Chasing Elroy
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Chasing Elroy

Band Alternative Rock


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By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

Colette Page, 16, and Kelsey Elder, 17, were doing homework at a Minneapolis coffee shop last month, but their minds kept drifting to the financial problems facing their high school down the street. Watershed High School had a budget deficit of $123,000, and the bill was due by the end of January. The Waldorf school had erased about $75,000, but more money was needed -- and fast. Said Page: "We figured a bake sale wasn't going to do it."

But a fundraiser featuring some popular Twin Cities bands might generate some real cash, they figured. So they discussed it with the school and joined forces with other students and parents.

The result: an all-day fundraiser Sunday featuring about 15 bands and some of the hottest young musicians in Minnesota -- the Alarmists, White Light Riot, Chasing Elroy. The musicians, students and parents took over two floors at Stella's Fish Cafe in Minneapolis' Uptown area, which donated space and a slice of food proceeds to the event.

There were also photo ops with the Minnesota RollerGirls, an all-female roller derby league, plus the more usual T-shirt sales and a silent auction featuring items such as jewelry, doggy gift baskets and CDs.

"I knew we'd get this off the ground, but I never expected we'd have this insane number of people," said Page, clutching a clipboard and fielding questions from volunteers on the airy second floor of Stella's.

"I thought we'd be able to get our friends and their bands and have an open mike at school. I never expected to be standing next to White Light Riot. And there's people piling through the door. It's been amazing."

The Minnesota Department of Education, which is working with Watershed High School, a charter school, on its budget woes, also is impressed. It's not uncommon for charter schools to face financial difficulties, they said. But it's unusual for a group of students to undertake such an ambitious response.

"I think it shows a great degree of dedication and creativity from the students," said Randy Wanke, spokesman for the Education Department. "We've been working with the school, and they've come together and righted the ship. They are a school that we'd hold up as a model, to show how a charter school can work with the department and be successful."

The school, at 2344 Nicollet Av. S., has about 100 students in grades 9-12. It was conceptualized in 1996 by a group of students from City of Lakes Waldorf School who wanted to continue the Waldorf model beyond middle school. It became a public charter school in 2002. It is housed in the same brown brick building as the City of Lakes (grades 1-8).

"Our goal is to inspire creative thinking, not to force-feed facts," according to its website.

Watershed ran into financial difficulties this year because of an unexpected decline in enrollment and because the school had to repay some special education funding from the state, said Jamie Hepner, dean of students.

Since September, it laid off its administrator, cut the front desk position and divided the work among volunteers. And some teachers agreed to teach extra classes without pay.

Hepner -- and students -- say the school is like an extended family and they'll do whatever it takes to keep it open.

The stars seemed to align themselves for the fundraiser, which was pulled together in about five weeks. For starters, a lot of the students are musicians. Hepner is a former bouncer and had contacts. And parent Scott Herald had considerable experience organizing fundraisers with musicians.

Herald recalled that when his daughter Jade Gomez told him how much money the students wanted to raise, he replied: "We're going to need some help."

They advertised on MySpace, on Radio K, through the bands' member lists and more, said Herald, standing outside one of the two stages where musicians were playing.

By 8 p.m. Sunday, some 500 people had come through the doors, school officials said. They won't have a total of money raised until today.

For the musicians, the fundraiser was a way to help an interesting school and reach out to their next generation of listeners.

Eric Lovold, guitarist and vocalist for the Alarmists, said he had never heard of the school until Herald contacted the group. But the band was impressed by students' enthusiasm.

Said Lovold: "I wish I would have believed in my high school as much as they do."

- Star Tribune

Watershed students are doing their part to help the school meet its fundraising goal, organizing what one student called "one helluva bake sale". Students asked local rock bands to donate their time to play at an all-day benefit concert called Rock on Water, held at an Uptown restaurant. The Alarmists, White Light Riot, Chasing Elroy and other local bands were in the lineup. - MPR

SEE I TUNES - i tunes


Random - 2005
Abandoning Cherokee Avenue - 2007
Revenge Tonight-2008



The Bio: Chasing Elroy is a four Rock From St. Paul, MN. Their first EP, Random, was released in 2005. The EP sold 1,000 copies which led to Chasing Elroy playing South By Southwest in Austin, Texas as well as Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The band also achieved college radio success with the songs “Random” and “Leaving” cracking the top 20 in Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and parts of Michigan. In early 2007, the band released their follow-up EP, Abandoning Cherokee Avenue. In the summer of 2007, the band released their third EP, Revenge Tonight. They are currently in the studio to record a full length album that is set for release this summer and are putting together a nationwide tour starting in the Midwest. The musicians from Chasing Elroy combine their different playing backgrounds such as jazz, singer-song writer, hardcore, and pop punk to form their unique sound. They have been described as a pop rock mix between Death Cab For Cutie and Thrice.