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Teen band plays for music education

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ATLANTA -

As more and more schools slash music programs along with their budget, a group of local teen musicians who call themselves Anonymous aren't letting the music die.

If you closed your eyes and just listened, you'd think the smooth sounds flowing from the instruments were being played by seasoned professionals.

"I'd say it's like a funk and a pop. Because we bring like a popular edge to our music, even though we take older songs, we play them to young groups," said North Atlanta High School student Maxwell Estis.

The musicians are teenagers. Saxophonist Langston Michael is a sophomore at North Springs High School, 17-year-old bassist Carrington Edmondson goes to Druid Hills High School, the pianist is 16-year-old Estis and the man keeping the group on beat is 13-year-old Justice Michael of Ridgeview Charter School.

"We just wanted to play some funky music and the camps they were going to were playing jazz. We didn't want it to be all jazz," said Justice Michael.

They write their own music and perform all over the metro area. They say they play for a purpose.

"We're trying to keep music alive. Because that's the way people connect. There's no violence in music or anything. It's something we enjoy, something we just like," said Edmondson.

"That's the epitome of what you want out of anybody. And they're doing it on their own," said band teacher Mike Gibson.

Gibson is the band teacher at Ridgeview Charter School where Michael attends. He says music in schools, though less and less common, is needed now more than ever.

"I'm afraid we're going to lose out on an opportunity for a lot of kids, even if they don't become professional musicians down the road. Music is integrated into everything we do. How many people ride down the road without the radio on," said Gibson.

Members of Anonymous say even if they never make it big, they want other kids to know music and have the opportunity to write their own life's melody.

"Somewhere they found a spark, be it a band that they've seen play or a director that they've had. And it just ignited that little spark and they've gone farther and farther and farther and it's incredible," said Gibson.

Anonymous is going to a step further to improve music education in schools. They've entered a national teen battle of the bands competition. If they win, Atlanta area schools will get thousands of dollars for their music programs, but you've got to vote for them!

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