By Steve Robinson | June 11, 2017 - 7:17 am
Posted in Category: The Normalite

Steve RobinsonIt was a recipe for the perfect, albeit slightly warmer than some would want spring day: Take seven musical acts comprised of teens and young adults, add the curious and the musicians and their fans and supporters, place in an ideal location that area residents already love, and mix.

That would describe the ingredients for the 4 ½ hour event known as “Young Summer Sounds” which featured seven musical acts mostly consisting of young people from local high schools and some recent high school graduates, which took place on the Roundabout in Uptown on Saturday, June 10.

The groups who performed included: Leah Taylor; Colton Stogner; Adrian and Olivia; Leah Marlene; Vapid Heights; Rose Room; and Sunday Afternoon. These individuals or groups displayed their talents for what looked like a crowd of a couple hundred people at any one time during sections of the event, folks who sat on the hill and its surroundings, with more folks passing through at times. These young people were looking to show their skills to the community.

Stephanie Chow, daughter of Dr. James and Dr. Michelle Chow, is a member of the group Rose Room, and will be a junior at University High School this fall, and was the organizer of this event. She got the job when she was contacted by the Town’s Uptown Manager, Joe Tulley. “Joe approached me with this idea that he had, an idea for a cool event, but said he thought it would be better if a person under-18 managed it.” On Saturday, Tulley was unavailable for further comment.

Chow’s mission clearly stated, was to reach out to contacts she knew in the local music scene to see what interest they would have in participating. She also placed ads on Facebook to spark interest in the event.

“From there, we organized it and made it happen,” Chow said, smiling. “I’m really happy that the bands got exposure because that was one of the motivations for making this event.”

Chow added, “It would be difficult to find gigs if not for the Town of Normal,“ Chow said. She added she began playing with bands when she was in fifth grade, doing so with bands at events like the Town’s Farmer’s Market and the Annual Worldwide Day Of Play event. Through those events, that’s where I saw a lot of other people play as well.”

Singer Has Been “Getting Gigs” Since 4th Grade:
Singer Leah Marlene said she has been playing music gigs, or “giging” as she called it, since 4th grade. She’s now lead singer for the local band called Vapid Heights. She will be a junior this fall at Normal Community West High School, and explained her band is a mix of kids from all the high schools in the Twin Cities and the county. When she hasn’t been in a band, “it’s been just me and my guitar,” she said.

Leah Marlene is the daughter of Derry and Deanne Grehan. Deanna Grehan said she advises parents who see, either that their child has a talent and wants to perform, or requests help in making that a reality to “be in tune with that and try to support them along the way. Starting them on piano is probably the best way to start as it’s the basis of all other instuments.”:00 – 7:30 Sunday Afternoon

“Sunday Afternoon” Played On This Warm Saturday: A band that plays a little rock, a little blues, and anything in-between, Sunday Afternoon, organized by 2017 Calvary Christian Academy graduate Austin Willis, has seven members from different high schools. Sunday Afternoon began last summer, and have had a few changes in membership since it started. The group will need to look for new members after this summer as four members of the group recently graduated and are college-bound this fall.

Illyana Lin, daughter of Leon and Deanne Lin, will be a junior at University High School this fall, and has always been interested in music, she said. She added she’s been “singing for as long as I can remember,” having taken voice lessons in sixth grade.

“I just like the freedom you have with music,” Lin said. “You get to interpret it to your own style, but you can keep the initial beauty of it, making it your own.”

Lin is also thinking ahead to her future career, too, but not as a musician, as it turns out. She’s learning about the world of Information Technology, and is currently interning at State Farm Insurance. She said when she gets to college, she will major in Computer Science. “I have to make money somehow,” she reasoned.

Other members of Sunday Afternoon are: DeMari Fennell, Jacob Labertew, Zack Rainey, Naomi Jacob, and Nick Saathoff.

All of the kids who took part in this event are to be commended for showing the community their skills in this format and kudos, too, to the Town of Normal, through Tulley, for asking young people to help reach out to other young people to find the talent for it using a one-of-a-kind approach.

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