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May 21, 2013

Adams, are you ready to rock?

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — The hallways and the classrooms at Adams High School might be empty, but the school’s auditorium will undoubtedly be abuzz with the sounds of rock ’n’ roll during a special concert to benefit the school’s music department the evening of June 1.

Local band Kougaran, with special guests The Old Adage, will entertain audiences with their musical prowess as part of a fundraiser for Adams Parents For Instrumental Music — a volunteer booster organization whose primary goal is to offer support through time and finances to the director and students involved in the Rochester Adams bands.

Kougaran began as a project between brothers Niko and Gino Puzio, of Rochester Hills, in the summer of 2010. Over the years, its members have changed — according to Kougaran lead guitarist Niko Puzio, who now attends Columbia College Chicago. The current group — which also includes his brother and Adams High School junior Gino Puzio on drums and percussion, as well as fellow Columbia College Chicago students Chris Lucas on lead vocals, Eric Selke on bass guitar and Brandon Clites on rhythm guitar — has been together since the fall of 2012.

Jay Puzio — Niko and Gino Puzio’s father, who also manages the band with his wife, Michele — said his boys have had great experiences with the Adams music department, so they came up with the idea for the benefit concert in the fall of 2012 and have been working hard to make it a reality.

“They’re holding the benefit to give all the proceeds back to Adams’ music department, so that other kids will have the same opportunity, should they want to play music,” Jay Puzio said.

Niko Puzio, who is now a sophomore at Columbia College Chicago majoring in Contemporary Urban Pop, said the Adams music program really allowed him to purse his passion and expand his musical education.

“I was able to dual enroll at the Oakland University Guitar Ensemble because I was at a higher level of guitar playing. That really helped out, when it came to applying for college, because they recognized that, and I got into Columbia College Chicago. It was cool, so I wanted to return the favor a little bit,” he said.

The concert will be held June 1 in the Adams High School auditorium. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., and the band will take the stage at 7 p.m.

The band — which Niko Puzio described as having a “classic blues, hard rock feel” — plans to play a majority of original songs, but also has a few “fun covers” up its sleeve.

“We’re a new-generation rock band with an old soul,” Niko Puzio said.

Adams High School Assistant Principal Debra Cooper, who has one of Kougaran’s CDs, described the band as “excellent.”

“They’re not screaming, crazy, pound-your-head type of musicians. It’s good music. It’s back to the old idea of what music is all about. It’s not techno or synthesizers. It’s actually the guitar and the drums. It’s great music. I was so pleased when I heard their first CD. There is some real skill and absolute talent in the musicality and the vocals. It will be really enjoyable,” she said.

Niko Puzio encourages community members of all ages to come out to the concert, not only to check out the local band but, more importantly, to support the Adams music program.

“The music program has been really good to me, and now it’s becoming really good for my brother, and we just want to pay our dues. If people really support the schools, they should come to this and have a good time. It’s hard to find people giving back to the high school in such an open way,” he said.

Jay Puzio said school officials told him this would be the first time the school has held a rock ’n’ roll concert.

Tickets for the benefit concert, which cost $8, will be on sale at the door or can be purchased in advance by calling (810) 523-2497.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.