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Cabot kids rock the classroom - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Cabot kids rock the classroom

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CABOT, Vt. -

The Cabot High School Band is tuning up for a performance playing for the entire Cabot School.

"We are not an average school band," senior Hugh Burke said.

Forget the sheet music and the conductor up front, these are the Limes, a professional band made up of 21 kids.

Burke plays the keyboard.

Reporter Gina Bullard: What makes this not your average high school band?

Hugh Burke: I think it's the amount of leadership the students have.

From creating the music to selling merchandise, the kids run the whole gig.

Teacher Brian Boyes came up with the idea.

"I am the facilitator of greatness," he said.

Boyes is a musician, composer and award-winning educator. During class he often finds his place onstage, jamming with the kids stepping in only when needed.

"My approach is to have them own the experience, building learning experience so they can write their own music, run the sound lights tech, do the booking, run the business, develop the business, everything," Boyes said.

"It's not just playing music if you're going to be in a band, it's a lot of money handling, you have to be organized," Burke said.

Boyes came up with the idea eight years ago. Those former students played 40 shows and recorded two CDs during the yearlong class. He tries something new every school year.

"It's really relevant. It's music they can connect with," Boyes said.

And this year the band-based learning is back. Since the Limes only have a year to shine, there's a lot of work to do to be as professional as possible.

"If it doesn't work it's because they haven't gotten their yet," Boyes said. "I'm allowing them to succeed and to discover mistakes and learn from those mistakes."

"We're a big group of people who just have a lot of fun playing instruments," member Kassandra Morse said.

From elementary schools to opening up for other Vermont musicians, the kids book all of the gigs themselves. And just like a professional band, they load and unload the van when they hit the road.

"With 20-something kids it's a lot of stuff," Burke said.

Gina Bullard: And they're poor like a normal band.

Brian Boyes: I know! They have to raise money like a normal band. We played in Boston a month ago and our car broke down on the way.

"I've learned a lot," Morse said. "I started helping manage the band, so I was writing booking emails asking if they want to hear us play and then I started writing lyrics which is really hard."

But that hard work is paying off. They're learning teamwork and what it takes to make music: the writing, the creativity and the business of being in a band.

And the Limes are hitting a high note.

They are currently raising money to produce their first CD. Click here for their Kickstarter fundraising page.

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