BY KATHY GIBBONS
TRAVERSE CITY — Two out of six isn't bad.
That's how many Grammys fun. took home from its half-dozen nominations at the Grammy Awards Sunday night. Members, who include 2001 Frankfort High School graduate Andrew Dost, won Song of the Year for "We Are Young." They also took the top prize for Best New Artist.
Several hundred people joined Dost's family at Frankfort's Garden Theater to watch the ceremonies live from Los Angeles Sunday. The gathering doubled as a fundraiser for the Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools' music program.
Mark Dost, Andrew's dad, said it was "a magical night."
"We were texting back and forth (with Andrew) during the whole night, which I didn't think would happen because he was busy," Dost said. "He was just so excited, of course."
Andrew also was very wet. Fun. appeared early in the telecast to sing their hit, "Carry On." About halfway through, rain started pouring — directly on the band.
"I guess there were some negotiations with the Grammy crew," Mark Dost said. "He told us about how they had it cleared, and then it came the day to try it and they said, 'No, this is too risky.' But I guess they tried it and it worked, so they went with that plan."
Dost had written a letter to be read at the Garden Theater, where, he noted, "I have seen many films, including 'Turner & Hooch' and 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.'"
He thanked the community for being so supportive and singled out the school band program.
"I learned important lessons there, like the value of hard work, the importance of playing together as a team and the amount of sheer joy that occurs when melodies, harmonies and rhythms lock together," Dost wrote, citing several teachers including "Mr. Gainforth giving up his evenings so we could start a jazz band."
Jay Gainforth, director of K-12 music at Frankfort from 1995 to 2005, said both he and his wife know Andrew well.
"I had him all through his band career," said Gainforth, now high school band director in Holland's West Ottawa Public Schools. "He took piano and guitar from my wife, and he was involved in our drama program, so he was always doing that sort of stuff — writing music and obviously, he played quite well."
The Gainforths have stayed in touch with Andrew. He used to send them his music while attending Central Michigan University. And they attend his concerts — when Andrew was part of another touring band called Anathallo and more recently, since he's been with fun.
"There's an overwhelming, I guess, pride in a student that's gone off and done some great things," Gainforth said. "And it was great even before they were quote-unquote famous. They're using their music successfully.
"That's just what all music teachers want, for kids to keep playing."