Originally created 02/04/03

Students will spend day on musical bus



When the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus stops Monday in Augusta, eight area students will spend the day working with music professionals.

Five are the winners out of 20 entries in an Xtreme essay contest for slots to work on the bus. The essays were judged by Russell Brown, an Augusta native who has performed on Broadway and now works with Creative Impressions; Coco Rubio, the owner of the Soul Bar and a promoter of local music; and Steven Uhles, the arts and entertainment writer for The Chronicle.

Here are the winners:

Drew Kovacs, a junior at Evans High School, plays clarinet for the marching band and also has taught himself to play guitar.

"I can think of nothing better than playing for people in a world where music is sometimes the only means we have to communicate," he said.

Rachel L'Heureux, a junior at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School. Because she's from a musical family, Rachel's love of music was established early in life.

"Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of my dad teaching me to do 'paradiddles' on his (drum) practice pad," she said.

Keri Thomas, a junior at A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet High School. She's made up her mind that she will have a career in music.

"It's what I've always wanted to do," she said. "I think the bus will help me gain experience and help me learn more. I've always loved music."

Mary Ellen Stebbins, a junior at Westminster Preparatory School. While she loves singing, Mary Ellen's first love is the violin. She has been runner-up in the Augusta Symphony's Youth Competition and attended the Governor's Honors program.

Julia Easterlin, a junior at Davidson. Last year, The Chronicle selected her as one of the Young Songwriters of the Year, for her song A Rose for September in honor of the victims of Sept. 11, 2001.

Because the bus will make its Augusta stop at Davidson, two additional students from there were chosen.

Those two students are freshman Chelsea Logue and junior Daniel Blackwood.

Davidson students were asked to submit a tape or CD of original music. The school received 10 entries for that contest.

Daniel entered a piano piece that was in the vein of the score from The Piano, very lyrical and played with great emotion, according to Laurie Easterlin, a media specialist at Davidson.

Chelsea submitted a vocal piece to the competition which, according to Mrs. Easterlin, was "well put together and smart."

One member of the Xtreme Teen Board was chosen to spend the day on the bus. Abby Oakley, a junior at Lakeside, will report on her experience in the Feb. 18 Xtreme.

Next week, we'll take you behind the scenes as the bus makes its stop in Augusta.

Reach Jennifer Hilliard at (706) 823-3223 or jennifer.hilliard@augustachronicle.com.