Brena
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Brena

Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States | SELF

Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop

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Music

Press


There's a good reason pop-rock outfit Brena recently won Leelanau Sands Casino's Rock Your Way to the Top contest as well as one of Muskegon Summer Celebration's battle of the bands competitions (for the second year in a row): The band features talented, expertly trained musicians who are darned good at producing catchy music. And based on the quintet's second CD, "Told You Twice," they're getting even better at it.

Sean and Steffan Copenhaver, Jeff Link, Craig Avery and Justin Sharrow celebrate the new album with a CD-release show at 8 p.m. Friday at The Intersection, 133 Grandville Ave. SW ($10), with Sidetrack, The Real Top Gun, The Last Pop Band and Bird Rights also performing. Read my story about Brena (in this week's Weekend section) and listen to the song, "Still Be Here," which has been getting some local radio airplay. - Grand Rapids Press


GRAND RAPIDS -- Not many pop-rock bands boast the impressive musical resume Brena can trot out.

Drummer Jeff Link performed for years with concert, rock and jazz bands for the U.S. Air Force and subs regularly with the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Brothers Sean and Steffan Copenhaver, whose father Lee Copenhaver is chorus accompanist and Westminster Winds director at Westminster Presbyterian Church, are classically trained -- Sean as an opera singer (who still takes voice lessons) and Steffan as a violinist (and as a trumpet player).

So suffice to say, Brena is not your average pop-rock band. And that's precisely the point.

"We like everything from Incubus to Paramore to System of a Down. I was really afraid to say that we were a pop-rock band for the longest time," said Link, 30, the oldest member of the Grand Rapids-based group. "But if you say you're 'rock,' that can be such a broad term. I think pop-rock describes the way we sound.

"But there are still a lot of dense arrangements to the songs. It might come across that it's mainstream or accessible to the ear, but if you listen, you might hear a hidden harmonic line."

That makes the five-piece band's second studio album, "Told You Twice," a more focused, more mature yet more live-sounding project than its 2009 debut. Recorded at Matt Geroux's Feverbell Recording studio in Grand Rapids, the nine-track CD already has spawned a single of sorts, "Still Be Here," that's been getting airplay on WBFX-FM (101.3).

The gigging schedule for the band -- which won one of Muskegon Summer Celebration's battle of the bands contests last month for the second year in a row, earning an opening slot for a national act -- has gotten a bit hectic in recent weeks as it works to solidify its West Michigan fan base and promote its new CD.

In fact, the same day last weekend that Steffan Copenhaver graduated from GVSU with a bachelor's degree in music education and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Craig Avery played piano at the commencement, both had to hustle north to Leelanau Sands Casino for Brena's evening performance in the casino's "Rock Your Way to the Top" contest.

Not surprisingly, Brena won that 32-band competition, too, earning a $2,000 top prize, recording time and an opening slot for Saliva on June 26.

And on Friday, Brena hosts its official CD-release party at The Intersection.

Brena's lineup solidified about two years ago: Link on drums, Sean on lead vocals, Steffan (formerly of Broken Sunday) on bass, Avery on guitar and Justin Sharrow on guitar.

"We all clicked together," Link said of joining the group and becoming its drummer. "I just dug the way the songs sounded."

The band's first CD produced "seven completely different songs. We wanted to show our versatility," Link said. "On the new record, we tried to focus more on a distinct sound for the band. It's a little more pointed in one direction."

Steffan Copenhaver, 27, considers Brena to be a pop-rock/alternative band which reflects an approach ranging from Maroon 5 to the Foo Fighters.

"I don't believe our classical experience and influences are really apparent in our sound," Copenhaver suggested, "but I think our training would be apparent to anybody who was around us in the studio or at rehearsals." - Grand Rapids Press


Discography

"Wait 'til Word Gets Around" - 2009
Told you Twice - 2010
The Sound - 2011

"Ghosts" from our soon to be released third album "The Sound" is a free download on our facebook page. (facebook.com/brenaband).

"Wait 'til Word Gets Around", "Told You Twice" and "The Sound" are all available on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, CDBaby and wherever music can be downloaded.

Photos

Bio

Brena is an Alt/Pop rock band from Grand Rapids, MI. We love performing and creating the most entertaining event possible for everyone there to see us! We are able to fill up a headlining slot of original music, or fill a 4-5 hour night of original material and mainstream music from the 70's-today.

Within two short years, the band has been fortunate enough to share the stage with such national acts as:

Tonic, Joan Jett, Saliva, Default, Candlebox, Loverboy, The Verve Pipe, Pop Evil, Black Stone Cherry, and Sugarcult.

Brena is excited to hit the road in 2012!