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Creative Hampton students have band to jam with

| Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008

Every other Tuesday, pounding drums and bluesy guitar riffs drift through the halls of Hampton High School. Make no mistake, this isn't the typical school band -- Hampton's Jam Band is more garage than marching.

"Jam Band is life," said Tony Resch, 14. "A lot of clubs don't let us share our creative ability. When we're sitting around, it's not controlled, it's just whatever we can put together as a group."

After the district opened its new music recording studio this fall, teacher Andrew Halter started Jam Band, an after-school club for students to get together to "jam" on their various instruments. They play guitar, drums, upright bass and sing. There's no recital or big performance at the end of the year -- these teens are in it for the love of music.

The band focuses primarily on rock and blues. On a recent afternoon, Halter, an English teacher, sang lead vocals while the band put their own spin on the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

"We're just swapping ideas, throwing out chord progressions," Halter said. "It can get pretty noisy in there."

About 30 teens signed up for the group, with a varying amount showing up each week. They range from professionals -- sophomore Maddie Georgi is competing in a national country music competition -- to football players who have a musical ear. All share a common love for music.

"It's really cool to get to share your creativity with others," said Georgi, 16. "No one shoots it down."

The teens learn teamwork and foster creativity, while getting the opportunity to acquire skills necessary for a music career. Halter said many of the Jam Band's teens are using the recording studio, either to record their own music or to simply learn the equipment.

"It's a great opportunity for them," Halter said. "I wish I had something like this in high school."

Drummer Shaina Fober, a member of the Hampton Marching Band, knows untapped talent can be found throughout the school. Some students don't fit in marching band or orchestra, which makes an outlet like Jam Band a perfect match.

"It's a really good way to fully explore your musical abilities," said Fober, 15, a sophomore. "You get the opportunity to play with other people of all ages, freshman or senior or even an adult or two. It's a good example of what we'll encounter in life if we go into music."

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