The countdown continues for Launchpad – a unique alternative music competition for high school students statewide. Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) has selected 12 area garage bands to take the stage in a regional competition at Sun Prairie High School on Friday, April 10 at 4 p.m. The event, a pioneering initiative to extend the reach of music education in Wisconsin, will be open to the public. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students and $3 for children (ages 10 and under).
At least one person from each band must be in a school music program and all members must be currently enrolled in a Wisconsin high school and/or WSMA member school to qualify. The competing bands include:
4:25 p.m. Dropout Valedictorians – Sun Prairie High School and Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School, Sun Prairie (Rock)
4:50 p.m. Lewis St. – Middleton High School (Alternative)
5:15 p.m. Take the King – Oregon, Madison Memorial, Madison West and Mount Horeb High Schools (Rock)
5:40 p.m. Disq – Shabazz High School, Youth Initiative High School and Mount Horeb High School (Indie)
6:05 p.m. Big, Fat and Funky – Madison West High School (Funk)
6:30 p.m. Waiting for Reason – Waunakee high School (Pop/Rock)
6:55 p.m. Blossom Punch – Middleton High School (Acoustic Duet)
7:20 p.m. Ukulele Wednesday – Madison Memorial High School (Pop)
7:45 p.m. The Whyskers – Madison West High School (Rock)
8:10 p.m. After the Rain – Madison West High School (Rock)
8:35 p.m. This Side Up – Lake Mills High School (Rock)
9:00 p.m. Distant Cuzins – Oregon High School (Rock)
Please Note: Performance times and band listings are subject to change.
The bands are each slotted to play the three songs from their audition recordings. They will be evaluated by music industry professionals on their expression and creativity, technique, time, blend and synergy. In addition to the written evaluations, the bands will receive a private verbal critique.
“Launchpad is the ultimate experience for student musicians,” said Tim Wurgler, WSMA program director. “Kids form groups, practice, seek advice and create music all on their own, and their energy is amazing. It is the culmination of student-driven creativity that truly gives Launchpad the spark and excitement that you see on stage with each performance.”
The top three bands in each of the four statewide regional competitions will advance to the state finals, joined by an additional “wildcard” band selected out of all Launchpad entries through a worldwide voting system of listeners on Broadjam.com. The finals will take place on June 13 at The SETT, located within Union South on the UW-Madison campus. These 12 bands will automatically qualify to participate in the Summerfest Launchpad Regional Showcases in Milwaukee. The winning band will also receive the prestigious Les Paul Launchpad Award, an additional slot to perform at Summerfest, a professional recording session and a Yamaha equipment package for their school. In addition, the winning band will be invited to perform at the Les Paul Centennial Birthday Party in Waukesha on August 6.
“We have some very talented bands looking to perform in this Launchpad regional competition and cheering on the bands is a great way to show support for music and celebrate this one-of-a-kind garage band competition that highlights the many ways that students can expand their musical skills,” said producer Dennis Graham.
Launchpad is funded by WSMA, corporate sponsorships and in-kind giving from people who believe in the benefits of music education and all that music has to offer. Sponsors for the Madison regional competition include Les Paul Foundation, Nicholas Family Foundation, Yamaha Corporation of America, Sony, Wisconsin State Journal/The Cap Times, Courtier Foundation, TVW, WPS Charitable Foundation, Sosonic, Shure, Maximum Ink, Sherwood Press, WJJO FM, 93.1 Hot Jamz, 106.7FM/1670 AM The ZONE, Q106, Musicnotes/Songsterr, Voigt Music Center and Ward-Brodt Music Mall. The program is produced by Dennis Graham Associates.
For more information on Launchpad, including participation details, video footage of last year’s finals competition, all supporting sponsors, late-breaking news, etc., go to www.LaunchpadWisconsin.org. Make sure to like Launchpad on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, @LaunchpadWI. Please visit www.wsmamusic.org for more about WSMA.
Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) is a service organization with more than 1,000 member public and private schools. Each year, more than 100,000 students participate in over 220,000 events for WSMA activities, including District and State Music Festivals, State Honors Music Project, State Marching Band Championships, Student Composition Project, Launchpad and Concert Festivals. WSMA, headquartered in the Wisconsin Center for Music Education, is governed by a board of directors made up of superintendents, principals and other officers from all over our state. WSMA believes music is a basic human need and that all children have the right to experience all that music offers them.