STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) – The deadline for middle and high school garage groups to audition for the statewide ROCKONSIN competition is approaching.
Groups in Wisconsin made up of students in grades 7 through 12 of any musical genre have until July 15 to submit a video of their group performing a song. Organizer Dennis Graham said he didn’t want bands buying equipment to make the video, adding that it can be shot on a phone. The songs can be a cover version or an original composition.
The videos will be judged by music professionals, many of whom have worked with major industry groups. Twelve bands will be chosen as finalists to perform on the Johnson Controls stage at Summerfest in Milwaukee on September 3-4. The finalist and winning group will perform The Big Gig on the BMO Harris Stage on September 18. They will also receive free materials and a professional recording session at Madison. Applying for groups is completely free, which can be done by clicking here.
Graham said they did not reveal the rankings of the groups except for the winner and runner-up, saying the contest was meant to give children the opportunity to connect with the music industry, to have the opportunity to develop their musical talents and learn. experience.
Stevens Point’s Scorched Waves have done the last 12 twice, once in 2019 and once in 2020. All but one band member graduated in 2020, so they won’t be applying for the third time, but they said the opportunities he presented to them launched their group forward.
“There is so much talent in Wisconsin and it all comes together in this same space. It’s a very inspiring place, but at the same time heartbreaking, ”said Tiernan Brinkman, 18, and the band’s lead singer, with a laugh.
The group formed about five years ago with two members who crossed paths in a music store.
“Eleven year old Damian comes in and asks for help lighting this electric drum kit, ‘Can you help me light it? “And then I hit the button and he started moaning,” recalls 18-year-old guitarist and backing vocalist Tyler Armstrong.
16-year-old Damian Kessler is the group’s drummer. Al Vuorinen, 19, is the bassist. Jaren Wojcik, 20, is on keyboard, percussion and backing vocals. They aren’t all the original band members, but they’ve been together for three years.
The band started playing covers, but were pushed to create originals when a UW-Stevens Point garage band contest called for originals. They now have about twenty original tracks and an EP.
“Girls and relationships are a very important thing that we write about, but we’re teenagers too, then,” Brinkman said with a laugh.
Armstrong and Kessler had heard of ROCKONSIN and they decided to show up and audition. They did well and said that the experience, the community and the opportunities it offered then and since have been monumental. They have performed at least 30 shows over the past few years and they are expected to perform at Waukesha Bluesfest this summer.
They said the judges are providing feedback they can use to improve themselves and that the community of bands taking to the ROCKONSIN stage at Summerfest is creating a new musical family. Scorched Waves says they often perform with these bands at other concerts, including one in Madison last Friday. They also learn from each other and build on each other to be successful.
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