When Ocean City resident Michael Kuzma was a teenager, music was his life.
The 29-year-old lead singer of the band Keep Em Low spent his teen years at the local VFW, which hosted performances by local bands. But nowadays he has noticed, because of liability issues and high costs, there aren't many opportunities for underage people to see and hear live music.
Kuzma is working on changing that, particularly in his hometown of Ocean City.
In partnership with the Ocean City Repertory Theater, in the 800 block of Asbury Avenue, Kuzma is organizing a Summertime Music Series bringing local live bands to its stage.
"I just want to bring live music to the area for these young people," he said. "All of the other arts are represented in Ocean City. We have our art galleries and theater groups, but we need a live music venue. I know what music meant to me at 14. When you're that age, it's everything."
The Summertime Music Series will be held the first Saturday of each month from June through September and will feature live performances by several bands on each date.
The June 1 lineup includes Lau, a reggae rock band from Winslow Township, Camden County, that defines its style as " a blending of ska, pop punk, surf and straight-up rock," Bad Year, a a rock band from the Atlantic City area, Duap Deville from Mullica Hill, Gloucester County, and Keep Em Low.
Theater Director Flossi Micciolo, who is lending out her theater for the monthly series, said she hopes the series will help get the word out to the community that the Ocean City Repertory Theater is as much a community music venue as it is a theater company.
"We are here for rock bands to perform, and we are also here to give all people a place to come and enjoy live music," Micciolo said. "Many times, musicians will meet at our theater and then go on to form a band from that.
"It's a place to network and gather like-minded people. Ocean City's music scene is right at the Ocean City Repertory Theater."
Kuzma said the goal is to use this summer series as a trial, and if all goes well, continue from there.
"This is something we'd really like to continue to do there," he said. "There's a lot of talent in our area. They just need a stage."
Contact Elisa Lala:
If you go
What: OCRT Summertime Music Series
When: The first Saturday of each month from June 1through Sept. 7 starting at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Ocean City Repertory Theater, 813 Asbury Ave.
Cost: To reserve tickets call 609-457-6686. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on a first-come basis.
Additional information on the four bands performing June 1, as well as the June 8 band lineup can be found on the Summertime Music Series Facebook page, facebook.com/oceancityrepertorytheater#!/events/436916729727839/