Auditions for this new class were held in mid-September and the house was rocked. Now, nine amazing talents are busy rehearsing for their debut gig at Cogswell College’s October 27 Open House. The band will perform in the Dragon’s Den around noon.
Faculty member, Bob Megantz, teaches the class. Megantz plays electric and acoustic guitar in a variety of styles, including jazz, latin, funk, rock and blues. He developed a unique style of finger-picked jazz guitar that allows him to play bass lines, harmony and chord-style solos simultaneously. This style evolved from his studies of Brazilian samba and bossa nova music. He currently performs in the Bay Area with Grooveline (latin rock), the Ron Gariffo Orchestra (jazz) and with his two sons, the Family Band (funk, rock, bossa nova, and jazz).
“We’re still working on the Rock Band’s repertoire; in fact, this is an important part of the learning experience,” said Megantz. “During the class we’re listening to a wide variety of music and studying theory and transcription so we can learn the songs together. We did this at our first rehearsal with “Sunday Morning,” by Maroon 5. Other songs currently in the repertoire are: “Watermelon Man” (jazz/funk), “Messin’ with the Kid” (blues), “The Thrill is Gone” (blues), “Rockin’ in the Free World” (rock), “Ma Cherie Amour” (Stevie Wonder), “At Last” (ballad), and “Give Me One Reason” (blues/pop). New songs are auditioned and added each week.”
Meet the Band:
Richard Lucas Ash has been playing guitar for 13 years, added harmonica about 3 years ago and started singing a year ago. The audition gave him the chance to display his rhythm guitar and solo guitar chops as well as sing two original songs – one that he made up on the spot. “In addition to being active in Cogswell activities, I’m motivated to be part of a ‘great’ musical group and to learn new performance techniques.”
Dylan Bruce plays the drums. While he hasn’t had any formal training, 11 years of practicing seems to have paid off. During auditions he was asked to jam along with a guitar and bass to varying styles of rock. “I want the chance to play the drums and not disturb the people who live in my apartment building.”
Jason Bursese has been playing drums and percussion for the past 17 years. During the audition he was asked to keep simple beats and jam with a bass player. His audition didn’t showcase all of his talents but he looks forward to doing more. “I love to play and I love playing with other musicians and performing.”
Kyle Johnson has been playing bass for 8 years. His audition gave him the chance to just play music. “I am looking forward to playing music while representing the school.”
Davain Martinez wants to focus on vocals which he has been working on for the past 7 years. The audition process gave him the chance to sing any song he wanted but was also asked to sing new material to show his ability to stay on key. “I want to see how a team of musicians of different backgrounds can come together.”
Sirena Mesa is a vocalist who has been singing since she was three. With no formal training, she hopes to develop skills in various genres of musical expression. “I think it will be a lot of fun and will give me a lot of practice time. I also like to meet new people and gain, with them, experience.”
Joslyn Morris is a vocalist but has also played violin, guitar, cello, viola, piano and xylophone. During the audition she sang a number of songs the judges asked for and part of the goal was to show she could follow by ear. “I love music and while I haven’t played the instruments since high school, I haven’t ever stopped singing, dancing and writing lyrics.”
Kiefer Stolte has been playing bass for 10 years. For his audition he performed “Messin’,” “Thrill is Gone,” “At Last” and “Billie Jean.” “I want to play shows.”
Jalajhn Wheeler has been playing trombone for 8 years. Her audition consisted of a prepared piece and then an improvisation. “I wanted a reason to be behind the horn again.”