Music and Money prove right 'in tune' for aspiring Maine musicians

April 12, 2016

Finalists in the band and soloist/duo categories of the Sound Off Music Competition gathered at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer recently, to perform their original music live before a panel of judges. Portland-based duo Happy Folk and the band Max Ater & The Marshalls of Bath were the Grand Prize winners of 'Sound Off', sponsored by Maine's credit unions.  Both winners received a $500 gift certificate to Main Street Music Studios and the opportunity to perform at the 2016 Old Port Festival on Sunday, June 12.

Strong media coverage from local TV and radio provided positive awareness for the contest and the Young & Free Maine program.  Nik Hasenfus and Aria Zarnoski of Happy Folk spoke with WLBZ 2/WCSH 6 after their win. "It stresses the importance of working on something that you believe in, despite economic or other reasons you might decide not to," said Nik.  "[We're] chasing the dream, really, and just going at it no matter what," continued Aria. "If you have work, if you have school...For us, we're full time school students and full time workers. Music is hard, but we make it work. It's a passion and it's never going to die."

This was the fifth year that Young & Free Maine sponsored and hosted the Sound Off Music Competition. The contest is open to Maine residents between the ages of 18-25, and musicians may enter in one of two categories: band or soloist/duo. The four-judge panel was comprised of Andrew Clifford, President and Founder of Main Street Music Studios; Brad O'Brien, bass teacher and member of the trio River Bottom Funk; Jared Wilkinson, folk artist, jazz musician, and member of 2015 Sound Off winning band Sasquatch; and Josh Howes, Branch Manager of Maine Savings FCU.

"Maine Credit Unions really care about reaching that younger audience, so this is a great way to do that. We connect through music and give these young musicians a chance to win some really cool prizes," said Young & Free Maine Spokester Mallory Lavoie in an interview with WABI 5.

All finalists have been featured on the Young & Free Maine website. In addition to the prizes received by the Grand Prize winners, 1st Runner-Up finalists Logan Burns and the band Wyld Lyfe each won a promotional video, along with a DJ interview and live performance on WCYY 94.3. The 2nd Runner Up finalists Paige & Brooke and the band Hours North each won a customized marketing and promotional package.