A dream come true

South Bay Music Connection gives young musicians the opportunity to connect with others and perform at live venues.

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Using pencils as drumsticks at the dinner table may be as far as some people’s music careers go. Playing in front of live audiences, however, is a distant dream for many. South Bay Music Connection makes those dreams a reality.

South Bay Music Connection (SMBC) is a nonprofit organization that connects students with events and venues to play their music in a professional setting, giving them the opportunity to perform in front of large audiences. Launched in 2018, the program currently serves 16 different bands and various musicians from across the South Bay, with five musicians in particular attending RUHS. Sophomore Sophia Lonergan, lead singer of the band Double Knotted, expresses her gratitude towards the program.

“Without SBMC, I don’t think I would be playing for other people, and I wouldn’t have met the amazing musicians that I know now,” Lonergan said. “I owe so much to the wonderful people at South Bay Music Connection for all that they do for us.”

Though she also knows her band through SMBC, Lonergan met her band through a separate after school music program, School of Rock, where they bonded over their favorite artists and music genres. After getting to know one another, playing together seemed natural.

“It took us about a week or two before we came up with a name, but one day after band practice we all sat down and started throwing ideas out,” Lonergan said. “We were going around the table saying random words and someone said ‘shoe’ and another said ‘double knotted’. At first we were a little unsure of the name, but we ended up coming to the agreement that it suited us pretty well, as we had a running inside joke about us all wearing the same type of shoes.”

Lonergan “loves” the community she found through her bandmates, and feels that playing music alongside them has helped her grow as a musician.

“We are all very understanding of one another,” Lonergan said. “It’s incredibly hard to play music with people when you aren’t close and when you don’t appreciate one another.”

Although Lonergan began taking music “more seriously” in the past four years, her interest in music stayed prominent throughout her childhood. It wasn’t until the age of 11 when she started to consider music as a real career pathway.

“When I’m singing, I feel like every [other] thought just goes away. I don’t really have to think about anything. It makes me feel as though music is the only thing that matters at that moment,” Lonergan said.

Senior Thatcher Horrocks, another South Bay Music Connection musician, describes music to be “at the center of [his life],” recalling memories of his mother playing piano and singing with him as a child. His deepest appreciation for music began when he learned to play guitar in 2019.

“When I’m playing guitar and singing alone, it makes me feel very focused and grounded, but when I’m [doing a gig] at a birthday party or playing a venue, I get a very energetic and excited feeling,” Horrocks said.

Horrocks hopes to continue performing at live events in the future, and attributes SMBC as facilitating his love for being on stage.

“South Bay Music Connection has offered [me] great opportunities to play at awesome places. I’ve been able to play at a few different breweries and at Fiesta Hermosa. The biggest thing it has provided me with is an outlet to meet other passionate musicians,” Horrocks said.

Similarly, Lonergan wants to continue music after high school. She hopes to release music on streaming platforms, whether individually or with Double Knotted, and wants to book more performances at live events — her “favorite part of being a musician.”

“To those people [who say that starting a band isn’t worth it], I would say that they haven’t tried it, or haven’t tried hard enough. I will agree that starting a band in high school is extremely difficult. My band and I are still working through a lot of bumps in the road, but I don’t regret any second of it. All we want is to be able to have fun and play music, and I don’t see why that wouldn’t be worth the struggle,” Lonergan said.