Local non-profit provides a community for young musicians

As a 14-year-old kid playing drums in his parents’ basement, Executive Director of Communications for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools (P-CCS), Nick Brandon, longed for a space where he could practice his art as passionately as he’d like, without disruption. If student athletes had a place to go to for their sport, why couldn’t young musicians have the same?

The answer is, they can. 

“Community access and support.” That’s how founder and executive director, Nick Brandon, describes In the Band, a local non-profit organization that gives young musicians a safe space to work on their craft and develop relationships with other like-minded students.   

 “​​I grew up as a very sensitive, artistic kind of young person who really discovered that music was the one thing in my life that I could rely on,” Brandon said. 

Salem High School graduate of 1998, Brandon never forgot his desire for an inclusive musical outlet. With the closing and repurposing of Central Middle School into a community center (Plymouth Arts Recreation Complex) in 2015, it seemed like the ultimate opportunity to make Brandon’s dream a reality. 

“We found the perfect space for us, room 202. And In the Band was officially born,” Brandon said. 

Over the years, In the Band has provided a wide-range of musical opportunities for middle school through college-aged students, Brandon said. In addition to a versatile rehearsal space with a variety of instruments and equipment, the non-profit has also put on a number of student-led concerts. 

“It’s a really cool opportunity for students who may not have had a lot of exposure before,” Madelyn Turill, social media manager for In the Band, said.  

Turill has been working behind the scenes with In the Band for four years. Even though she isn’t a musician herself, Turill has always been drawn to the local music scene.

“I love watching kids grow as talented musicians and beautiful songwriters and performers,” Turill said. 

Detroit-based singer-songwriter and 2019 Canton High School graduate, Marquette Winston, is just one example of the many talented musicians who now call In the Band home. 

“In the Band was my first kind of community where there’s other people my age who take music seriously,” Winston said.  

However, In the Band is for more than just musicians. 

“That space is a place where not only people who make music, but people who are big fans of music, come and enjoy themselves,” Winston said. 

In the Band’s signature student-led concerts first began in what used to be the library of Central Middle School, Brandon said. Over the years, these organic, laid-back performances have transitioned to full-fledged concerts with more than 300 audience members in the basement of PARC. 

“In March of 2019, I hosted my album release show at In The Band. That was amazing,” Winston said. 

While In the Band focuses more on developing an artist’s craft than the concerts themselves, the beloved performances sparked an even greater way for young musicians to be heard.

“I had the idea to put our musicians on vinyl twice a year. I thought that’d be so cool for our students to have their song on a vinyl record in it,” Brandon said. 

In the Band was just about to celebrate their sixth vinyl release before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed their plans. 

“We were in such a wonderful place–we were growing, we were gaining notoriety,” Brandon said. “And then March of 2020 hit, and it just upended everything that we did.”  

With seemingly no end of the pandemic in sight, Brandon was forced to postpone all in-person concerts and use of its rehearsal space until August of 2021. 

“We can’t wait to reestablish where we were at pre-COVID. And we hope that happens really soon,” Brandon said. 

While concerts have been suspended temporarily, In the Band’s rehearsal space is currently open  with plenty of COVID-friendly precautions in place, Turill said. 

Community members are encouraged to keep up with the organization’s happenings by following In the Band’s many social media platforms. 

Despite setbacks, In the Band has and will continue to be a safe haven for young musicians who crave a community and long to be heard. 

“In the Band was always there for me and it will alway be for other performers,” said Turill.” I’m excited to see other kids take advantage of that.”

To utilize In the Band’s free rehearsal space, contact Nick Brandon at [email protected]. For more information, visit inthebandstudio.com.