CLEVELAND—FunkBox was among the 12 finalists selected to perform in the Tri-C High School Rock Off Final Exam, which is Feb. 17.

The band, which includes Nordonia High School students Evan Schonauer, 16, guitar, vocals; John Polace, 17, keyboards,vocals; Gina Eterovich, 16, drums; and Twinsburg High School student Anthony Liotta, 17, bass guitar, performed its semi-final concert Jan. 27. They were one of 51 bands in the semi-final rounds. This is the first year FunkBox has performed at the Rock Off.

"John wanted to make an album so he invited Anthony to come play with him," Schonauer said. "Realizing they needed a guitar player they invited me to join them. They went several months without a drummer, making their music with and playing alongside a drum machine until they recruited Gina, completing the lineup."

Schonauer described FunkBox’s sound as jazz-influenced indie electronica, with inspirations coming from "everything from The Beatles to Thelonious Monk to Prince, ‘the artist formerly known as;." More modern influencers include Thundercat, Gorillaz, Streetlight Manifesto, Matt Frazier, Homeshake and Mild High Club, he added.

"We all have our unique sounds and our distinctive personalities come through in our playing styles," Schonauer said. "We believe in and strive for authenticity in ourselves and our music."

Tickets and performance information

The Final Exam will be played at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 1100 East 9th St., Cleveland. Tickets are $10, and include admission into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame exhibits during each performance night. A limited number of tickets will be available.

All of the prize money is compliments of the local School of Rock franchise. The winning band will receive $1,000 cash and $250 for their high school music program. Second place will receive $250 cash and $100 for their high school music program and third place will receive $100 cash.

The first-place winner will be invited to perform at the final installment of the 2018 Vans Warped Tour at Blossom Music Center and at the Rock Hall’s annual Summer in the City program on the PNC Stage. One finalist also will be selected to perform at the 2018 Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland.

The 2018 Rock Hall Inductions will take place in Cleveland and the winning bands will be invited to perform at special functions produced by The Rock Hall during Induction week.

Dates are subject to change. Visit for details and the most current schedule.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423,, or ??@AprilKHelms_RPC??