Press Release

March 7, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio (March 7, 2013) — Friday, March 1, was a cold, blustery night, but that
didn’t stop the top ten high school bands in central Ohio from heating up the stage at
GROOVE U’s Instaband finale. Nearly 500 fans, bands and partners were in attendance to
witness the battle for a recording contract, complete with a professionally recorded EP,
music video, website and more!

The judges’ vote was unanimous. Metal band, A F(r)iend in Me, with members from
Groveport Madison High School and Arts & College Preparatory Academy clinched the
2013 Instaband title (see the winner announced on the Instaband YouTube channel). In the
process, approximately $3,000 was raised for three local youth-based music education
nonprofits the — Dick & Jane Project, Music Loves Ohio and Through Mind’s Eyes.
The runner up was alternative rock band, Mirror Image, from Watkins Memorial High
School. They received $500 worth of recording time at Vaughan Music Studios, an
Instaband Diamond level partner. The night got exciting when third place was too close to
call, and Hollywood Red and Underground Magic had to play a third song as a tie-breaker.
Hollywood Red, a rock band with members from Gahanna Lincoln and Reynoldsburg High
Schools, took third place and won a $250 gift card from Instaband Executive Producer —
Music Go Round.

“We were blown away by the level of talent and professionalism of the participants, and
by the amount of support from family, friends and fans,” said Dwight Heckelman, Director
of GROOVE U’s revolutionary music career program. “What an amazing first year for
Instaband! We want to thank all the partners, judges, emcees, bands, fans and especially
GROOVE U students for making it a successful event.”

From start to finish, the Instaband competition was produced by first-year GROOVE U
students: Aaron Dill, Christian Porter, Derek Rassmussen, Katherine Dotson, and
Zachry Earhart. They developed the rules and judging criteria, handled marketing and
promotion and functioned as stage managers, sound technicians, publicity managers, back
line managers and videographers, all the while gaining real-world music business

Local radio personality, Mark Dantzer, emceed the event which was judged by the
following panel of local celebrity judges:

  • Jerry DePizzo, O.A.R.

  • Dwight Heckelman, Founder and Director, GROOVE U

  • Kevin Joy, Features Reporter, The Columbus Dispatch

  • Brian Lucey, Grammy-winning Master Engineer, Magic Garden Mastering

  • Shayla Reaves, News Reporter, WBNS 10TV

“It is a natural fit for us to have our students produce Instaband as a way to help build
community, plus it’s a great hands-on learning experience, which is part of our DNA here
at GROOVE U,” said Heckelman. “GROOVE U believes in the power of the local music
community, and we see a real need for local high school artists to engage that


GROOVE U is a revolutionary two-year music business career program located in
Columbus, Ohio. Led by 20-year music industry veteran Dwight Heckelman, GROOVE U
focuses on a career-centered approach to learning developed by active industry
professionals. The guiding philosophy of the program is that the music industry is
creatively engaged, apprenticeship based and relationship driven. The full-time program
offers small, personalized classes with both a broad, solid foundation and specialized
areas of study in: live music, production, business, video and interactive. The school
officially opened its brand new 30,000-square foot campus in September 2012, and is
currently enrolling for Fall 2013.