Student Success

Introduction

This part of the website shows the success of some of our guitar students as well as some press and places they have played. As a guitar teacher, my motto is:

“My teaching reflects on how well my students grow as musicians”.

Some Places Students Have Played At Are:

  • Whalley festival
  • Kingswood Elementary
  • Cruisers Diner
  • The Bay - Guidford
  • Sullivan Elementary
  • A.P. Matthew School
  • Maple Secondary School
  • Holly Park Elementary
  • Mclosky School
  • Tom Lee Grand Opening -Guildford
  • Roger’s Cable Generation Why.
  • Cruise-In Days
  • Surrey Sports And Leisure Centre (Fleetwood Pool)
  • Spirit of the Sea Festival
  • Rogers Cable Plugged in T.V. Show
  • Canada Day Celebrations
  • Newton Festival
  • Surrey Children’s Festival
  • Mayfair 2000
  • Erma Stephenson Elementary
  • VTV Breakfast T.V. Show
  • Newton Community Center Preteen Dance
  • Godson Elementary
  • Serpintine Heights Elementary
  • Sheraton Hotel (Wedding)
  • W.E. Kinvig School Diversity dinner
  • Hip Hop for Hunger - Surrey Food Bank
  • Pinewood Elementary
  • Fraser Wood Elementary Halloween Dance
  • The Bay (Guildford) - Teen Night
  • Guildford COmmunity Center
  • Opening of fraser Heights Secondary School
  • CBC Radio Afternoon Road Show
  • Grand Opening Of Fleetwood Pool
  • Nights Alive - Community Activity
  • New Music West
  • Fleetwood Community Center Preteen Dance
  • Tynehead Hall
  • Music Warehouse
  • Delta Firehall
  • Croation Cultural Centre
  • Movie Under The Stars
  • Langley Canada Day
  • Concert in the Park Langley
  • Youthfest @ Guildford Rec Centre
  • Cyclebetes
  • Clova Cinema
  • The Cloverdale Rodeo
  • Wise Hall
  • The Venue
  • Free the Children 24 hour Dance-a-thon
  • Hoko’s
  • Backstage Lounge
  • The Princeton Pub
  • Railway Club
  • Cates Park North
  • The Riverfront Pub
  • The Media Club
  • Slainte by the Pier Whiterock
  • Pub 340
  • The Bourbon
  • The Cellar
  • Plaza Of Nations BC Lions Pre-Game Show
  • Station Square
  • The Penthouse
  • The Rockanagan Festival
  • Party Bunker
  • Lee’s Palace Toronto
  • Pat’s Pub

News Article Clippings:

The time is ripe for Grapes

 

After less than 2 years together, young Surrey band causing a buzz.

By Sheila Reynolds

“Hey, do you want some grapes?”

“No thanks, I’m good for grapes.”

And that, quite simply, is how it all began.

It was about a year-and-a-half ago when Graham Gomez and some friends were heading to Victoria, planning on doing some busking on the streets of B.C.’s capital.

In the car on the way, Alexa Unwin offered Gomez some grapes. And Graham delivered the quirky response they all laughed about later.

Once on the ferry, the teens brought out their instruments and began practicing on the outside deck.

A small group gathered to listen. And then more people stopped. And more. They thought B.C. Ferries had perhaps hired summer entertainment.

Eventually, a crowd so large formed that the young musicians felt they ought to carry on, and played almost an entire set during the hour-and-a-half crossing.

Afterward, some of the new-found fans asked the name of the band.

Gomez and his friends glanced at one another, uncertain what to say because really, they didn’t have a band.

“Good For Grapes,” they finally answered.

The moniker stuck. And so did the novel idea of forming a cohesive group.

Good For Grapes, an alternative folk ensemble with a Celtic slant, is now comprised of Unwin (keyboard, vocals), Gomez (guitar, vocals), Daniel McBurnie (lead vocals, guitar), Sean Mackeigan (accordion), Jesse Brook (trumpet, trombone, flute) and Robert Hardie (bass, vocals).

Five of the band’s six members – all between 18 and 19 years old – met at Fleetwood Park Secondary, where they became close while in the school’s drama and music programs. 

“We didn’t really start playing music together having a band in mind. We just started jamming,” said McBurnie, who also does all the writing for the group.

After a while, however, they began writing songs and started playing together more. It all came about almost by unintentionally, McBurnie admits.

They took in Brook (who’s from Alberta) after advertising for a brass player – a unique sound they felt was needed to expand the band.

Now, after less than two years together, the band is making great strides and gained a strong fan following. Within the first year, they won both Roger’s Music Battle of the Bands and Supernova’s Band on the Run to the UK, as well as attracting the attention of an array of music industry representatives.

They recorded a six-song EP last April and recently released two studio tracks on Facebook.

Oh Dear was released in early October and has logged a couple thousand plays and 100 or so downloads. The latest song, Skipping Stone, has only been out for a couple of weeks but already has nearly 200 plays and 32 downloads.

Late last year, Good For Grapes was taken on by Watchdog Management (a division of S.L. Feldman & Associates) who represent talent such as Hedley, Mother Mother and Colin James).

The young ensemble also had the opportunity – after beating 150 other bands in a contest – to open for Mother Mother at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver at the end of December.

Playing at such as historic venue opening for a successful band was almost life-altering for the young musicians.

“It was incredible. It’s unlike anything we’d ever done before,” said McBurnie. “It really made us feel like we’d want to do that kind of thing for the rest of our lives.”

The gig served to cement their commitment, as well.

“By this point, all of us have gotten together and said ‘is this something we want to pursue?’ and it’s 100 per cent yes for all of us,” McBurnie said.

The next big move is to launch a debut album. But the group wants to first ensure they’ve got plenty of support – something they plan to build during a cross- Canada tour this summer.

“We have all our stuff ready, but what we want to do now is tour around and get our fan base to grow so we can support that album.”

 

THE STORY OF HER LIFE

Performance earns singer top spot in Variety’s got Talent

 

By Brenda Anderson

A Surrey high school grad has one more item to add to her list of accomplishments. Shylo Sharity has been named the top performer in a talent contest leading up to the annual Variety Club Show of Hearts.

The 22-year-old’s acoustic performance of The Story by Brandi Carlile was enough to win over the judges at the Variety’s Got Talent contest held last Friday (Feb. 4th) at the Red Robinson theatre in Coquitlam.

Sharity was named the winner among the top 11 performers picked from as many as 300 people who auditioned online for the contest.

The Singer, who was a 2006 graduate of Pacific Academy in Surrey and is in her final year of a communications degree at Trinity Western University, described the scene inside the sold-out theatre as “crazy”.

And the assessment comes from a young woman who is no stranger to the stage. From bands to church musical groups to standing alone on stage with a guitar or just a microphone in her hand, Sharity has been performing in front of live audiences since she was six years old, including touring with Winter Harp.

These days, however, her focus is more on writing and recording, she said over the phone during a break between university classes.

Although she has plenty of original music at her disposal, Sharity was advised to sing something people would know for the competition, as opposed to one of her own compositions.

She rehearsed for a week and posted her audition video.

Sharity chose the Carlile piece, she said, because it fit her style.

When she’s just sitting around and listening to music, she prefers more “hardcore” tunes, Sharity said, naming Paramore and The Devil Wears Prada as a couple of her favourite acts.

But when she’s writing and singing, the result is a more “jazzy acoustic flare.”

“It’s more acoustic pop, fun and young and something girls my age can relate to.”

And because all her friends play and sing, Sharity is able to combine her social life with a chance to collaborate with other young artists.

Over the past 16 years, she has racked up a few screen credits as well, appearing as a singer in the television series Dead Like Me and earning roles in made- for-television movies Door to Door, starring William H. Macy and Kyra Sedgewick, and School of Life, starring Ryan Reynolds.

However, the young performer has but her acting career on the back burner for now.

“I’d like to (pursue a career in music). It’s not the eaiest road, but anything is possible,” she said.

The Variety Show of Hearts Telethon airs on Saturday and Sunday, and while Sharity’s uncertain whether she’ll sing (the Feb. 4 performance will be shown, she believes) she will be interviewed as part of the annual fundraiser for B.C

Click here to watch her performance on Global TV.

 

The Clova Cinema rocks

By Paul Fitzgerald

On Feb. 19, the Clova Cinema presented two of Cloverdale’s up and coming artists, Last Call Home and Ransom For the Captives. Both these bands and another band they invited, Sally’s Hot, from Port Moody put on an amazing show.

I have to give a lot of praise to these kids. With the professionalism displayed and the ability and talent shown, it showed me what today’s teens can accomplish.

I am a resident of Cloverdale, a music lover and have the joy to be able to review shows as a passion. I thought the whole event was very well done. All three of these bands have a future in performing. There were the occasional technical difficulties but the soundman and the musicians recovered quite quickly and the show never missed a beat.

The concert opened with Last Call Home. This quartet from Cloverdale, who are students at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, did a tight, well-produced act. Guitar/ vocalist, Sam Hobeyn is a natural frontman, also shared with Matt Friesen on guitar and vocals who split the singing between them. Carson Hoy on drums and Jordon O’Donovan on bass both played fantastic.

Well done guys. Your original work was great and the cover tunes were equally well done.

I have to say congratulations to The Clova Cinema. It is a great venue to showcase these young artists and the community needs to help promote our young talent whenever it can.

I’m looking forward to seeing more acts at The Clova.

 

RAPID LAUNCH FOR ORBIT

Youth band landing gigs in Surrey - and beyond

By Sheila Reynolds of the Surrey/North Delta Leader

Some of the songs they cover are nearly four decades older than they are. But that doesn’t make any difference to the members of the band Orbit. They just want to play good music - and play it well - whether it’s The Who’s “My Generation” or “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. The quintet of teens and pre-teens officially formed last summer and is comprised of lead singer Sam Hobeyn, lead guitarist Ashleigh George, bass guitarist Matthew Gray, rhythm guitarist Gavin Ackerman and drummer Matt Stockwell. The group was started by George and Gray, who were previously in a band called The What. After leaving that group, they collected Ackerman, who takes guitar lessons at the same studio. He was thrilled to be asked to join after being spotted at a year-end recital. “I was really excited” says Ackerman, who also sings backup. “I love music - music is my passion. My whole family loves it.” They then found Stockwell, who would readily take the place of their fill-in drummer, and early this year, after parting ways with their original singer, took on Hobeyn to lead the group vocally. Stockwell admits he was more into hockey than his drums when the notion of joining a band arose, but thought he’d try something different. And so far, he hasn’t regretted a thing. “It’s a really good experience for the future because I’, working on my stage presence,” says Stockwell, 14. “I think I’m playing better no and I’m a lot more confident.” Fourteen-year-old Gray, in grade 8 at Fleetwood Park Secondary with Stockwell, is pleased with the current ensemble. “They’re all great players and great performers” he says. “We all click very well, even off the stage.” And though it hasn’t even been a year since they formed their “permanent” lineup, Orbit’s gigs are coming in fast. They’ve played pre-teen dances and birthday parties, as well as special events and fundraisers. Just this spring, Orbit competed in Surrey City Jam 2010, where they were finalists in the pr-teen category. And more recently, the group performed in Cyclebetes, a fundraiser for juvenile diabetes that was held at Elgin Park Secondary, where the crowd of 200 was four times larger than expected. The kids however, say bring it on – the more the better. “It’s really awesome to get all the feedback from the audience – knowing they really like you,” says George, a grade 6 student at Langley’s Belmont Elementary. “It makes me and the band play better.” “It just feels great,” adds Gray. “Every time you get on stage you feel at home.” “It’s really great when you can get out and perform, but to be able to do something good, that’s great, too.” Hobeyn has been surprised by the speed of the band’s quick rise in popularity and really didn’t expect to be playing in front of such large crowds. But Orbit hasn’t seen anything yet. Next week, on June 30, they’re scheduled for a pre-Canada Day event in Langley that’s expected to draw thousands. Ackerman, who’s just finishing grade 7 at Ocean Cliff Elementary, has never had so many people watch and says he’s been known to have some initial nerves at performances. “But then you lose yourself in the music,” he says, adding the interaction with the crowd is his favorite part. Right now, the young band is only doing cover songs, but will soon focus on writing and performing original material. “If you think about it, all bands started doing covers,” reasons Hobeyn, 13. Adds Stockwell: “We’re all trying to think about writing our own songs. I’m looking forward to it.” They’ll likely stick with the straight up rock sound they’ve become known for. And then, who knows? They might just be an established band to watch for. For the sake of Hobeyn’s future, it better work out. “I want to do this long term,” he laughs. “I honestly have nothing else in mind for a career.” To learn more about Orbit, check http://orbitrockband.spaces.live.com/ or search the band on facebook.

 

BIGGER THAN BRITNEY?

Young trio has rocked its way into the hearts of local fans, and on a recent concert tour of Costa Rica, got better press than Britney Spears

By Kurt Langmann of the Surrey/North Delta Leader

They are only three 16-year-olds but they’ve already built up a loyal following that many have compared to the Beatles’ frenzy, with throngs of young fans crowding to their shows and after-show meet-and-greet sessions. And the Maz Band recently returned from a major concert tour of Costa Rica, where they experienced a week-long media frenzy usually reserved for the likes of Jenifer Lopez. With a laugh, Maz Band singer Maz Artang pointed to a clipping from a La Nacion (Costa Rica’s national daily, circulation 820,000) which has a large colour photo of the boys and feature story about their tour, alongside a small brief photo of Britney Spears: “Our photo is bigger than Britney’s – I like that,” chortles Maz. Josh Harder and Jon Van Mil join in the laughter, in the backyard of Harder’s family home. They’re gathered there to do a little rehearsing – in between servings of barbecued salmon prepared by Josh’s mother, Janet – and to talk about their experiences. The camaraderie is also warm, as the boys’ parents are all very supportive of the Maz Band – Jon’s father, Ben, is the sound man, and their guitar teacher, Terry Armitage, is the manager and they accompanied them on the Costa Rica tour. Maz attends Johnston Heights Secondary in Surrey and Jon attends Fraser Valley Christian High School, while Josh attends Rick Hansen in Abbotsford. “Maz and I got to know each other about a year ago through our music teacher, Terry Armitage,” said Jon. “And a friend recommended Josh as a good drummer” said Maz. “So we hooked up, had our first practice a year ago and played every day all summer. “When we started I had written about six songs, and we played oldies like Johnny B. Goode and Summer in the City. Now I’ve got about 11 songs of my own plus about 25 songs by Coldplay, Jet, and so on.” Their style is very melodic – Maz has a very pleasant tenor voice and a gift for a writing catchy melodies and intelligent lyrics reminiscent of Coldplay, only without the piano that marks that band. He fills in admirably on guitar though, and Jon and Josh are highly competent on their instruments too. They have a three-song CD, led off by a song called A Kiss, and they also have a DVD of this song which they filmed here in Bradner along the old Inter-Urban railway tracks and at the Lion’s Gate Studio in Vancouver. The latter was put together in time for the Costa Rica tour, which was arranged by Maz’s father, Majid, and Iranian-Canadian businessman who recently launched a new publication in Costa Rica. The tour was part of a major anti-drug abuse campaign sponsored by Manjid’s publication, Compre yvenda, and Maz wrote a song especially for this called Broken Promises. The tour was very well-received and the boys were proud to support the cause, but on the other hand they don’t want to be pigeonholed and wish to be appreciated for their music. This they’ve done. They’ve been very busy, playing free gigs at local elementary schools, and they offer positive messages to the kids along with games like “name that tune” and “man versus machine.” They’ve been rewarded with packed gyms and they’ve sold as many as 150 CDs at one gig (2,000 copies sold so far, and a new CD is in the works). While all of the schools were initially somewhat leery about inviting the Maz Band to perform for the students, “without exception the principals have said ‘come back anytime.’ The schools now know what they’re getting and they’re good role models,” said Jon’s father, Ben. They also performed at the Grade 7 Leadership Conference. “The buzz is awesome at our gigs and we’ve had 12,000 hits on our website,” said Josh. The Maz Band will be playing at a special event for skateboarders, July 16, as part of the B.C. Summer Games. They’re also hoping to get a slot at Abbotsford’s Agri-Fair this summer, as well as touring the Interior, and are hoping for a European jaunt this winter. The band’s website is http://accentguitar.com/WordPress/www.mazz-band.com and includes a downloadable version of the song, A Kiss.

 

MASTERS OF MENACE

Strapping Young Lad Is The New Raging Bull! - Guitar Player Magazine, December 2006

By Deirdre Jones

To say Strapping Young Lad is intense in like calling a Maui sunset “pretty.” The description may be correct, but it doesn’t even begin to cover the details. Not by a long shot. The band’s sixth release, The New Black[Century Media], shows that SYL is still a few million light years from mellowing out. The new album is a frenzy of over-the -top, in-your-face musical rage that celebrates uber-metal clichés while simultaneously clawing far beyond them. The brainchild of Canadian vocalist and guitarist Devin Townsend–who first gained public attention as the vocalist for Steve Vai’s Sex and Religion album and tour– SYL blew open the industrial-metal genre with 1995’s Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing. Townsend played most of the instruments on the band’s debut, but a more collaborative lineup was established for 1997’s City – a release many metal fans consider to be one of the heaviest albums ever recorded. But while SYL can rightly claim “innovator” stature for is extremely aggressive, polyrhythmic keyboard-driven metal, the band has not rested on its reputation, or mired itself into a stylistic mud bath. The New Black, for example, ricochets between genres–even launching some jazz- and classic-rock-like moments–with depth and intelligence, courtesty of the punishing, melodic, and textural guitar craft of Townsend and co-guitarist Jed Simon. Your Albums are so brutal and dense. TOWNSEND: This is actually some of the most listener-friendly, least complicated material I’ve ever done! Alien, for example, was an impenetrable mass of technicality. The New Black is a record that works for the Ozzfest crowd, but it’s as caustic as we’ve always been. It’s ugly, but it’s fun. So what’s up with the clever, but extremely sarcastic lyrics? TOWNSEND: On the surface, I wanted The New Black to sound like a big rock and roll party, but, thematically, it’s about how banal and stupid the whole thing is. I love music, but there’s no glamour or mystery to the music business. I’m curious as to what kinds of experiences forged your ability to produce such a creative, unique, and uncompromising sound? TOWNSEND: [laughs] I’m a nerd! I mean it–every-thing I do is drawn from a musically geeky background. I started playing when I was four years old, and I devoured every single music opportunity my schools offered–vocal training, choir, guitar, tuba, jazz combo, honor band, and so on. To this day, I still love to listen to Broadway musicals like Paint Your Wagon, Phantom of the Opera, and West Side Story. I didn’t get into heavy music until later. The change came about when I saw a Judas Priest video, and realized how revolted my parents were. I also learned a lot about audio production, touring, and what I wanted–and didn’t want–in my music from working with Steve Vai when I was 19. What about your influences, Jed? SIMON: My inspiration is from the ‘70’s. Aerosmith and Cheap Trick were huge for me, and Kiss’ Alive! changed my life. Then I discovered Exodus, and how they just kept getting heavier with each record. My industrial-music insights are from being a member of Front Line Assembly. I enjoy musical aggression. I’m an amalgamation of styles, but I also believe in keeping music simple. Tom Petty is my hero for that regard. It’s important to note that I was originally a drummer, and drums are still my favorite instrument. I think it’s helpful to hear things from a percussive perspective, and this is why I really appreciate food rhythm-guitar playing. Given that Devin is the band’s visionary–and he is definitely capable of doing an album by himself–what role does collaboration play in SYL? SIMON: There’s a fair amount of give and take. For example, I’ll sit at home, compose my 30-second masterpieces, and then subject my work to the band’s musical “HEPA” filter. Devin is the main guy, but, in the studio, we do get to show our personalities, and I think our musical ideas blend really well. TOWNSEND: I am a control freak, so I’ll typically show the band songs that are almost complete. The members can build some parts on their own, but I have a lot of ideas of how I want things to be. What gear do you use to get such a huge sound? TOWNSEND: I’m playing a custom ESP Horizon 7-string baritone. It has a mahogany body and neck, a maple top, and EMG-81 pick-ups. My amp is a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier loaded with EL34 tubes. I tune down pretty low–my lowest string is tuned to G, and then it’s fifths all the way up. I use big, 0.72-gauge pizza-slice- style InTune picks, because I love having a lot of pick under my fingers. SIMON: The Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier with EL34s is absolutely the core of my sound. My guitar is a custom ESP V-shaped and I’ve been using a Silver Machine Automagic Wah, because it has such a huge sweep. I also have a Rocktron delay pedal, and I use the large triangle Dunlop picks. As far as tunings go, I’m all over the map. As aggressive as you are musically, is there any band that strikes fear into your heart? TOWNSEND: I’m really a very calm person! I’ll even listen to various music-for-meditation CDs, ambient bands like Zoviet France, and dance-pop acts such as Denmark’s Aqua. But, in our world, I’d have to admit that Meshuggah is the best metal band on the planet. They are so profoundly good it’s depressing. Any indication what the next evolution of SYL might be? SIMON: At 42, I’m the grandpa of the band, and I’m set in my ways. I want to get back to my roots–old thrash metal with no keyboards. TOWNSEND: In the past, anything from the Young Gods and Sigur Rós to Stravinsky and Mozart would be a big influence on my sound. But now, I’m finding myself going back to players like David Gilmour who say so much with just one note. So far, though, I’m just taking some time off. I put my guitar in the closet after I got home from Ozzfest, and I’m not going to pick it up again until I have a renewed lust for it–and a whole new set of influences. Who knows? Maybe nature will inspire me. After all, it’s the ultimate technology.

 

PASSING THE TEST

There’s something new on the electric guitar scene.

By Melanie Minty (various source)

Ever since guitars became plugged in and amplified, the emphasis too often seems to be made with volume rather than quality of tone or achieved with technique. Few guitarists took formal lessons and just picked it up as they went along. Strum a few chords, crank up the volume, and send out enough vibrations to make the floor feel like there’s a minor earthquake happening. There have always been choices in music training, and some electric guitarists and bass players have had actual music training. Now there is, for the first time in Canada, a formalized syllabus and examination system just for these modern strings. These exams were formulated in 1992 by the director of the Registry Of Guitar Tutors and recognized by the London College of Music in London, England. The Electric Guitar Examination Syllabus, in eight grades, takes twanging out of the basement and gives a foundation for solid music training and recognition of skills achieved. Terry Armitage, of Surrey’s Accent Guitar Studio, has been teaching guitar for 20 years. He is responsible for establishing the syllabus in Canada, and 14 students recently completed the first-ever exams for electric guitar in this country. Armitage is excited about the syllabus and says it “has more to do with being a real musician” than just playing scales. Students learn the different styles as well as the technical stuff like scales. If you are paying for the lessons, you may as well learn the real thing. Tony Skinner, of England’s Registry of Guitar Tutors generated this new concept in electric guitar instruction and examination. Just like the Royal Conservatory which sets standards for violin, voice, piano, and classical guitar, the RGT has created a system of examinations for electric and bass guitar players in order to make their skills more widely recognized in formal music instruction. There is much more emphasis on modern guitar playing, rather than the “classical” mode of the Conservatory. With great success of RGT in Great Britain, Skinner was interested in establishing the syllabus in North America. Armitage traveled to England, connected with Skinner, and these two enthusiasts merged their dreams and ambitions. Skinner found Armitage to be eminently qualified to get the program under way. The first set of exams, completed Dec.28, were a success and the next schedule of exams will be in the spring. It was so much fun, they decided to keep doing it. Seven-year-old Sam “the Man” Biagioni of Surrey was the first person in Canada to take the electric guitar exams. He was the youngest candidate to take the exams – and received the highest mark in Canada. It’s a great way to start, and lovely to get some recognition for the dedication and work. Armitage’s students range in age from five to 65. While most are school age, he also has a psychiatrist and former Mountie learning all the refinements of electric guitar. There’s a future here for this work, and all I can say is, it’s about time. If you’re interested in elevating your guitar playing a notch or two or want more information regarding the Registry of Guitar Tutors and its affiliations with the London College of Music, contact Armitage at 588-4326, or by e-mail . The RGT has a UK web page at . RGT will also be available at Vancouver’s Music West conference in the spring. And won’t we just be proud to say the first foray of RGT in North America was right here in Surrey.

 

PRE-TEEN PERFORMERS

Band of 12-year olds making noise on Surrey music scene

By Sheila Reynolds of the Surrey/North Delta Leader

Signing autographs for fans twice their age and performing regularly at public events, the guys of Millennium IV have stars in their eyes. Wearing baggy T-shirts in various tones of gray, and sporting shorts in November, the four musicians appear to be your average, run-of-the-mill rockers. And they are – except for the fact that all the band members have yet to enter high school and can readily remember their age still in the single digits. Craig smith, Jeff Revill, Nick Biagioni, and Mazeyar (Maz) Artang are Millennium IV, a local band of 12-year-olds that seems to be gaining more popularity with each outing. Although the guitar-toting pre-teens have been together for fewer than nine months, they’ve landed numerous gigs, including playing for a sold-out crowd at a Fleetwood pre-teen dance and performing for you people at Nights Alive in White Rock. “They said ‘let’s just give these kids a shot’,” says Jeff, referring to the White Rock concert. “Then we blew away.” “They thought we were so cool when we played our surf tunes,” adds Nick. One of the band’s first appearances was at the New West Music Conference in Vancouver – an important annual event for the local music industry. And they’ve also hit the airways, as CBC Radio has picked the band for their live afternoon broadcast that airs across the province. The band members are under the direction of Terry Armitage, founder of Accent Guitar Studios in Surrey, and instructor to Maz, Craig, and Nick. While Nick and Maz have been playing guitar for five years, Craig’s been plucking bass strings for a year, and Craig has been a drummer for the past two years. All three guitar members have participated in the London College of Music/Registry of Guitar Tutors Examinations. Armitage assembled the guitar players because of their similar musical tastes, and invited drummer Jeff to complete the group. He believes the budding musical bonds are valuable. “It’s very easy to play on your own,” he says. “But it’s hard to play with someone else… you have to deal with each other’s problems. “This is great because they can all grow musically together.” The brood of fresh-faced guys is hesitant to call themselves role models, but they seem to know what they’re doing is positive. “It shows that kids can get together and do something,” says Nick, who attends Fraser Wood Elementary along with Jeff. Despite their age, says Armitage, Millennium IV’s audience is not limited. The fact that they’re signing autographs for fans in their later teens is testament to that. “There’s some that are in Grade 12,” says Nick proudly. “It feels good because it feels like people like you,” adds Maz. The band has penned one original song, and have two more in the works. Writing songs ranging from rejecting drums to more typically teen topics like in-line skating, and complementing them with surf tunes, their music appeals to a wide audience. Milennium IV is set to record a demo CD before Christmas, followed by a possible music video for their rap/rock tune Walkin’ Away. And after that? The consensus seems to be to go on tour, perhaps across Canada, perhaps internationally, maybe opening for a successful band or even being the lead act themselves. “I’d really like to have a big stadium concert,” says Maz, while band-mate Craig says he’d like to meet some other rock groups. “And,” adds Nick with a glint in his eye, “meet girls!”

“Crack and heroin aint so cool, If you do them you’ll end up a fool” Walkin’ Away Ain’t Easy Millenium IV