Spotlight on Frank Prenot
By Jessica Yu, FCSN Voices Youth Reporter
Since the age of 15, Frank Prenot has been winning the crowd through drum performances. In 2016, he also started practicing and performing vocals. This year, he won top places at the 2020 annual FCSN (Friends of Children with Special Needs) Special Needs Talent showcase for his individual performance and also with his acapella group. Prenot started his career in music with his old church band before becoming more active in a scout band. Now, he plays in the Special Needs Program Band.
Prenot joined FCSN in his middle school years, sometime during sixth grade. Although he was initially opposed to joining, he eventually caved in 2016. “My mom discovered FCSN originally when I was diagnosed with autism. I originally said no, but my parents signed me up. I was a finalist my first time in 2017, and have been every single year since then,” Prenot said.
One program that he has been in since he first joined FCSN is the Annual Music Camp, where he took the position of drummer. The Annual Music Camp gives those in FCSN a chance to play in a band, and Prenot’s been in it since 2016. In both 2017 and 2018, Music Band Camp participants went on to win the Special Needs Showcase.
His 2020 rendition of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister featured Prenot on both drums and vocals. He chose his song because of its message to bullies, and Prenot stands by the message of standing up and not taking it from anyone. It didn’t take him that much practice to perfect his art, but Prenot said, “I would listen to my garage band file a lot, sing along, and air drum to rehearse.”
His acapella group, Resonance, was one of the other two winners and performed the song “All My Loving” by The Beatles. “It’s been a lot of fun working with Greg, Tony, and Michael. Somehow, we were always able to find a way to make it in the end. I’m really proud of those three guys and what we’ve done together,” said Prenot.
Winning the showcase was exciting for Prenot, and he was thrilled to have won in two areas. “I live next door to a couple who wore hearing aids, I bet you they could’ve heard me screaming. I was just ballistic when they announced my name,” he said.
Although Prenot has undoubtedly touched on how hard work can bring him unbelievably far, his learning experience is far from over. Prenot’s experience in the showcases over the past couple of years has taught him to just go for opportunities, and that running into criticism from other people shouldn’t slow you down. His experience with FCSN has also helped him become more outgoing with other people, especially those with similar special needs. “I used to try to avoid other people on the spectrum, but now it’s a lot easier for me to be friends with them,” Prenot said.
In his future plans, Prenot hopes to continue expanding his musical horizons: “I play the drums and sing, but maybe next year I’ll try entering with just singing, or with the Galactic Orchestra. I’m looking forward to whatever comes to mind with me.”
Spotlight on Resonance
By Kathy Hebert, FCSN Parent
When Resonance formed in the summer of 2018 at the FCSN Music Camp, its members knew it was something special. Singing tenor, Michael Erhardt has a variety of interests such as watching movies, building Legos, and playing VIP soccer, which he has been doing for several years. Frank Prenot, lead singer, is also the drummer at the FCSN Music Camp, and has sung the national anthem at a Stockton Ports baseball game. Singing baritone is Tony Nakamoto, who loves the harmonies created in the quartet. Greg Hebert sings bass, loves his day program at FCSN, and can tell you anything about trains you ever wanted to know!
For the 2020 Special Needs Got Talent Showcase, Resonance participated in the auditions and was thrilled to make the finals. While preparing for the finals in March, we were able to have one rehearsal in person before COVID-19 hit and then, as we all know, everyone began to shelter-in-place. That was our last rehearsal together as social distancing and wearing masks is difficult to do in a quartet. We opted to use the recording from the auditions in January as we felt it was really good!
As their coach, I am so proud of these boys and love working with them! The talent these boys have is so impressive because singing acapella is not easy to do! Michael, Frank, Tony and Greg, thanks for the joy you bring to others!