Rockonsin Runners-up: Through the Kitchen Hole finds unexpected success

Taylor Reisdorf

Band Tagglers. A group of six Memorial High School graduates form Through the Kitchen Hole last March. As runners-up in the Rockonsin music competition, they were able to perform on stage at Summerfest in Milwaukee.
Band Tagglers. A group of six Memorial High School graduates form Through the Kitchen Hole last March. As runners-up in the Rockonsin music competition, they were able to perform on stage at Summerfest in Milwaukee.

What started as a group of young friends merging their musical talents to perform for a few school-sponsored events has evolved into live performances at Summerfest and recording studio time at Madison’s Blast House Studios.A group of six 2018 Memorial High School graduates, fueled by their love for rock ’n’ roll, decided to come together and form Through the Kitchen Hole last March. The band – which plays covers of rock music ranging from classic to metal – is made up of Abby Berthiaume (lead vocalist), Zachary Menter (guitarist and vocalist), Toby Moszer (guitarist), Adam Gray (drummer), Katherine Seeger (bassist and vocalist), and Anne Kaldjian (keyboardist). Berthiaume said the bandmates were classmates before any of this began, and true connections were formed in a shared music class. Until recently, the main focuses for the band were the school talent show and a school-sponsored rock concert.

“We had never played on a stage that big. It built up our confidence, experience, and passion  (for) performing.” – Abby Berthiaume, lead vocalist, Through The Kitchen Hole

Their most recent musical endeavor, Rockonsin – an annual garage band competition that took place June 29 and 30 at the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee – was an unparalleled experience for the band.

Berthiaume said Moszer heard about Rockonsin on the radio, and eventually brought it up to the rest of the band. Through the Kitchen Hole submitted a recording and were soon told they would be performing alongside 11 other bands with members in seventh through 12th grade on the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage. Of those 12 bands, two would score another Summerfest performance – this time on The U.S. Cellular Connection Stage – a slot at Madison’s Blast House Studios, and other prizes. Through the Kitchen Window was one of those two winning bands.

Berthiaume said those two performances were nerve-racking but undeniably exciting, and the band walked away from the experience with so much more than just the prizes. “We had never played on a stage that big,” she said. “It built up our confidence, experience, and passion (for) performing.” She said the band is thankful for Rockonsin, and enjoyed the opportunity to perform alongside other talented musicians in their age group.

While this monumental musical success was recent, Berthiaume said music and performance have played a pivotal role throughout the entirety of the band members’ lives. The members find inspiration from family members and artists such as John Mayer, Kirk Hammett, Boston, and Mark Knopfler.

“Also a lot of our inspiration comes from each other, and seeing how hard each of us work,” Berthiaume said. The band often rehearses in Gray’s basement and, while they’re all heading off to college soon, Berthiaume said Through the Kitchen Hole intends to continue performing together. In fact, they have a gig at The Plus on Aug. 17, and Berthiaume said they plan to schedule more. As for the upcoming studio time, Berthiaume said they’re excited to get recording but aren’t sure what songs they’ll choose. While they don’t plan to sell these upcoming recordings, the band is thinking about writing some original music sometime in the near future.

Through the Kitchen Hole at The Plus • Friday, Aug. 17, 8pm • The Plus, 208 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire • $5 • thepluseauclaire.com

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