Launchpad competition to rock Engler Center March 30Thursday, March 22, 2012 By Andrew Krause
On March 30, garage bands from Milwaukee to Hurley will come together to compete at Chilton High School’s Engler Center in a regional-level contest of the eighth annual Launchpad competition. Launchpad is a statewide competition organized by the Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) to celebrate the reach of music education. “It encourages students to creatively put into practice lessons learned in music classes by applying, in their own way, the skills learned,” said Tim Wurgler, WSMA program director. From more than 75 entries for the Green Bay region, WSMA selected 15 of the best bands to perform next Friday. Each band submitted a demo CD with three songs on it along with an essay about a teacher who inspired the band. One of these 15 bands selected from the Green Bay region is Pitch 13, a 6-member band consisting of students from St. Mary Central and Appleton North high schools. The members include bass guitarist Ethan Brew, vocalist Justice Payne, guitarist Michael Greif, percussionist Cam Anderson, keyboardist and vocalist Dana Schumacher and guitarist Brian Vanden Hogen. Pitch 13 mostly plays rock music from bands such as Three Doors Down, Green Day and Paramore. Founded in spring of 2011, Pitch 13 was inspired to launch by Mr. Mike Bailey, the lead singer of Vic Ferrari and the St. Mary Central choral teacher. Bailey, a Chilton native, told the future band members about a St. Mary Central band that won Launchpad back in 2006. Ever since, Pitch 13 has played for thousands of people at events such as Seafood Fest, a homecoming pep rally at Waverly Beach and Vic Ferarri’s Symphony on the Rocks at the Meyer Theatre in Green Bay as the opening act. “We’re really excited and preparing hard for the upcoming Launchpad show. It’s been tough with school athletics, illnesses and miscellaneous activities, but our hard work and determination have allowed us to put on four spectacular shows. We’re hoping for some nice crowds on the 30th, so come on out and have a good time!” said Pitch 13 bass guitarist and St. Mary Central sophomore Ethan Brew. The name “Pitch 13” was inspired by the fact that there are only 12 pitches in a chromatic scale, giving the band some irony along with the edge it needed for a catchy name. To qualify for Launchpad, at least one member of each band needs to be in a school music program, and all members must be enrolled in a Wisconsin high school or a WSMA member school. Each band is scheduled to play three songs from their audition in the competition. The songs are mostly covers, but some are even originals written by members of the bands. Professionals in the music industry will evaluate their performances based on expression and creativity, technique, time, blend and synergy in a written statement, followed by some verbal suggestions. The top three bands in each of the four regional Launchpad competitions, along with a wildcard band selected by online voters on Broadjam.com, will advance to the state finals on June 9. The finals will take place at The SETT on the Union South portion of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The 13 bands will compete for the Launchpad state title, which includes winning the Les Paul Launchpad Award, a professional recording session, a 2012 Summerfest gig and Yamaha equipment for the band’s school. “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 Dennis Graham, Launchpad’s producer. Launchpad will take place in CHS’s Engler Center beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 30. The event is open to the public, with admission being $7 for adults, $6 for non-CHS students and $3 for CHS students and children ages 10 and under. For more information on the other regional Launchpad competitions and other content, visit LaunchpadWisconsin.org .