When you think of doctors, you rarely picture them with an electric guitar in their hands playing hard rock … and you may not know that one of them lives in your backyard. Urbana resident Frank Becker, an internist for 25 years, and with the FDA for the past 11, is an accomplished guitarist and member of B-Side Ourselves, a rock band formed through the Frederick music school Let There Be Rock.
Becker played acoustic guitar in high school and college, but drifted away during medical school, his practice and family life. Twelve years ago, after closing his private practice, he found his way back to the guitar—this time electric. As he took lessons with his longtime local instructor, Don Byrd, and played along with his favorite CDs, he began to think, “I’m always by myself. I’d like to play with others. Maybe a rock band?” He became acquainted with the school’s founder, Scott Marceron, who had a band that needed a guitarist.
Marceron’s Let There Be Rock School on Industry Lane in Frederick guides teens and adults to the ultimate goal of performing onstage. Bands are formed according to age, ability and synergy. “Frank came in and we had a band that needed a guitarist. … We fit him into a band,” Marceron said. Real-world musician instructors are assigned to critique and provide direction and feedback during practice. “Some take lessons here, some on their own and come here to be in a band,” Marceron continued.
“What I love about the program,” Becker said, “is that we are students and there is no problem with trying new things. No one will say ‘you can’t do that.’ The result is that I’ve become a much better guitar player.”
Marceron explained that practices are tailored to a themed live gig every three months. Both teen and adult bands play at the Westview Champion Billiards and Sports Bar to packed houses. Adult bands play a Saturday night gig every three months at Olde Towne Tavern. “I never thought I’d get to play in a rock band on a Saturday night in a packed bar,” Becker enthused. His first love is Southern rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd his favorite group; however, learning new stuff and new ways of playing “ends up an appreciation of new music. Our generation grew up with so many guitar examples. It’s natural to gravitate to that type of music.”
Marceron and his wife, Kela, created Let There Be Rock School in January 2010 and many of their students reside in the Urbana area. They have a national presence with five other locations operating through licensing programs. Marceron is amazed at the growth within the county over the past 10 years and has enjoyed “watching this town turn into a diverse cultural experience. You can see art shows, touring bands, live glass blowing and DC and Baltimore chefs bringing restaurants to the area—amazing!” he said.
A Frederick County kid all his life, Marceron applauds the community for their resources. “Frederick is small-business based—they are here to support us,” he said.
The atmosphere of networking and cooperation has been a positive development in their success and in drawing people to the community. He said that the area sees what Let There Be Rock has been doing, playing in events such as Frederick’s In the Street, and they have responded with their support. Becker loves watching the young people and believes the Marcerons have created an environment where the kids want to be— on stage with instruments, singing and playing in front of people. “How great is that—it’s refreshing and inspiring!”
The school has a great track record for providing a safe and positive environment by functioning as a hangout where students do homework, eat dinner and practice their music with like-minded peers. “I was that kid who took private lessons in a mall,” Marceron said. The togetherness provides an incentive to practice and motivates musicians to achieve their goals. It builds teamwork and fosters encouragement.
Becker confirmed, “We’re all busy and have day jobs. It is nice to do this and have the support of the school. I show up and play. They are there to coach. It’s good for professionals with other careers who don’t have to worry about setting up auditions to form a band. The longer I stay here, the better I get!”
Marceron exudes an upbeat and accepting demeanor and has an open door/open arms approach. He acknowledges that being a teen is tough and he spends his time “part teaching music, giving advice, pep talks and helping kids get it together.” He goes the extra mile to make sure that his students are doing well in school and assists parents in creating a schoolwork/music plan and college prep and auditions. He has seen some of his students move on to music careers and attend schools such as the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts and Berklee College of Music. His greatest fulfillment is “watching kids grow into awesome young adults—the best thing I’ve ever done—give back, make people happy doing what they love!”
Becker enjoys the opportunity and said that Scott and his wife do a tremendous job. “They gave me an opportunity to play on Saturday nights. I haven’t closed a bar in years!”
Make time to be at the Olde Towne Tavern on North Market Street on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. to hear B-Side Ourselves. Check the Facebook page at Frederick Rock-School for dates/times on the next Champion Billiards Sports Bar gig as well as the acoustic singer-songwriter revue at Blue Side on Bentz Street. Visit the Let There Be Rock School anytime at 5732 Industry Lane or contact Scott Marceron at 301.668.6280.