Summertime serves as a much-needed break from the scholastic grind for students all over. For a particular group of rising high schoolers, the summer is just another quarter of a year-around commitment to music. A+ Plus Dropouts is a teen pop rock band truly thriving as young performers despite the demands of the classroom.
As a part of the generation that uses web applications and networking sites to connect with friends nearly as much as face time, Cheska took her idea to start a band to the Internet. She, now being the lead singer and guitarist at age 13, was able to connect with guitarist Erik (14), bassist Liam (15) and drummer Brendan (14). Shockingly enough, Cheska would also take on the bulk of the songwriting as an adolescent with some help from her bandmates. Support from their parents, classmates and even teachers allowed for this foursome to hit the ground running, gigging on the weekends with school in session.
Since their start in late 2009, the band's run has been nothing short of impressive. They have played more than 100 shows, including shows with reputable names like Public Enemy and Sister Hazel. They take advantage of their Northern Virginia base by rocking places like Jaxx, , the 9:30 Club and the National Harbor. The tour stops have reached across Virginia, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and even Wisconsin. For Cheska, the most memorable of all of their live sets was a Best Buy in-store in The Empire State, New York.
Cheska happily takes notice of the many screaming school friends that attend their performances. That following continues to grow with their live appearances and a crafty online presence with engaging YouTube visuals and timely Facebook updates. They have been covered by major D.C. metro news stations like NBC 4, Fox 5 and TBD Channel News 8, making them one of the most accomplished teenage bands for miles.
The Dropout sound is a vibrant one that matches their stage show energy and makes them relatable to their peers. As proven by the artists that the A+ Dropouts look up to, they are students of music just as much as academics. World-renowned rockers Paramore serve as a primary influence, but it does not stop there. “It’s different for each band member. When it comes to songwriting, we all pull from different sides,” said their singer. Other primary influences include The Offspring, Green Day and Guns N’ Roses.
This teen band has a notable appreciation of musicianship and a clear goal in mind for the future. “We just want to keep doing what we’re doing, getting better with our craft and getting more known with our music.”
Look out for these soon-to-be stars, for A+ Dropouts is sure to graduate to new heights in both the classroom and on stage.