What a difference a year can make.

Noize From The Basement was crowned this year's Tri-C Rock Off champions after the Final Exam Feb. 9.

The band includes Emily Gambone, 16, of Brimfield, Holly Camp, 17, of Brimfield, and Logan McNeal, 16, from Tallmadge, on drums. Gambone and Camp are students at Field High School, and McNeal is a student at Tallmadge High School. They came out ahead of more than 60 bands representing 69 schools which competed in the semi-final rounds, which started in January. Eighteen bands were selected after the semi-finals to advance to the Final Exam.

Noize From The Basement had been selected to play in the semi-finals last year but had to withdraw after McNeal was diagnosed with cancer.

"It was a long day with many great bands and Noize was just so happy to be playing and when they were announced the winners, there were a lot of cheers, shouts and happy tears from the band and their parents," said Jeff Gambone, Emily's father.

Evolution, whose members are from Mayfield, took second place, and Triple B-Funk, whose members are from Aurora, took third place.

Noize From The Basement will receive $1,000 cash, and Field High School and Tallmadge High School will each receive $100 for the schools' music programs. It will receive the opportunity to open up for a Live Nation or House of Blues Concert and an appearance on Tri-C's cable television program Crooked River Groove and perform a 45-minute concert in front of a studio audience while being professionally videotaped and recorded. In addition, the band will be featured on the three-time Emmy Award-winning program Words & Music, with an interview and unplugged performance.

Second place will receive $250 cash and $100 for their respective high school music program and Third place will receive $150 cash.

The prizes were welcome, "but the greatest thing was coming away with many new friends from the other bands that participated," said Gambone.

"The band Evolution from Mayfield finished second and [there were] hugs and back slapping between them and Noize," he said. "We are in talks right now about doing a show together. This is one of the big things with these types of shows, the kids are creating a local music scene that they will probably last a lifetime."

Gambone said that the band's next project will be recording its latest EP at the Lavaroom Recording Studio later this month.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438