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Local band Hydroplanes makes it in ‘Limelight’

“Surprised. Very surprised” are the words that Perry Brown and Van Gammon said best describe the feeling they and other members of Hydroplanes had when their band was announced the winner of the Troy University Limelight competition at the Davis Theater in Montgomery April 21.

And, perhaps, they had reason to be surprised. It was only by the “vote of the people” that they were entered in the finals of the competition.

To get to the finals of the competition, the band had to first qualify by placing in the top five at the Troy University Troy campus competition on April 12.

But that was not to be.

Placing in the top five would have been great. But the members of Hydroplanes weren’t disappointed. They had played their music and the audience had been very responsive. That was an encouraging reward for the young musicians.

But Hydroplanes had evidently struck a chord deep within the audience. On the way out of the Claudia Crosby Theater, the audience paused long enough to vote Hydroplanes the “Peoples’ Choice” winner and send them to the finals of the Troy University Limelight competition in Montgomery on April 21.

“We didn’t think about winning. We were just proud to have a chance to play,” Gammon said.

Brown said Hydroplanes knows their music is different and their mission is to have fun making music and, where it ends up, “it ends up.”

“If we have fun and people like what we do, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. That’s the attitude the local band took to the finals at the Davis Theater.

Hydroplanes’ music is described by those who make it as a mix of rock, rap and R&B.

Just how the mix occurred Brown said is “weird.”

While students at Troy University, Brown and Gammon had a mutual admiration for each other’s “stuff.”

Browns folk-rock “stuff” appealed to Gammon and his rap/hip-hop “stuff” caught the ear of Brown.

Both liked to put words to music and music to words.

Brown was the instrumentalist. He picked up the guitar when he was 12 years old and has learned to play the bass, percussion and a “very small amount” of keyboard. Gammon, on the other hand, was more fascinated by the words. Even as a youngster, he developed a love of poetry. He loved to read it and write it.

Together, Brown and Gammon were a good mix.

But Hydroplanes is not all about them. It takes more than a guitar and a rapper to create music that rises up and above the rest.

“There’s no way that Van and I could succeed without the others,” Brown said. “Any success belongs to all of us.”
“All of us” includes Hydroplanes’ members, Jacob Pendegrass, drums; T.J Winters, percussion; Jasmine Porter, vocals; and Ryan Richburg, guitar.

Each and every member of the band was at least a little surprised to hear “Hydroplanes —The winner of the 2010 Troy University Limelight competition.”

“Almost every genre of music competed — country, Top 40, heavy metal, rock, acoustic. And, the judges were from Nashville so winning was a big thing for us,” Gammon said. “We will get to record a single on the Troy University label. That’s big, too.”

Just where the Limelight will take Hydroplanes, no one knows just yet. But Brown said it would be fun to make music a career.

He and Gammon are both 2009 graduates of Troy University and right now, the band is just having fun playing their unique style of music. Brown and Gammon are having a lot of fun writing lyrics and creating music.

“Theres nothing pretentious about us,” Brown said. “We don’t play for any age group or race. We play for people and where it ends up, it ends up.”