Solon rockers earn spot in state competitionA trio of teens from Solon Springs High School are ending their senior year on a high note.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
A trio of teens from Solon Springs High School are ending their senior year on a high note. Triplets Caleb, Cody and Corey Utyro, members of the rock band Ultra Day, advanced to state finals in the Wisconsin School Music Association’s Launchpad contest. The alternative music competition is for high school students in bands formed outside of traditional music classroom ensembles. The finals, which take place June 9 in Madison, will feature the top three bands from four different regions of the state.
The Utyros performed on April 20 at regional competition in Chippewa Falls. Most of the other participants were from large schools.
“Our kids were definite underdogs and favorites,” said Jean Swanson, choir director for Solon Springs High School. “I’m sure no one expected the best band to come from the smallest school in the wild north woods.”
Other regional winners included groups from Osseo-Fairchild, LaCrosse and Mosinee-Everest-Rosholt.
Along with their size distinction, Ultra Day was the only group to perform all original songs, no covers.
Swanson, who attended the regional competition, said the most noteworthy part of the entire evening was the poise, confidence and the friendly atmosphere the boys lent to the competition. They told her it was important to treat their competition backstage in a kind manner.
“I am sure that everyone in that auditorium, from those large school districts, has a few kind words to say about Solon Springs in return,” Swanson said.
Ultra Day includes Corey on drums, Cody on rhythm guitar and Caleb on electric bass. The Utyros are the core of the band, which won last year’s “Battle of the Bands” in Duluth. The group’s newest member is Solon Springs High School junior Kyle Rudd on guitar and synthesizer.
These rock musicians are also classical musicians. All four teens earned slots at the state solo/ensemble music festival in Eau Claire this month with their vocal entries. They keep busy with other activities, as well. Caleb and Cody play in the high school band; Kyle has performed in several musicals with the Duluth Playhouse and all three Utyros play on the Solon Springs baseball team.
The Launchpad winners will receive the state title, a professional recording session, a 2012 Summerfest gig in Milwaukee and a Yamaha music equipment package for their high school. All bands advancing to the state finals automatically qualify to participate in the Summerfest Launchpad Regional Showcases, where they will each play a 45-minute set with a potential audience of 3,000 people.
For more information on the Launchpad competition, go to www.LaunchpadWisconsin.org.