Teenage talent

Sunday, January 11, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:06 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A white plastic jug sits on a chair directly in front of the band Aeropostale as it plays in the corner of the Youth Center in Sturgeon. Written in black marker, the jug reads, “Donations for the Band.”

The center’s main room is nondescript with white walls, cement floors and six windows that let the fading evening light in. But the look of the room doesn’t matter so much to the group. This is a gig, and that’s all that counts.

The music starts slowly and a handful of people listen as 16-year-old Jarrod Turner, of Sturgeon, and 14-year-old Allyx Boggs, of New Franklin, joke about the turnout for their band’s first performance at the Youth Center.

“I guess if you want people to show up when you start, you tell them to come 30 minutes earlier,” Turner says.

With the exception of Jarrod’s mom, Debbie, who is manning a video camera and snapping pictures, the musicians’ parents sit together at the back of the room. They suggest songs and clap after each selection.

The band’s four members all wear the same white hooded sweatshirts that have the word Aero stitched on the front. Boggs’ mom Pat bought the matching shirts at Columbia Mall, where she was also inspired to help name the band. Aeropostale is a brand of clothing, and, after a visit to the mall, Pat Boggs suggested it to her daughter.

“We just needed something,” Allyx says, “So we took it.” The other band members are quick to insist they didn’t have a say in the decision, however.

Aeropostale plays a variety of tunes, covering artists from five different decades. Seventeen-year-old bass player Matthew Quinley, of Fayette, lays the tracks for the group’s sound, and, according to Turner, doesn’t like to be in the spotlight. Sixteen-year-old drummer Kent Wilmsmeyer, of New Franklin, fuels the rhythm.

But the band’s soul comes from the voice of Boggs and her harmony with Turner. Her lyrics are smooth, and when coupled with Turner’s, are seasoned and rich.

It only makes sense though. Talent is in Boggs’ genes. Her older sister, country music star Sara Evans, recently had her music video for the song Restless move up to the number 3 position on Country Music Television’s Top Twenty Countdown.

Boggs and her fellow members started playing together last July, holding their debut performance at a Relay For Life event in Fayette. Since then, they have played at everything from the Cooper City Steam Engine Show to the Howard County Commissioner’s Christmas party.

The group is also excited about an invitation to play at an auctioneer’s convention in the Lake of the Ozarks area this April. Turner says, “They’re paying for our hotel room and all of our meals while we’re down there.”

And to a group of high school students from central Missouri, that’s big time.

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