Support your local music ………..

UM-based rock band van*gloria has made it into the final round of a contest to open for Hanson on its upcoming fall tour. The band, made up of singer/guitarist Nick Kruge, guitarist Matt Gajewski (who has also penned numerous reviews for EDGE), bassist Paul Bender and drummer/keyboardist Luke Moellman, has the chance to open for three Florida shows in Orlando, St. Petersburg and Pompano Beach. After making it to the final round for each tour date, it’s up to the general public to vote for the winner.

Why enter a contest to open for Hanson?

“Why not?” asks Kruge.

Both Hanson and van*gloria have a similar goal: spread awareness of independent music. After starting its own record label, Hanson has titled its campaign Are You Listening? Hanson, which is slowly gaining recognition for its new sound from the young pop boy group that it once was, is now playing songs that exude rock vibes.

Van*gloria is working with Atomisk Records, a label founded by UM students. It’s striving to support the growing music scene in Miami. As Moellman puts it, “There’s a lot of talent down here, and we really wish people would support local music.”

After Bender and Moellman played as band members for Kruge’s solo material, they decided to start writing original material together. The three were listening to Gajewski’s songs one night last year and immediately called him up to say, “We want you in our rock band!” Now, all four are living together off campus.

“We all come from different backgrounds musically but have a similar goal,” says Kruge.

Adds Moellman: “We’re not always sure what that goal is, but somehow things come together anyway.”

Van*gloria describes Its sound as “music for awkward people to dance to in their bedrooms.”

“Imagine Dr. Frankenstein building a man that only writes pop songs, but with just a few loose wires,” Kruge says. “Our songs are what happens when the monster malfunctions.”

For now, the boys are hoping to spread the word about their success and the local music scene. To vote for van*gloria, log onto and click on each of the Florida shows.

Stacey Schneider can be contacted at