New Band of West High Grads to Perform at Summerfest

New Band of West High Grads to Perform at Summerfest
Posted on 06/21/2018
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The Dropouts, a band made up of new Wausau West graduates, to perform at Summerfest

Laura Schulte
Wausau Daily Herald

WAUSAU - The Dropouts label themselves as a band with an above average GPA.

And now, they're taking their above average talents to Summerfest.

The band is made up of five 2018 graduates from Wausau West High School, who entered the Rockonsin competition on a whim. They stayed up late the night their entry was due, made a video and managed to make it through to the next step: performing on a stage at Summerfest on June 30.

The group is composed of Pranav Srivastava, 17, on the drums, Mathew Chapman, 18, on the trumpet, Johnny Pries, 18, on bass and singing, Tate Rauman, 18, on piano and vocals and Jack Oosterhuis, 18, on guitar and vocals. The five members met through their school's pop concert program, which taught them not only musical skills, but how to throw together music quickly, they said.

The group didn't really start playing together outside of pop concert until their junior year at West. Music drew them together and showed them they all had chemistry on stage. They've mostly been playing at Srivastava's house, covering songs by the band Hippo Campus.

Summerfest will be their first official gig, where they'll perform their first original song, "Summertime." They're not nervous yet, the musicians said, but they know it will be a great experience.

"I don't think we understand the gravity of the situation," Srivastava said.

The band will play on the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage at 2:10 p.m. on June 30, for 15 minutes. If they advance to the next round, they'll get to perform a 45-minute set on July 8. The top two bands left standing will then win time to record in a Wisconsin studio, they said.

Rockonsin is an indie rock competition that invites musicians in middle and high schools in Wisconsin to participate. It's a non-profit organization which receives help in organizing the program from the Madison Area Music Association.

But the best thing about the Rockonsin opportunity isn't just getting to play at Summerfest, the West grads said. It's a chance for them to play together.

"The real motive behind it is just jamming together," Rauman said. "We all love performing, but we love playing together."

There's extra meaning behind the performance for the members, too. They'll all be heading off to their first year of college this fall, and they're not sure what will happen to the band after that.

"It just depends on where this goes," Oosterhuis said.

The Dropouts believe they have a good shot at advancing through the competition, and hope that they're on-stage chemistry and charisma will help.

"If we just throw down, we have a chance," Srivastava said.