? Guitar has introduced me to a world of music that I had not been exposed to yet. I quickly realized how much I enjoyed music in my life.


Blake Hullinger

Age: 9

How long have you played guitar? About 1 year

Other instruments? Piano, Ukulele  

Favorite guitar memory: Lessons with Jared

Who inspired you to play guitar? My brother Kellen

Ultimate music dream: Becoming the most successful musician ever.

Anything else? Love to play Lacrosse

Kellen Hullinger

Age: 13

How long have you played guitar? About 2 years

Any other instruments? Piano

Favorite guitar memory: When I first performed in New Zealand.

Who inspired you to play guitar? My Dad. When I was little, he would hold the guitar, sit me on his lap, and let me strum it like crazy.

Ultimate guitar dream: To go down in history as one of the best guitarist ever known.

Anything else? I enjoy art and I like learning new things. My brother and I love performing. We have booked events at restaurants, festivals and parties at Park City Moutain Resort, Deer Valley, Classic Fun Center, SLC, Boise, Phoenix, Margaritaville in Florida and all over New Zealand. Locally, we play at Even Stevens Draper restaurant every second Thursday of the month from 6-8 p.m. Come rock out with us!,,, BroBandRocks, Snapchat: brobandrocks

Gavin Thomas

Age: 14

How long have you played guitar? Six years

Favorite guitar memory: My first Rock U Concert playing “Blackbird” by the Beatles.

Who inspired you to play guitar? I wanted to because my brother got a guitar and I wanted to learn too.

Ultimate guitar/music dream: Play with John Mayer

Lacy Wilder

Age: 15

How long have you played guitar? 10 months

Any other instruments? Ukulele

Favorite guitar memory: Playing at rock U live

Who inspired you to play guitar? My older brother always played the guitar and when he wasn’t home I would sneak and to his room and strum his guitar with coins. And my sister teaches at Rock U.

The LeSueur Sisters

Lucy LeSueur

Age: 12

How long have you played guitar? 11 months

Any other instruments? Piano

Favorite guitar memory: My first lesson at Rock U, Jared, my teacher, asked my what nickname my sister called me (because my sister is a teacher at Rock U!!) and I said “Chicken Noodle Soup,” cause that’s what my sister calls my sometimes!! From then on Jared always calls me Chicken Noodle Soup!

Who inspired you to play guitar? My sister Kate has a really good voice and is SUPER awesome at playing the guitar and I always wanted to be just like her!!

Ultimate music dream: My sister Kate and I to become a famous musical duo!

Anything else? I love playing soccer and all other sports, I also like reading and playing with my friends!! And obviously playing guitar and singing!!

Kate Lesueur

Age: 19

How long have you played guitar? I got my first guitar when I was four, but started taking lessons at eight!

Any other instruments? The piano and ukulele!

Favorite guitar memory? Learning my first song with Jared and jammin’ out for the first time in a lesson! SO FUN! But I would say, since becoming a guitar teacher, my favorite memories come from watching students learn and develop their skills through hard work and practice!

Who inspired you to play guitar? I was SO inspired by Jared Barney! As a teacher, he pushed me and helped me accomplish everything I wanted to! No one is a better boss, mentor and teacher!

Ultimate music dream: To become a duo with my cute little sister Lucy!

Anything else? I play lacrosse for BYU, and LOVE what I do!

Insta: @kateelesueur

Branton Martinson

Age: 15

How long have you been playing guitar? Six years

Favorite guitar memory: So many! Jared makes sure of that. A few years ago we had a guitar concert. Before you go on stage there is a lot of nervous energy. You don’t want to trip, sound pitchy or mess up. Your family and friends are waiting, watching. My performance went awesome. I immediately went from anxious to euphoric. Everyone was clapping I heard my name being yelled out. It felt so good. Then out of nowhere my teacher Jared grabs me and throws me up on his shoulders. It really was the best way to end my performance. I will always remember that day.

How did you decide to play guitar? My dad thought I would enjoy playing the drums. He took me to the store. The second we walked in all I could see were the guitars. It’s like they were calling my name. My dad tried to pull me away to go look at the drums when a guy who worked there came up and said “when a child chooses an instrument, go with it”. We never looked back!

Ultimate music dream: My guitar brings me happiness. I hope it always will.

Anything else you want people to know? Jared Barney and all the teachers at Rock U are the best. They not only teach you how to play, they teach you to enjoy what you play. I’ve never been just a student. I know I’ve found my success because I’ve had such a great teacher.