SAGINAW, Michigan (WJRT) - (07/012/2019) - Third Degree Burns, a rock band made up of teenagers, made their "Friday Night Live" debut in Saginaw.
This special band, formed by the non profit "Young Musicians Community" in Lapeer, is providing young people with more than just performance skills.
18-year old singer Hannah Newsom joined the program five years ago.
We spoke with her following the group's performance at "Friday Night Live", a free summer concert series in Saginaw.
"It was terrifying," Newsom said, "you just got to trust your band mates and know that they know what they're doing, and try your best."
When she goes off to Olivet College in the Fall, her music will go with her.
"I'm going to be in the Gospel Choir for college," she noted.
18-year old Jenna Robinson joined the band six years ago. She says learning to play the guitar was not an accident.
"Eddie Van Halen, for sure, I saw him in concert and I was blown away," Robinson said, "and that was it guitar all the way."
When she heads to Eastern Michigan University, she'll take some life lessons she's learned during her time with the band.
"You're playing a song with, in this case, 15 other people," she explained. "So we have to learn how to work together to create a beautiful song."
Founder Gary Burns says he founded the Young Musicians Community in 2004. He said it all began with a vision.
"I saw Jack Black's School of Rock," he explained, "I thought I can do that, pretty egotistical thing, but it grew into something bigger."
The program, which is now in its 15th year, teaches young people how to play an instrument and perform in a band, all at no charge.
There are ground rules, however.
"They have to stay off of drugs, alcohol, and smoking," said Burns.
Band members are also expected to keep their grades up, and put enough time into practicing their music.
But mostly, Burns says, it's about providing young people with a sense of belonging:
"This whole thing's about acceptance," he said, "kids are just dying to feel like a part of something"
Now that school is out, their next gig will actually be on a week night.
Third Degree Burns, named after their founder, will perform at
"School Yard Rocks" at Grand Blanc High School on Tuesday, July 16th at 7pm.