Personal With Jamie

Every year countless high school students sign up for the many athletic extra-curricular activities available to them. These sports usually involve; basketball, football, soccer, rugby, and sometimes even badminton. I was one of the few students at St. Mary High School who participated in all of these sports. As I look back at what I did in high school, I wonder if maybe I would have been better off if I didn’t play sports. I could have done better in school without those distractions. Maybe picked up music a bit sooner in life. But then again, I did make some of my best friends in sports, and matured as a person. Considering all that I did in high school that involved sports, and where I am now, I think I would have been better off, if I didn’t participate in high school athletics.

                 “High school sports are, safe, fun, and build school spirit.” Mr. Healy the principle of my high school said that bit every year, usually on the first day when all the classes were assembled in the gymnasium. I didn’t matter how safe the coaches and referees tried to be, someone always gets hurt. That’s just the nature of contact sports, and I don’t think any sport involves more contact than rugby.

                Rugby was the one sport, that game after game, the class rooms would be empty and the students were allowed to come watch the St. Mary Crusaders rugby team play. The teachers always thought it was that somehow for that one sport all the students were overcome by school spirit. I knew better. They came out to watch other school rip us apart, and usually the crowd got what they wanted. It was almost comical to listen to the crowd cringe in unison when someone gets hit so hard there mouth guard flies twenty yards. Looking back now, I consider playing rugby possibly the most useless thing that I did my entire high school career. I didn’t gain anything form it, no trophy’s, we never even made the playoffs. The only thing I ever got from playing rugby was; two broken ribs, a broken nose, and a concussion.

                Injuries happen in any sport; I once sprained my ankle playing badminton. It’s not easy to look tough when your coach has to help you off the badminton court in front of your school. Football was always the worst though. Every team had what we would call the “Gimp Squad,” consisting mostly of bruised players who require crutches to walk effectively. Coincidentally, football was also my favorite sport.

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                When I was in the ninth grade, the St. Mary Crusaders, had just gotten a football team, and I was part of it. For a while I was proud to be a part of the first team in school history, until our first game. The score was Rams 52, Crusaders 7. I didn’t get on the field very much in that game. I was a six foot tall receiver that weighed less than my IQ. By the time I was in grade eleven though, I was captain of the football team, And in grade twelve, we actually went to the playoffs. Going to the playoffs was a huge deal for my team. St. Mary had earned a reputation for having the worst sports teams in our division. If anything, that year would be the only thing that made practicing in the rain, and staying up late to do homework worth it.

                My high school maintained that every student needed to have a sixty percent average to play sports. When I graduated high school, my average for the full four years was sixty-eight percent. I do think that if I had not participated in any sports, and instead focused on my studies I could have done much better. I also could have gained better study habits that would even benefit me now that I am in a college setting.

                When I was in high school, if I didn’t participate in athletics, I would have not had any of the serious injuries that still bother me now, such as; headaches from multiple concussions, and joint issues in both my shoulder and knee. I also would have had the opportunity to do much better in school which would help me as I continue in college now. With all these things in mind, I would have to say that I would have been much better off if I did not participate in athletics, when I was in high school.

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My name is Jamie Sturgeon, and I am one of the founding members of Chasing Amber consisting of members; Cameron Roderick, Brandon Roderick, Austin Stevenson, Dustyn Locke. I am in the second year of the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. I only have about 4 years of experience under my belt but with my talented band- mates, we think we've created a group that has the potential to break into the music industry. My blog will document Chasing Amber's early days.

Band Facebook  Personal Facebook  band twitter

Keeping On Track

 

With all the distractions that come with being in a band it can be hard to stay on track. It’s easy to forget about your responsibilities and focus on music. But Chasing Amber is making efforts to keep our non-musical lives running smoothly.

Opportunities to tour as bar band in Ontario can be tempting, and Chasing Amber has already had such offers. But with two of our member still enrolled in high school, and myself with one year left in college, Chasing Amber has made a group decision to stay in Brockville for the remainder of the school year.

We made this choice because we don’t want to shoot ourselves in the feet if our goal of music stardom doesn’t come to fruition. You hear about people and bands who dropped out of high school because they were talented, a good example of that is country music star Keith Urban; who dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and moved to the United States for a shot at fame.

Going to work or school can seem boring when you compare it to the thrill of a live show, but for at least a few more months, it’s a boredom that we are happy to deal with, for more reasons than just the education. Spending more time playing small shows and practicing to make sure that when we do decide to go on tour, we will be well rehearsed and prepared for the life of a musician. For now one of the things we do is make short videos covering songs of other artists. It can gain us fans and it’s something for the band to do together that can be very fun. 

 

A cover of "Save You" By the band Simple Plan

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My name is Jamie Sturgeon, and I am one of the founding members of a young band called Chasing Amber consisting of members; Cameron Roderick, Brandon Roderick, Austin Stevenson, Dustyn Locke, and myself. I am in the second year of the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. I have not played music for very long only have about 4 years of experience under my belt but a host a very talented individuals including myself have banded together to create a group that has the potential to break into the music industry. I am responsible for the piano, keys, and acoustic guitar in both recording sessions and live shows. My blog will be a personal journey through the different areas in which Chasing Amber plans to excel or is involved in.

Band Facebook  Personal Facebook band twitter

#DIFA

 A picture taken by a fan who later posted it to the official Chasing Amber Facebook

A picture taken by a fan who later posted it to the official Chasing Amber Facebook

Recently, Chasing Amber performed a three-song set at Brockville Collegiate Institute, a high school in Brockville Ontario. The show was in memory of a student at the high school named Aaron Stevenson, who passed away a little over a month ago. The show was very emotional for all the members of the band, because some were close with Aaron. Drummer Austin Stevenson is his older brother, and bassist Dustyn Locke was a close friend.

The band played a group of emotional songs dedicated to Aaron, and for the last song in the set, Willie Stevenson, Aaron’s father played a song with Chasing Amber. The show was a success and was filmed by the Eastern Ontario Network. Video

The phrase “Do it for Aaron.” #DIFA, has gained local notoriety, and Chasing Amber has adopted it as our personal motivation for improving every day, and becoming the band that we can be. Aaron Stevenson was a very involved musician in the city of Brockville.

Chasing Amber was just one of the many local acts that came out to support a fellow musician’s family. Aislynn Barlow, a student at BCI and a friend of Aaron's had a hand in organizing the show and introduced all the musicians throughout the night.

 It has been a long road for the Stevenson family, coping with the loss of Aaron. Listening to local musicians is not going to magically make anything better, but knowing how many people cared and want to support them truly does make them feel better. 

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My name is Jamie Sturgeon, and I am one of the founding members of Chasing Amber consisting of members; Cameron Roderick, Brandon Roderick, Austin Stevenson, Dustyn Locke. I am in the second year of the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. I only have about 4 years of experience under my belt but with my talented band- mates, we think we've created a group that has the potential to break into the music industry. My blog will document Chasing Amber's early days.

Band Facebook  Personal Facebook  band twitter

 

Hit record, I'm ready to sing

 

In the past many musicians stayed away from self recording. But when you’re a young band just starting out, you can’t always afford to travel to a studio and pay them to record your track. That’s why in the early days of Chasing Amber, we have decided to take a DIY approach.

Recording and finishing a track is no simple task, many things are needed, and not all of them can be bought. You can buy all the computers and programs that you like, but you need to know how to operate them properly to get a good final product. Luckily for Chasing Amber, lead singer Cameron Roderick doubles as a studio technician.  Having worked with recording software and with experience recording amateur demos for musicians, Cameron Roderick has filled the role of studio technician in Chasing Amber.

 Chasing Amber's official logo

Chasing Amber's official logo

Time is also a factor when recording. You need to record every instrument individually and listen to it closely to ensure that the track is flawless before finalizing it. This must be done for every instrument, though it doesn't always go perfectly the first time. Vocal tracks, however, take a long time no matter what. Have you ever heard someone say “That band sucks live?” This is because the lead singer has as many chances as he wants to hit every note perfectly and record it flawlessly. During live shows, mistakes are unavoidable.

Once all that is done, the final touches are put on the demo: checking to make sure all the volume levels mix and blend together so one instrument doesn't drown out the other, and final vocal editing. After we do all of those things, we have a great demo to send away to record labels, venues, and of course our friends and family.

Listen to Chasing Amber's Cover of "Every Time We Touch" by Cascada

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My name is Jamie Sturgeon, and I am one of the founding members of Chasing Amber consisting of members; Cameron Roderick, Brandon Roderick, Austin Stevenson, Dustyn Locke. I am in the second year of the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. I only have about 4 years of experience under my belt but with my talented band- mates, we think we've created a group that has the potential to break into the music industry. My blog will document Chasing Amber's early days.

 

Practice Makes Perfect

 

“Practice makes perfect.” It’s a phrase that the boys from Chasing Amber and I have heard as much as anyone, and plan to put to the test. Two additions to the band recently boosted numbers to an uncommon six members, and with all the roles filled and prepared, practice has flown to new heights.

The one-car garage with three car-loads of equipment and instruments inside is dimly lit by colored light bulbs that according to Cameron, lead singer “prepares ourselves for the atmosphere of playing shows.” I can’t argue with that logic, being the most inexperienced member of the band. But I go along with the lights because simply they look awesome while we're playing and having a good time.

 Practice Pays off, the guys are all smiles after their first show

Practice Pays off, the guys are all smiles after their first show

Lately the practice atmosphere has changed. Since our band has found all its members the practice has become somewhat two-toned. We go from extreme seriousness and dedicated music making, to playing time for young adults at the local bar.

Chasing Amber is fortunate to feel we have great potential in the music industry,but also, We're genuine friends.

I think we can all agree that life goes more smoothly when you surround yourself with people whose company you enjoy. That is the key to the success of Chasing Amber’s early practice sessions and the many that are to come.  

For information on the band visit the band facebook page

 

 

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Jamie Sturgeon

 

 

My name is Jamie Sturgeon, and I am one of the founding members of Chasing Amber consisting of members; Cameron Roderick, Brandon Roderick, Austin Stevenson, Dustyn Locke. I am in the second year of the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. I only have about 4 years of experience under my belt but with my talented band- mates, we think we've created a group that has the potential to break into the music industry. My blog will document Chasing Amber's early days.

Visit my Band Facebook for more information:  Chasing Amber Facebook

Visit my Facebook page to listen: Jamie Sturgeon Facebook

Visit band twitter to follow: Chasing Amber Twitter