18 months after the passing of a beloved Dells musician, a memorial fund established in his honor has borne a new band into the Dells music scene.
John Curschmann, who passed away in 2018, frequently came and played at Mojo Music’s periodical jam sessions. According to Mojo Music’s owner, Bob Hufford, Curschmann wanted to dedicate a memorial fund encouraging Dells-area kids to get involved in music.
“After his death, he wanted his memorial funds to go to promoting music amongst the youth in the community,” Hufford said. “So the family put up $1,500… for us to host Saturday afternoon jam sessions, free of charge, for any students from the school district of Wisconsin Dells.”
The program, set up by Curschmann’s wife, Pam, attracted the attention of four Dells high school students who were interested in forming a band. According to Hufford, the band’s drummer and guitarist were the first to come together at the Saturday jam session, and the quartet formed from there.
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The foursome chose to call themselves Teen Spirit, after the famed Nirvana song that kick-started the ‘90s grunge movement. Their first performance, at the Mojo Music Recital on Nov. 7, featured them performing “Come as You Are” by Nirvana and “Sweater Weather” by indie rock group The Neighborhood. According to Hufford, the band received. their award from the memorial fund at this performance.
“It’s the JAAM award,” Hufford said. “It stands for John’s auditory arts memorial. That’s sponsored by the Curschmann family, they intend to keep it going.”
Hufford’s ambitions for Teen Spirit don’t stop at the Monk’s in Lake Delton where the show was put on. He wants to help guide the band into building a public presence.
“I’m hoping they write a song or two, I’m hoping we record a song or two, maybe even do a music video,” Hufford said.
According to Hufford, the memorial fund was originally intended for kids who wouldn’t necessarily have access to a studio space. However, the members of Teen Spirit were the only group to show interest at the time, so Hufford and Curschmann modified the award to benefit up-and-coming musical talent in the Dells.