Tegan Stimac, 14, posted a call on Facebook for anyone wanting to start a group.
“I just wanted to start a band. I felt bad playing on my own, so I wanted more people,” Stimac said with a laugh.
When 15-year-old Elise Hensley and 16-year-old Jaycee McBride replied to the message, a group, which they dubbed Jade18, was born. That was a little over a year ago.
Stimac plays guitar and sings as lead vocalist, Hensley plays drums and sings as the band’s backup vocalist, and McBride plays bass.
The girls write their own songs and perform covers. Some of their favorite songs to play include what the girls called oldies like music from Nirvana and Radiohead.
The band played one of their first gigs on July 14 at Crocky’s Cafe in Hackett. Throughout their set list, the girls encouraged their audience to donate to The Hornet’s Nest, which serves Hackett teens, giving them a place to go after school, as well as a meal.
Stimac said she chose The Hornet’s Nest because its organizer’s son had autism and committed suicide, and Stimac has two younger brothers with autism.
The band raised over $600 for The Hornet’s Nest.
Although Jade18 has no upcoming shows, the girls expect to have more shows once the school year begins. All three girls are students at Greenwood High School.
“I mostly want to enjoy our time in high school because, you know, it’s such a short time,” Stimac said. “I want to, like, impact the community while we’re still able to, when we’re young and have time to do this.”
Hensley said she hopes to raise more money for nonprofits and get their songs out there.
“Being in this group means an opportunity to be myself and express myself with people I feel comfortable with, and to know that it is serving a good cause and that I can express myself as long as I still can,” Hensley said.
Stimac said the girls have received a lot of support from the Fort Smith music scene.
“Fort Smith has such a great music scene,” Stimac said. “Like the music people here are so nice and just friendly. There’s not a big music scene. I mean, it’s not like Nashville, but you know, there’s a lot of support, a lot support for young people who want to get into music.”
Alex Gladden graduated from the University of Arkansas. She previously worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and The Jonesboro Sun before joining The Times Record. She can be contacted at [email protected]