#yoloswaG to Perform on the Last Day of School

| May 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

by Ruth Sensenig

Aidan, the alert drummer, leads the group with his reliable rhythms. No song is too tough for him; he studies it and works it out, then plays so confidently he makes it look easy.

Aidan, the alert drummer, leads the group with his reliable rhythms. No song is too tough for him; he studies it and works it out, then plays so confidently he makes it look easy.

The community is invited to come to the school to hear this year’s band class, performing as #yoloswaG, play on the last day of school, Wednesday, May 22.

For the most part, #yoloswaG performs covers of popular songs. Last semester they got the idea to play Bon Jovi’s “Wanted: Dead or Alive.” When they approached me with the idea in class, I enthusiastically broke into a bit of the chorus. They said, “You know this song, Ms. Sensenig?!” I responded with, “Sure, I’ve known this song since before you were born! Where did YOU learn it?” The answer was, of course, Guitar Hero.

Darrel is a versatile member of the team. He plays keyboards for the band, but he has recently taken up guitar and is teaching himself all kinds of riffs. It’s not unusual to hear echoes of Nirvana coming from his guitar.

Darrel is a versatile member of the team. He plays keyboards for the band, but he has recently taken up guitar and is teaching himself all kinds of riffs. It’s not unusual to hear echoes of Nirvana coming from his guitar.

When they’re learning a new song, the band typically spends some time listening to the song on Youtube and looking up tabs or chord sheets. The kids get out their phones and put on headphones to listen to tutorials of their part of the song. As they work, little by little the strains of the melody or the rhythm start echoing around the room. Eventually they get to the point where they are ready to start playing the song together; the first few times through, they play along with the original version. The first time through on their own is usually pretty rough, but a few more times through and the song starts to sound like the real thing!

Dylan alternates between electric and bass guitar. With a good ear for music, he is versatile in that he can master a solo part easily or play a rhythm part steadily.

Dylan alternates between electric and bass guitar. With a good ear for music, he is versatile in that he can master a solo part easily or play a rhythm part steadily.

By this time in the semester, a typical jam session—uh, that is, band class—consists of practicing the songs
for the concert, and then playing whatever they feel like playing. With all the instruments amped except for the drums which need no help to be loud, it makes for some ear-splitting noise, but the kids don’t seem to mind. This is a class where as a teacher, I never need to motivate students to work; they enjoy playing so much that it isn’t a chore, so they just do it.

Robert plays several instruments: keyboards and electric and bass guitar. On keyboards, he switches from heart wrenching ballads to rapid melodies.

Robert plays several instruments: keyboards and electric and bass guitar. On keyboards, he switches from heart wrenching ballads to rapid melodies.

The class is comprised of six young rockers, aged thirteen through fifteen, who have all the makings of a garage band except for the garage.  Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 8.37.03 PMAlthough former music teacher Rob Rurka helped at least half of them get started on their instruments, most of them have had very little in the form of formal music training or lessons; their skill comes mainly from hours spent hunkering over their instruments and poring over Youtube tutorials.

Sam

Sam plays a mean solo guitar in band; outside of class, he plays ukulele. Listen for classic rock like Led Zeppelin to emanate from his strings.

They pick up instruments between classes, before and after school, and at home. The school owns some of the instruments, and the rest of them, including drums, amps, and sound equipment, are on long-term loan from Rurka, a man whose love for music, Seldovia, and kids has led him to invest his time and his money into the music program here.

For the upcoming concert, #yoloswaG will be joined by guest singer, Axcenia Waterbury, who has been coming to class to practice with us.

Travis

Travis is the only one of the six fearless enough to perform vocally. He also challenges himself on keyboards and is starting to tinker around on bass.

Keep an eye out for more details, but the schedule usually runs something like this:

School picnic at 12:00 pm
Festivities at 1:00 pm

The band should begin playing shortly after 1:00, although there are a few other things scheduled that afternoon as well.

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