OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The owners of Rock U2 Academy of Popular Music in Ocean Springs have received the top award given by the Mississippi Small Business Association, Small Business Persons of the Year.
All just for making young people happy.
"We get to come to a building that's filled with children and laughter and music every day," said Tim Alamsha. "I just don't think there could be anything better than that."
He and his wife, Barbara, were classically trained musicians who formed a touring rock 'n' roll band, and now, they turned that love into a love for teaching children.
"The things as young musicians we needed was a place to practice, other people that shared our interest in music, places to perform," Tim said. "So, it's kind of how it all came about."
The business started in 2011 with 35 students and six teachers. Now, there are 225 students and 17 teachers. One of the centerpieces is the room where they teach kids how to rock 'n' roll, but that's not all. At the academy, there is a studio where Tim works with students or other groups wanting to produce and record their own songs.
In the sprawling complex, they teach almost every instrument. In the last few years, the business has added acting and dancing to the curriculum.
And every semester, they perform - just about everywhere.
"We feel like proud parents - all these kids," Barbara said. "Just seeing them at a concert or recital get up there on stage and to be able to perform in front of 250 depends sometimes 400, even more, people."
But the ultimate goal isn't music. It's life lessons through music.
"Our goal is really to teach goal setting, teamwork, being able to provide regular performing opportunities to build up self-esteem and self-image," Tim added.
The academy is planning on adding summer camps in music, dancing, and acting.
Rock U2 will be presented the state award May 3 in Jackson during Small Business Week.