GEORGETOWN — Southern Indiana youth took center stage over the weekend to showcase their musical talents to the community.
Maxwell's House of Music presented its Backstage Pass Live! concert Saturday at That's The Ticket in Georgetown. The concert featured kids who take lessons from the Jeffersonville music shop or take part in its Backstage Pass program, which places kids ages 7 and up in a band. Through the program, kids can book gigs at local venues and rehearse at the shop's fully equipped stage.
For Mark Maxwell, owner of Maxwell's House of Music, the concert is one of the biggest events for the music shop, and it's all about showing off these kids, he said. He is also the lead singer for The Crashers, and he remembers what it was like being a young musician on stage.
"I still play in a band and I love it, but I remember the feeling of being a kid playing on stage for the first time," he said. "It's incredible."
Georgetown resident Isaac Taylor, 11, was one of the youngest musicians to perform at the event. His rock band, Yesterday's News, included kids ages 11 and 12 who perform together at Maxwell's House of Music. He said he was happy to have the opportunity to gain some publicity for the band — they've only played at two other events.
Their coach at Maxwell's has taught them how to play their instruments and techniques for playing the songs, he said, and he has formed a bond with his bandmates.
"It's almost like we're just family," he said. "Beforehand, I think only like two of us knew each other ... now we're having sleepovers, and we're doing so much stuff. We're just like family."
Taylor's father, Eric Taylor, was proud to watch his son perform with his band on Saturday. Maxwell's has created a space for kids with similar interests and talents, he said.
"A lot of kids are into baseball or sports, and those are real organized, but kids who are into music don't necessarily have as much of that," he said. "His bandmates are from Charlestown and Jeff, so it's good for them to be able to cross paths."
Five was another of the young rock bands to perform at Backstage Pass Live!, with band members ranging from ages 12 to 16. The band was only formed about a month ago. Memphis resident Logan Steier became involved with music when he learned guitar three or four years ago, and eventually, he started singing with Five.
He said Maxwell's House of Music helps young musicians get their work out in the community through events like this. He has taken lessons at the music shop, and he says the instructors have taught him pretty much everything.
"A lot of times you see older people who get the gigs, and they can drive, and they have a little more independence," Steier said. "With younger people like us who are under the age of 16, it gives us a good way to be able to showcase what we're doing."
Jeffersonville resident Paige Mullins, 13, is a singer with the singing group La-Vie-En, which performed for the first time Saturday. They like to get the crowd to dance, she said.
"We all started off dancing together, but we thought, what if we started singing with it?" she said. "It just slowly grew, and Mark [Maxwell] made our dreams come true, so now we are here."
Austin singer/songwriter Jackson Snelling, 17, was another of the featured artists at the concert. While he is not involved in the Backstage Pass program, he takes music lessons at Maxwell's. It is inspiring to see other musicians perform, he said, and he enjoys being able to represent the Maxwell's.
"It's an amazing school," he said. "It really is. They've helped me a lot throughout my journey. I started coming to Maxwell's when I was 13. They're just awesome people, and I have a really deep personal attachment to them."
Snelling's mother, Dacia Snelling, said Backstage Pass Live! gives people the chance to see the young talent that exists in the community.
"A lot of kids don't get to showcase their talent, because there's not a lot of places for kids under 21 to perform at," she said. "So this is like a family-friendly atmosphere. This is amazing event where people can see the different talent that's going on."