On August 2nd, the Hmong charter school Prairie Seeds Academy presented a rock concert to benefit its music program. They were able to bring in many talented bands in to provide entertainment to those who attended the event. If you judge an event by how much fun the people who attended and those in charge had, then this one was a major success.
First, I should talk about the rock band music program that PSA has available to their students. This program opens doors to students who may have never had the chance to learn to play guitar, jam on the drums, or sing a rock song, had they not attended Prairie Seeds Academy. Not only does this program provide an opportunity for these students to learn a musical talent, but it takes what once was a shy kid and turns them into a rock star. It must be a real pleasure to watch that evolution.
As I mentioned earlier, PSA was able to bring in many local musical talents to lend their time this cause. Shawn and his band, which was him and another person on keyboards/synthesizer, started the event. Shawn was able to get the PSA faculty out on the dance for a slow song and then followed that up with a raucous jam that had the students of PSA in a frenzy. A fun way to start the evening.
Next up was PSA’s very own rock band. The few of the students took turns playing guitar and drums, with two young ladies taking turns with the vocals. They performed a few hmong songs, as well as some mainstream songs such Sheryl Crow’s “First Cut is the Deepest” and Bryan Adams’ classic “Heaven”. I thought it was great how the fellow students got right up by the stage to support their friends who were performing in front of the live crowd. Once the band adapted to the live crowd, they really went on to have an outstanding performance.
Major 5th was next up to take the PSA stage. There really isn’t much more I can say about this great band. One noticeable change was the loss of bass guitarist Washy Lee who recently made the move to one of the Carolinas. With that, meant that lead vocalist Victoria Vang not only had to sing, but play bass guitar. I know she was a bit nervous and there was a moment where she almost dropped the guitar, but she went to recover like a champ. Once again, a great performance by Major 5th and I hear they have some new material they are working on, but you didn’t hear that from me.
Up next was CHAT’s TouSaiko Lee and his Paprika 4. Thomas and Tou started the performance by themselves as Tou delivered smooth lyrics dealing with the issues that Hmong people faced in the past and still face today. Finally, before they went to perform the last song of their set, Tou and Thomas were joined by Andy and Luchee to have what could be the most interesting performance of the evening. Thomas continued to play guitar, Tou rapped, Andy beat boxed, and Luchee sang in the background. At the end of this performance Andy and Luchee went on to have a pop locking dance off. I would have to declare Andy, the winner. Both of them have moves I could only imagine having.
Next up was the group High Hats who had one of PSA’s own students as one of their guitarists. He was able to showcase his talent with this group. The band did lots of covers of some of the more popular rock & alternative rock songs that are out there. To make things interesting both the pre mentioned guitarist and the drummer alternated solos that really got the young crowd pumped. The guys of High Hats weren’t finished yet, as they teamed up with Kace from the Hmong group “Destiny”. As expected, Kace was very popular with the ladies and crooned them with his soft melodies.
Last, but not least, good friends of Hmoodle, Watching Leona finally had the opportunity to make their mark on the PSA crowd. I heard them perform once at the outdoor venue at Lake Phalen and this would be my first time hearing them perform indoors and they did not disappoint. The students knew the lyrics of theirs songs and were screaming out requests and even had the guys play an encore as the evening ended. These guys are real pros and they showed that tonight. They’ll be performing at Varsity Theater on August 11th, so go support them, if you’re old enough to attend.
The students that attended this event really seemed to get behind every performer that took the stage. Whether they singing to the lyrics, crashing the stage, or break dancing on the side, the PSA students took full advantage of this great concert. All the performers seemed to give the crowd everything they had and that has to be appreciated. I felt like I was at a high school dance, which I kind of was, but I still had fun listening to these great bands.
The rock band program is an asset to the students of PSA. It gives students something to do other than going home to play video games and watching to TV. In a time where funding for extra curricular programs like this are at low, its great to see a school that sees the positive impact a program like this one can have and continues with it. From what I’ve been told the program is gaining more popularity amongst the students. The plan is hopefully to have a rock band two this following school year and I think it would be wonderful if this program continues for years to come.
If you have an event that you’d like Hmoodle.com to attend, then feel free to contact me at [email protected]