The Aurora-based band known as Task at Hand may not be the headlining act at this weekend's Light the Night event, but when the band takes the stage at 4:30 on Saturday, the crowd is sure to be well entertained by this group of up and coming musicians.
Band members Zachary Fruzza (drums), Michael Brock (guitar) and Jordan Bussard (bass/vocals) -- all class of 2017 graduates of Aurora High School -- have been working tirelessly over recent weeks, not only to prepare for the Light the Night performance, but to begin releasing their own music.
"It's like our full-time job now, honestly," said Bussard. "We're putting the majority of our time and effort into this project. I'm putting more hours into this than in my own personal job."
Those hours are beginning to pay off, too, as the band last week released its first single, "Machete," on the Bandcamp platform and will perform not only at Light the Night, but at the Fourth of July events in Monett, as well.
The band has come a long way in the last year, and the members themselves have come a long way since their humble beginnings. Fruzza recalls listening to rock music since he was a young boy, growing up idolizing Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
"That's what I want to do," Fruzza remembers thinking while he listened, before buying his first drum kit at the age of 12 -- a $100 used kit on which he played along to his favorite songs.
Brock also started young in his music career, having grown up listening to classic rock with his parents.
"Sometimes after my dad would get home, he'd play the guitar, and I just thought that was the coolest thing," he said. "So I just decided to pick it up and start playing, too."
While Fruzza and Brock have been musicians most of their lives, Bussard admits he had no experience until he was approached by Fruzza, who asked him to join himself and 2016 Aurora graduate Nathaniel Brinley.
"Zach said, 'Hey, you wanna come play the bass? It's really easy.' Then I joined the band that day," Bussard said. "It is really easy."
With Bussard on bass, Fruzza on drums and Brinley on guitar, the band known as Silent Independence was formed, later adding Brock as a second guitarist. When Brinley left for college last summer, the other band members decided they still wanted to play together, but they would have a different sound and a new name.
The new sound came easier than the new name, according to the band members. With the new band formed, Bussard said, people began asking about the name, so he began pitching name after name to his fellow members.
"I would spam our group chat with random names, and then one day after probably the 300th name. . . I said Task at Hand, and they were just like, 'Wait a second,'" he said.
After checking to make sure the name was not already taken -- "You'll look [to see if it's taken] and there's some tiny band from Alaska with about 30 likes on their Facebook page with that name," said Bussard -- and designing a logo, the name stuck. And since then, the band has been gaining popularity in the area.
Task at Hand currently has more than 300 followers on Facebook and has already performed in front of large crowds at baseball and basketball games and held a benefit concert for Aurora's Spanish V class, which the members agreed was their favorite performance so far.
"Our friends were yelling at us, and we were yelling back. It was just a lot of fun," said Fruzza. "We were just on stage, goofing off and playing rock."
While the atmosphere won't be quite as intimate at Light the Night, the band members are excited to play the popular event in their home town.
"It'll be more like an actual gig," said Fruzza, "rather than just playing at a bar or in the back yard."
And while gigs continue to be added to the schedule, the band has been hard at work producing its first album, which will be released by the end of the month. Once the album is released, the plan is to submit it to record companies in the hopes of getting signed -- the first big step to the band's dream of making it big.
"I want this to be what I do for the rest of my life," said Fruzza. "I don't want to punch a clock for the rest of my life; that's just not me."
Though they know it may be a long shot to see those dreams fulfilled, the Task at Hand members know they're already walking the same path as the great bands and artists who have come before them, as Fruzza noted: "They didn't just make it big [right away]. They all started where we started."
Be sure to catch Task at Hand on stage this Saturday and check them out on Facebook, YouTube and Bandcamp for more of their home-grown sound.