News Column

Homegrown program showcases young musicians

May 1, 2013


May 01--A 14-year-old with a goal of creating the ultimate feel-good album will perform original instrumental tunes. A Duluth East senior who already could be considered a veteran of Duluth's music scene has turned his attention toward jazz.

A singer-songwriter with a full schedule of local gigs will perform his signature bluesy-rock style, and a young woman with a big voice will show her dexterity with a handful of instruments.

The high school-aged musicians will be featured during the Music Resource Center Showcase, part of Homegrown Music Festival events.

The show starts at 6 p.m. today at Sacred Heart Music Center.

The Music Resource Center is an after-school program for musicians in grades 6-12 who are interested in instrument or audio engineering tutorials and recording sessions.

About 46 students have taken advantage of free sessions from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, according to instructor Darin Bergsven.

Here is what you will see during today's show:

--Jake Vainio's interest in music started with "Come Sail Away" by Styx. He heard the intro to the song and wanted to know how to play it. He started on piano and moved on to guitar -- though, after all of this, he never doubled back to learn to play the song.

These days, Vainio is working on a concept album.

"My goal is to make a self-help album without any words," he said.

Certain songs have the ability to make people feel certain ways, he said. For him, Moby's "Porcelain" is always good for relaxation. Vainio said he wants a multi-genre album in which at least one song hits everyone in that way.

--Hannah McDaniel sings, plays guitar, saxophone and percussion and will perform original music during the showcase.

--Curren Effinger, 17, has been into music for the past decade and can regularly be seen playing gigs in the area at Carmody 61, Amazing Grace, Teatro Zuccone, Beaner's Central and at open mic nights.

Effinger has a blues-rock style, like The Black Keys, and also claims The Kills, The White Stripes and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as influences.

But when it comes to his live shows:

"I play an all-original set," Effinger said. "I prefer to say, 'Here is something that came from me.' "

--There are just a few venues that Jack Campbell, 18, can get into, but this is his fourth Homegrown Music Festival, he thinks.

Though he's done some genre-hopping, this is the first time he's performed as part of a jazz ensemble.

Campbell started listening to jazz as he prepared to audition for DePaul University's music school, he said, and he got into the mental power it requires.

"It's more intelligent than pop (music)," he said.

This won't be your dad's jazz, though. It has "a lot of weird synth," he said. "It's not traditional jazz. It's distorted guitar and synth."

The Music Resource Center Showcase is one of four upcoming shows for students. Young musicians will open for Scarlet Rivera, a former member of the Rolling Thunder Revue, when she plays with Greg LaFond on May 17 at Weber Music Hall to kick off Duluth Dylan Fest.

The students are part of open-mic nights from 7 to 9 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at Amazing Grace and the group's end of the year jam session is from 5 to 7 p.m. May 23 at Sacred Heart Music Center.

The Music Resource Center, a program that is part of the Armory Arts and Music Center, has also kicked off a campaign to raise $10,000 to equip two rehearsal spaces, a stage, a recording studio with instruments, amplifiers, microphones, computers and video editing equipment.


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