Scott: It is the ultimate teen battle of the bands. SchoolJam USA.
Premium Blend: We’ve worked so hard to get here, and we’re just ready to get out there and give it our all.
Cheating Daylight: It’s amazing! it’s a blast!
Scott: We are here in sunny Southern California where eight bands from all over the country are here to compete for the top honor, the title of the ultimate teen band. Now, 115 band submissions and a record-breaking 260,000 votes got those musical acts to perform right here on this very stage.
Last year’s winner, Jazz Avenue, started off the event with a rocking performance before this year’s finalists jammed into the night.
By being selected as a finalist, every band here has already won more than a thousand dollars for their schools music program. Now they are competing for even more prize money for their school, gear for their band and a professionally produced music video. But the top prize on everybody’s mind is…
Romance of Thieves: Germany.
Band member: Germany! Germany!
Band member: Germany!
Premium Blend: The chance to get to Germany.
Scott: The winner of the competition gets to participate in a cultural share with the winners of Germany’s version of the contest.
Fools and Sages: To be immersed in a new culture. Music is universal, so it’s really cool that we get to use our music to get somewhere like that; somewhere new.
Scott: These bands span all sorts of musical genres. There is the jazz band Premium Blend from San Diego.
Premium Blend: We all come from vastly different backgrounds, vastly different ethnicities and cultures.
From Utah, the band Synergy brought a unique sound. Their band is made up of a drummer and three cellists.
And Ergo We Play, the band who placed third last year, travelled all the way from Knoxville, Tennessee.
Ergo We Play: It’s cool to kind of feel what it’s like to be out in L.A. It’s kind of like our five minutes of fame.
Scott: And the first place band isn’t the only winner in the competition. The $5,000 first place prize is to be spent on new instruments and equipment for the winning band’s school music program. And with recent cuts in many arts programs in schools all across the country, every little bit helps.
Lora Bodmer: NAMM’s done a lot of research – and supported research – that shows that kids who play music and make music do better in school, they cope better with difficult situations and even have higher self-esteem.
Scott: For nearly three hours, the bands competed in front of an audience of more than 500 screaming fans, showcasing the very best in their own original music. That is right, no covers were allowed in this competition.
Cheating Daylight: We get to show everyone our own stuff and who we are. So, it’s awesome having everyone know that if they like us it’s because of what we do, not some other band. You know what I mean?
Scott: It was time for the moment everyone was waiting for, the judges’ decision on the winner of this year’s SchoolJam USA.
Announcer: And the winner is…Ergo We Play!
Scott: What is it like right now? How do you feel?
Ergo We Play: I don’t even know! I am just freaking out!
Yeah, we’ve been working our butts off, like, the past couple months and, like, the fact that we get to come back, it’s really cool!
Scott: So now, are you going to be learning German, so that when you go you’re not like…?
Ergo We Play: (Speaking German).
Scott: Their German may need a little work, but their talent is world-class.
Scott Evans, Channel One News.
- What is the purpose of the SchoolJam program?
- How were the groups chosen for the finals in California?
- How does this program support the arts in school?
- What does research say about participation in music and academic achievement?