Talon News - Good Local News



September 1, 2017

Imagine Band - 16 members and hundreds of fans! (not pictured Tammy Kauvaka)

Diverse ages, musical influences and distinctive talents are the foundation for an exciting Aztec band. Formed in 2015, The Imagine Band is comprised of students and adults ranging from 12 to 63. They do original tunes and perform decades of popular songs, seeking broad audience appeal. Jim Kuzma, who teaches guitar, photography, videography and Microsoft Word at Koogler Middle School, produces the band, plays bass guitar and is a lead and harmony vocalist.

Kuzma said, "we're currently working on our first CD of original songs, written primarily by Shantell Evans, Michael Stephens and myself. We are recording at Eagle Sound in Durango." With eclectic set lists, the band performs their originals and diverse song covers. "We enjoy performing together playing styles of music we each enjoy - Imagine is a family really - we all respect each others influences which cover a wide range of genres. We don't go to extremes, rather we focus on music that is appropriate for families. I started playing professionally when I was 14 years old during the Woodstock era of large outdoor concerts, hence the reason I am dedicated to The Imagine Band and the dream we all share."

Upcoming gigs include The First Annual Animas Valley Barbeque Showdown, 10-noon at McGee Park on October 1; and a Koogler Middle School Halloween dance on October 31. The dance will include "costume contests, glow-in-the-dark fun, and really good music," Jim said. "We're spending the month of September working on original songs, as we're returning to the recording studio soon."

Asked about the biggest challenge for the expanded band, Kuzma stated, "Having us all in the same place at the same time ... other than that, we all work together very well during practice and on stage." They practice during 4th hour at KMS and occasionally on weekends. Describing the upgraded sound equipment provided by the Aztec School District, Kuzma said, "Mr. Banish and Mr. Carpenter saw us perform last May during the KMS field day and told us that the district had some equipment in storage that may benefit the band." The band was very pleased when it arrived, as the powerful amplifiers enabled them to perform outdoor concerts. The band runs an impressive LED light show with black lights, beam lasers, pin spots, strobe lights and a bank of colored spotlights. "We are currently adding a drum riser, equipped with LED lights and a dry ice fog machine. We have also just added four wireless systems, wireless mics and wireless guitar systems, which eliminates many cords from our stage," he added.

Surpassing original expectations, the band has been featured on KOBTV, covered in local newspapers, and is now seeking a recording contract. Original members are: Shantell Evans, Garret McClure, Anun McCormack, Erica Georgev, Jim Kuzma, KMS math teacher Michael Stephens, KMS secretary Tammy Kauvaka as business manager. The onstage lineup is fluid and performance-based, with new members this year including, Bryon Canion, Aiden Talcott, Brynn Kirby, Rebecca Weitham, Raven Young, Xochitl Coronado and Kylie Kellanares. Other vital members of the group are Evelyn Martinez and Malaya Chavez handling sound and lighting, and promoter Jesse Kuzma.

The Imagine Band has established the "Imagine Scholarship," which will provide a music scholarship for an AHS graduate. The group will also be conducting food drives this year and will deliver to families in need. Kuzma asks that if anyone in the community has old music equipment, they consider donating to the group, to help those who may not be able to afford them. To book the band, contact Tammy Kauvaka at 505-320-8516.

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