Local band, Kougaran, plays benefit concert for Rochester Adams High School music program

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

The golden age of rock ‘n’ roll will return to Rochester Adams High School in the form of a benefit concert, where local band Kougaran, with special guests The Old Adage will perform.

Niko Puzio, lead guitarist for Kougaran, and Rochester Adams High School graduate, said the group wanted to participate in the benefit to give back to his alma mater. And to show that anything is possible through hard work.

FYI: The concert is 7 p.m. Saturday, June 1 in the Rochester Adams High School Auditorium. Doors open at 6:15. Tickets, which are $8, will be on sale at the door or they can be purchased in advance by calling 810-523-2497. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Adams Parents For Instrumental Music — a volunteer booster organization whose goal is to support the Rochester Adams bands. 

“The concert is to show that you can go anywhere with music, from performing, to being a composer, working on song writing or even recording — you can do a lot with music,” Puzio said. “People make it seem like it’s easy, but there’s a lot that goes into it.”

The band was formed in 2010 by brothers Niko and Gino Puzio of Rochester, and is managed by their parents Jay and Michele Puzio.

Niko, who currently attending Columbia College in Chicago, recruited fellow Columbia College students, Brandon Clites, Eric Selke and Chris Lucas to join the band.

Niko said he had a great experience in the Adams music department and wanted to do something to help ensure that other students are afforded the same opportunities.

Kougaran also wants to bring back rock ‘n’ roll, but with a new twist. The group is influenced by rock bands including Led Zepplin, AC/DC, Motley Crue, Poison and Foo Fighters.

The group’s name was based off of the South African gold coin “Krugerrand,” because like gold, rock ‘n’ roll’s value has gone up, and good rock music is harder to find, according to Niko.

“Rock ‘n’ roll has changed from what it was in the ’60s ’70s and ’80s, so in a way, we are trying to bring it back, but we’re just trying to reshape it in a newer image by going back to the roots of it,” Gino said.

Photo courtesy/ Kougaran
Photo courtesy / Kougaran

Topping the Reverb charts in Detroit — the youngest group to do so — the band has talent and knows music, according to dad Jay. He said this benefit will be the first of its kind held at Adams and was approved by the district.

Kougaran won Adams’ “Fame” talent contest two years ago, and was well-received by both students and judges, according to Assistant Principal Deb Cooper.

She said that both young men have been very involved in the school’s music program. Describing the group as a “family value band,” Cooper said the group appeals to rock ‘n’ roll fans of any age.

“I think it will be a terrific concert,” Cooper said. “It’s great music, so if you really appreciate rock ‘n’ roll music, or music in general I think it’s going to be a terrific show to attend.”

Adams provides an education rich in the humanities, according to Cooper. She said music and the arts are important in brain stimulation to help students do better in school, in addition to making students well-rounded.

“(Music) colors the world,” Cooper said. “It’s not just the paper and pencil. It brings beauty and culture, and I think it’s important for us as a society, not just as a school, to make sure that we’re honoring and respecting and bringing awareness to and celebrating.”

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