Stranger Than Fiction, the Alberni Teens Can Rock band, plays the Five Acre Shaker at McLean Mill last summer. They won the right to play the Shaker after winning the Youth Battle of the Bands. FACEBOOK PHOTO

Stranger Than Fiction, the Alberni Teens Can Rock band, plays the Five Acre Shaker at McLean Mill last summer. They won the right to play the Shaker after winning the Youth Battle of the Bands. FACEBOOK PHOTO

Alberni Teens Can Rock gives young musicians a place to perform

Music program expands with acoustic band, seeks new members

Alberni Teens Can Rock performed 25 shows in 2017, and 2018 is shaping up to be an even better year for the youth music program.

Todd Flaro and Greg Alkerton created the program two years ago, and are expanding on the success they’ve had in that time. The group recently finished recording some original songs and Flaro is organizing a music video shoot for later this year. The group has already been booked to play on the Friday night stage at the Alberni District Fall Fair next fall.

The young musicians were able to perform so many shows because they formed an acoustic band last year as a smaller, unplugged off-shoot to Stranger Than Fiction, the main band. Flaro and Alkerton are recruiting a percussionist and an acoustic guitar player for 2018, and would like them to both be under 15 years.

“It’s the next generation,” says Flaro, who has watched the program flourish since he took a chance and put the first band together.

The unplugged group comprises the guitar coach (Alkerton), guitar player, percussionist, keyboardist and two singers. Alkerton said it was necessary to create the second group for a variety of reasons: “Quite often we play different venues,” he says, like Ty Watson House or other small venues where the large rock band sound isn’t appropriate. The second band also allows Alberni Teens Can Rock to play multiple venues at the same time.

The acoustic band has already been booked for a few venues for 2018, and Flaro anticipates they will play at least eight to 10 gigs this year.

Alberni Teens Can Rock believes in supporting youth, so they saved some of the proceeds they made at various shows last year and recently donated it to the Zattzoo Project, which puts on the annual Port Alberni Youth Battle of the Bands. Alberni Teens Can Rock are past winners of the battle, and intend to enter for their third time. This year’s event is slated for May 26 at the Rainbow Room. Bands can check out more info on the Port Alberni Youth Battle of the Bands Facebook page.

The winning band earns $1,000 and a spot on stage at the Five Acre Shaker returning to McLean Mill Aug. 10–12, 2018.

For more information on the youth music program, visit the Alberni Teens Can Rock Facebook page or call Todd Flaro at 250-735-0784 or Greg Alkerton at 250-735-3356. There is no cost to join. Prospective members must have experience playing their chosen instrument.

editor@albernivalleynews.com