Knoxville, Tenn. Students Named Best Teen Band in the USA
With $5,000 for Farragut High School’s music education program, new gear and a professional music video recording session in hand, Knoxville teens return home with coveted title and heads held high. Next stop: Frankfurt, Germany.
Last night, one of Knoxville, Tenn. teen bands’ dreams came true, as they were crowned “Best Teen Band in the USA,” at the National Association of Music Merchants’ (NAMM) SchoolJam USA competition at Downtown Disney District.
Competing against seven other bands, Ergo We Play played a 15-minute set, comprised of original music, to a crowd of nearly 500 fans and a judges panel of music professionals. With thoughtful lyrics, a non-conformist style and commanding stage presence, Ergo We Play swept the competition.
“I have no words to describe how we feel right now,” said band drummer Chandler Kucera. “To work so hard and beat out seven other amazing and ridiculously talented bands is just crazy. If this is a dream, I don’t want to wake up!”
When describing the impact that winning will have on the band’s school music education program, bassist Sam Travis said, “A huge part of our excitement is that we can bring home cash for our school music program. We feel like we’re doing something big in that way and we know it because we have so many text messages from back home right now. They’re all freaking out.”
“SchoolJam USA is about discovering the joy of playing and writing new music with friends. It’s our pleasure to shine a spotlight on this year's talented finalists during the NAMM Show and, in turn, support school music programs across the country," said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM.
In addition to earning the evening’s grand title, Ergo We Play also took home $5,000 for Farragut High School’s music education program, $1,000 toward the purchase of new band gear, a private music video recording session on the John Lennon Educational Bus, and a grand-prize trip of a lifetime to perform at the 2013 SchoolJam Germany finals in Frankfurt in April.
“Twilight” sensation Booboo Stewart and his sister, Fivel, entertained the crowd with a special performance of their new single, “FreeZe,” and emceed the competition together with Channel One News anchor Scott Evans.
The eight band contestants were chosen from more than 116 applicants by a combination of music industry professionals and more than 260,000 public votes.
Ergo We Play was awarded the winning title by a panel of judges including: Disney talent casting director Stan Freese, Irwin Kornfeld of InTune Partners and Westchester Media, Menzie Pittman of Contemporary Music Center, and Michael Smith of Peavey Electronics Company.
Second and third-place runners-up included: Cheating Daylight and Harlem Shuffle. Additionally, specific individuals were recognized for their talents in the following "Best Of" categories:
- Best Bass: Connor Gill, Cheating Daylight
- Best Percussion: Alex Garcia, Premium Blend
- Best Guitar: Thomas Detchemendy, Ergo We Play
- Judges Prize: Jesus Cervantes, Premium Blend
- Best Keyboard: Isaac Boyle, Premium Blend
- Best Vocals: Sierra Fry, Harlem Shuffle
Prizes for the "Best Of" awards were provided by NAMM Members JamHub, Inc., Peavey Electronics Corporation, Future Sonics, Kelly Concepts, ZT Amplifiers, Jammit Inc, Pickbandz, Mighty Bright, and Yamaha Corporation of America.
The evening’s "Fan Favorite" award was presented to Beyond Doubt, which received 43% of the text message votes during the live finals competition.
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SchoolJam is an established music initiative, originally developed by MM MusikMedia Germany to promote popular and rock music in schools throughout Germany. The program has provided thousands of music-loving young adults with the opportunity to perform and network with their peers, increasing their love for playing music and encouraging them to become active musicians.
Elizabeth Lascaze, GolinHarris
Public Relations | Phone: 213-438-8719
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,900 members located in 100 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.