The dreams of four young teenagers are on the line: the chance to be crowned best youth band in America, and you can help.
Cheska Zaide, Thomas Dunlap, Brendan Evans and Michael (Mik) Hintze make up the band, the A+ Dropouts, and are competing in the National Association of Music Merchants' (NAMM) best youth band contest. The band, chosen as one of 48 nationwide semifinalists, needs to secure the #2 spot in the online voting competition to move on to the next round, and they have until Nov. 30 to do so.
The winners of the overall contest stand to win $5,000 for their local school's music department, a trip to Europe to perform at School Jam Germany, a chance to perform at Disney Land, $1,000 toward new band equipment and a music video shoot aboard the John Lennon Educational Bus.
The foursome of 13- to 16-year-olds formed the A+ Dropouts just over a year ago. Zaide, lead vocalist and guitarist endorsed by Daisy Rock, approached her parents about forming a serious band to help boost her music career. Shortly thereafter, Zaide found Evans to play drums, Hintze to play bass and guitar, and rounded out the band with Dunlap on bass.
Although young, the four are no strangers to the limelight. They have performed at events such as the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Roanoke Festival in the Park, Henrico County Kidsfest and Summerfest 2010 alongside stars such as Justin Beiber and Santana.
Anyone can vote daily until the Nov. 30. To vote for the A+ Dropouts, visit www.schooljamusa.com. The band is listed in the South region. E-mail information is not shared, so don't hesitate to vote.