Reindeer’s OFF-RAMP HS Band Competition Off To A Great Start

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November 9, 2010

 

About 250 fans enjoyed the kick-off of Reindeer Record’s new statewide high school rock band competition called THE OFF-RAMP: Exit 26 this past Saturday at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center.

It was the first rock show to be presented at Westbrook’s new performing venue, and it was clear to all who turned out that Westbrook’s gem of a venue provided the ultimate top-notch professional concert setting.

The all-ages Showcase introduced the 10 bands that are taking Reindeer’s six-month music-industry based challenge:  ARMISTICE – Scarborough HS, Biddeford HS; BEWARE OF PEDESTRIANS – Gorham HS, Scarborough HS; CROSSED OUT – Gorham HS; MIDNITE HAZE – Telstar Middle/HS;  PHANTOM COMPANION – Falmouth HS, Waynflete; STUCK IN NEUTRAL – Boothbay Region HS; THE MODEST PROPOSAL – Freeport HS; THE RESISTANCE – Erskine Academy, Maine Central Institute, Warsaw Middle School; THE STUDY OF WUMBO – Scarborough HS, Kennebunk HS; WHERE’S ROBERT? – Mt. Ararat HS, Morse HS, Brunswick HS.

“The bands showed some amazing creativity and incredible confidence,” said Louis Philippe, producer of The Off-Ramp.  “I was as surprised as I was proud,” he said of the young bands—some middle school students, one 11-year-old drummer—who all displayed “the highest level of professionalism, and a superb array of musicianship.”

One by the one, the bands easily pleased the receptive crowd with their unique presentations and trademark genres—pop, punk, alternative, blues-rock, progressive, post hard-core, heavy metal, neo-folk.

When all the bands had presented their “15-minutes of potential”, they were each brought back to the stage where they faced the review and critique by Reindeer’s Advisory Panel:  Tatiana Aviles, a hip-hop/r&b singer, songwriter and recording artist; Ed Candelmo, singer, DJ, Karaoke Host, actor; Kathy Eliscu, writer and columnist for Maine Sunday Telegram’s Boomers, Current Publishing’s Maine Women magazine, and Raising Maine, and also a one-time singer for Rick Pinette; Louis Grassi, Portland singer-songwriter and recording artist; and Pamela Mancuso, aka “Goldi Rox,” singer, songwriter and former model.

In the end, the bands returned to their garages, attics and rehearsal spaces with a clearer focus on the first task of their six-month Off-Ramp journey:  To write and record a song entitled “I Scream At Walls,” that will capture the youth experience of facing challenges, adversity and emotional trials.

The Off-Ramp is only part of the bigger picture for Reindeer, i.e. to create and implement a music-industry based curriculum to be presented through Maine’s Alternative Education system.  “We’re going to monitor and evaluate our 10 bands through this entire journey and try to incorporate their experiences into the curriculum-building process,” Philippe stated.

Reindeer Group Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is seeking to raise $140,000 to create and market RAMP, Reindeer’s Alternative Music Program.  Donations and Grants will be used to hire education-based professionals to help develop a curriculum that is aligned with the Maine State Learning Results as well as to acquire the necessary equipment and software to produce 45 state-required hours of instruction in a DVD package and to train and hire a film crew.

Current Publishing is the official Media Partner of The Off-Ramp and will soon launch its online coverage of the entire journey, highlighting all the bands with soundclips, pics, bios, video interviews and online polls, at http://www.keepmecurrent.com.  For information about the curriculum, contact Reindeer at 857-9002 or http://www.reindeergroup.org.

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