From the classroom to the main stage, teen band After Math from Austin, Texas was crowned the national winner of the first annual SchoolJam USA competition presented by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) at the 2010 NAMM Show on Saturday. After Math competed against nine other top teen bands at the Anaheim Convention Center and received the first place award—a trophy in the shape of a platinum album—and the grand prize trip to Europe next March to perform at the international 2010 SchoolJam finals in Frankfurt, Germany. In addition, the band received $5,000 for their school music programs. Each of the other nine finalist bands were also awarded with cash and other prizes for their bands and their school music programs.
A unique teen ‘battle of the bands’, SchoolJam USA rewards both aspiring music makers and their respective school music programs with support and funding. SchoolJam USA features amateur bands of teen musicians between the ages of 13 and 18, with the top bands selected through a nationwide online voting system. After launching in late summer 2009, SchoolJamUSA.com received more than 200 applications from middle and high school students eager to showcase their talent and earn much-needed support for their school’s music programs. Based on open voting online that resulted in more than 115,000 votes, America selected the top 10 finalists to compete at SchoolJam USA. This year’s top teen finalists hail from more than 20 U.S. cities, including Santa Cruz, Calif., St. Louis, Mo. and Washington, D.C.
Other awards presented at the SchoolJam USA finals include: second place award to Crimson Fire from Northern New Jersey, and third place award to Power Pirate from Washington DC. In addition, specific band members were recognized for their talents in the following “Best Of” categories:
Best Vocals: Rachel Thompson of After Math
Best Guitar: Emily Pakulski of Power Pirate and Dustin Belanger of After Math
Best Bass: Livvy Bennett of After Math
Best Drummer: Richard Schaafsma of Crimson Fire and Tony Pepper of The Switchfits
Best Keyboard: Michael Garate of Power Pirate
Prizes for the “Best Of” awards were provided by NAMM Member Companies Godin Guitars, Kelly Concepts, and Yamaha Corporation of America. Additionally, a “Fan Favorite” award was given to the band Dance Over Anaheim from Colorado Springs, Co, which received more than 6,000 text message votes for that category during the finals competition.