BOUNTIFUL — St. Olaf Parish in Bountiful celebrated Mardi Gras in carnival style last week and featured the band, Just Three Words.
The Mardi Gras celebration included a potluck and a community of fun, face painting, mask making for kids of all ages, hair up-dos, game booths, karaoke, and live music by the newly formed band of 13-year olds.
St. Olaf Mardi Gras co-chairwomen Liz Nafus and Krista Smith said Mardi Gras is a festive time before the fasting that takes place during Lent that begins Feb. 25.
“A lot of Mardi Gras parties are for adults 21 and older, so when I heard this band wanted a venue to play for, I said this would be a perfect match,” said Nafus. “The mothers of some of the band members were having a hard time finding venues for the band. Our Mardi Gras is for families. Three of the members of Just Three Words are members of St. Olaf Parish, have attended St. Olaf School and attend St. Olaf Sunday School, so the whole arrangement worked out well.”
The band was featured on KUTV2 Morning News with Casey Scott recently. They were also featured on KJZZ14. The band and co-chairwomen were featured eight times.
“For 13-year olds, they are amazing,” said Scott. “We won’t put anyone on our air that we don’t think are great. So that speaks volumes.”
Rebecca Odoardi said the band was started when her son, Thomas had to do a service project at Millcreek Junior High for his English class. He said he wanted to start a band to raise money for the TAO project for orphans in Afghanistan. “I said ‘no.’ They did it anyway and raised $280, which was double the amount anyone else raised.
“They started a year ago on Feb. 3, and had very little musical training,” said Odorardi.
“We met on St. Olaf’s basketball team when we were 11 years old,” said Thomas Odoardi. “We were hanging out at Gateway one day and said let’s start a band because Matt Duncan could play guitar and I could sing. There was a newspaper in the back of the car, so we were looking through it trying to find a name and found one that was already taken. So we kept thinking.
“We wanted to start the band for a while, and then I had to do a fund raiser, so we decided to get it together,” said Odoardi. “We practiced a couple of times and played “Smoke on the Water.” We weren’t that good. Then we added Max Perez and Brant Dolling and performed for a talent show, and we were a lot better. Perez had never played drums, but he was a natural.
“We needed an amplifier for my mother’s retirement party, so I went to Discount Music and met Rick Meadows. He wanted us to audition to be our producer,” said Odoardi. “We did that, and he became out producer and introduced us to Elliott Wood and that made us that much better.”
“I have been playing for 35 years now and started when I was young like these guys are,” said Meadows. “I played in my high school jazz band, had my own rock band, and went to the University of Utah and got my music degree there.
“I went to a musicians institute in Los Angeles and had the privilege to learn and play with some of the finest musicians in the world. I have taught all over Utah.
“I moved to Bountiful a couple of years ago and realized students were paying a lot of money for chief executive officers and accountants, and my friend, Brett Hart and I decided to put together our own academy,” said Meadows.
“We started Davis Music Academy about a year ago and I put together the curriculum. It has taken off. Our overhead is low so we can keep our price affordable. We have gone from zero to 250 students in a very short time.
“The guys in this band needed some sound and I told them I also produce bands and I would like to hear them,” said Meadows. “Odoardi’s mother had been teaching them down in her basement, and she said they needed some direction.
“I auditioned them, and they signed up for lessons and some band instruction. In a short time they are really sound good.
“They are learning songs really quick and performing. They are even on television. That is pretty good for just six months.”