Midcoast teen musicians release album

Sep 30, 2019
The Extensions Chords enjoy their recording studio time.

MAINE — The Extension Chords, a trio of high school musicians from the Midcoast, won the top band award at the statewide MAMM SLAM competition earlier this year. One of the prizes was professional studio time and the resulting album, “Lucky," is now available on SoundCloud.

Along with the top band award, Katherine Bowen (electric bass), Myles Kelley (keyboard) and Owen Markowitz (drums) won first place honors in their individual instruments at the competition sponsored by the Maine Academy of Modern Music in Portland.

Katherine, Myles and Owen met as middle school students at District 3 music festivals. Separately, they enrolled for individual music lessons at Midcoast Music Academy (MCMA) in Rockland, and then played together as freshmen for the Academy’s Teen Jazz Ensemble. They each credit MCMA with ear training, music theory, and notation, all of which made them better musicians and allowed them to write original songs.

Owen said the Academy’s method of bringing students and older professionals to play together is inspiring and teaches, among other things, that you can’t get to perfection because you can always get better. He and Myles often skip lunch at school and play together, challenging each other to play slowly. Owen says he practices music to “make myself a better person.” He says, “Music is the greatest form of life.” Members of the trio, and their parents, have become the best of friends.

They ascribe their professional success to Tom Ulichny, founder and creative director of MCMA, who coached them early on about how to manage correspondence and how to conduct themselves when performing. He counseled them to always start with a greeting, manage an accurate calendar, be flexible about learning special songs, and to be inflexible about price. They say Tom thought about what they needed next; Tom, Stu Gurley, the late Gary Clancy, and Robin Lane, all from the Academy, were supportive, encouraging, and invested in their success.

The three musicians also credit their parents with helping them along. Only Owen, whose father, Mitch Markowitz, is a professional musician and counselor, had a parent in the music business. Katherine and Myles say their parents had great taste in music, and there was lots of listening at home. Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong were favorites. Myles said he “could have been raised on country music” and that might have changed everything.

Their first paid gig was at the Michael Good Gallery in Rockport. Since then they have performed all over Midcoast Maine. Just this summer they performed for the MCMA Patron Party, The Strand Theatre employees event, First Friday at the Farnsworth, Fiore Art Center patrons’ event, the Quarry Hill Lobster Bake, and Georges River Land Trust.

Owen is a junior, but seniors Katherine and Myles are thinking about what’s next after high school — Katherine is interested in marine science, Miles in computer science, and both know music will always be in their lives.

 

 

 

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