Hazelton’s Racket wins B.C.’s Best Teen Band

The Racket played their hearts out and won YouThink magazine's B.C.'s Best Teen Band competition.

They were confident, they were focused and they played their hearts out and that’s all it took for local teen band, The Racket, to take YouThink magazine’s B.C.’s Best Teen Band competition.

The South Hazelton trio has Elijah Larsen on guitar and lead vocals, Stephen deWit on bass and Simon Stockner on drums.

“We just screamed, every time someone asked us how it felt,” 19-year-old deWitt, said.

It didn’t hurt that half of the crowd on hand were family and friends.

“It was half competition and half family reunion,” deWit said.

The finals, held at the Electric Owl Social Club in Vancouver, April 27, pitted The Racket against two other bands, also selected based on fan voting, in a four-song showdown, one of which had to be a cover song.

The other two bands chose to cover well known songs, deWitt said, but The Racket looked in their own backyard and settled on Rachelle van Zanten’s Shelter.

“We know her really well and she’s a great friend of ours and we wanted to play something people probably hadn’t heard before,” deWitt said.

The day of the final competition was a busy day with little time to practice and little time to prepare before show time.

“We just huddled in a circle and told each other there was nobody else we would rather be on that stage with,” deWitt said.

It turn’s out that’s all they needed as the band had practiced every weekend and they also practiced the songs individually.

The Racket opened their set with their own song titled Shelter and followed that up with Van Zanten’s Shelter, then closed out their set with Diamond Sky from their most recent CD and Spanish Dancer, a song they wrote in the weeks before last summer’s Kispiox Music Festival.

Despite the pressure of the event and being first on stage, de Witt said the band wasn’t nervous in the moments before taking the stage.

“We were just happy, focused right in on it,” he said.

“All the excitement and apprehension just turned into being focused and so into the music.”

In addition to $2,000 toward artist development, $500 in gift cards from Long & McQuade, winning the competition also earned The Racket a songwriting workshop with Wide Mouth Mason singer Shaun Verrault and a free studio session with Jay Evjen of Juicemix Production at Greenhouse Studios to record a single.

The Smithers/Hazleton trio are also appearing on the May/June cover of YouThink magazine.

As for this summer the band hope to play at a bunch of music festivals.

Looking back on the competition that began with about 40 bands, deWitt still marvels at the outcome.

“It was surreal,” he said.

“It’s crazy, it’s almost hard to believe.”

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