'The X Factor': Sequim-bred Emblem3 moves forward in national TV contest
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Emblem3 members, from left, Drew Chadwick, Keaton Stromberg and Wesley Stromberg, arrive at an “X-Factor” party earlier this month. -- Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision via The Associated Press
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Sequim Vineyard Community Church Youth Pastor Sean Clift, Drew Chadwick and Zach Clift, from left, stand backstage after Emblem3’s performance on Fox TV’s “The X Factor” in Los Angeles. Chadwick performed with fellow Sequim natives Wesley and Keaton Stromberg as Emblem3.
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Laraine Larson
Sequim natives Wesley Stromberg, 18, Ben Sanford and Keaton Stromberg, 16, from left, attend dinner after Emblem3’s performance on Fox TV’s “The X Factor.” The Stromberg brothers comprise the band along with fellow Sequim native and longtime friend Drew Chadwick.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

LOS ANGELES — Sequim-bred band Emblem3 had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, when the latest round of viewer votes in the televised band competition show “The X Factor” kept them in the contest.

Audience votes on Emblem3's live performance of One Republic's “Secrets” last week put the trio at fourth place in “X Factor” standings, according to TVGuide.com.

The band, along with the other seven finalists, will perform next at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Fox affiliate KCPQ-TV, channel 13, with the next day's show revealing the subsequent round of viewer votes.

The eight finalists also will appear this Monday on the entertainment news show “Extra!,” which will air at 7 p.m. on KONG-TV.

Those comprising Emblem3 — brothers Wesley and Keaton Stromberg, 18 and 16 respectively, and longtime friend Drew Chadwick, 19, all Sequim natives — were perhaps most thankful last week, however, for surprise visits from their mentors before last Wednesday's performance show.

This visit included an “X-Factor”-funded flight to California for Sequim residents Sean Clift, Chadwick's mentor, and Tribal Edge owner Ben Sanford, whom the brothers Stromberg described as one of the most influential people in their lives.

Sanford said he was honored to be Wesley's and Keaton's guest in LA and said he was impressed by their Wednesday performance.

“It's just cool to see them in their element,” Sanford said.

Sanford said he was family friends with the Strombergs and their mother, Laraine Larson, before the brothers attended a class at Sanford's Sequim-based Tribal Edge Primal Training Center.

Wesley and Keaton, who were 14 and 12 respectively, when they came to Tribal Edge, participated in Sanford's weeklong Young Men's Initiation program, which uses lessons in primitive survival, caretaking and combat skills to help in the transition from boys to men, Sanford explained.

“[It's] finding out through this program who they are and what their direction is in life,” Sanford said.

During his visit to California, Sanford said Wesley and Keaton told him they still use the lessons they learned at Tribal Edge in their everyday lives and keep their hometown of Sequim in their minds, even though they're “LA cool dudes,” as Sanford jokingly described them.

“[They said] they're lucky to have this place,” Sanford said, referring to the band's hometown.

“It's not like they're not looking back.”

Sanford said he was glad to reminisce with Wesley and Keaton about their experiences with Tribal Edge and was pleased to know his work was still having an impact on the brothers' lives.

“There's not a day goes by that they don't think of it,” Sanford said.

“They're just amazing kids. I'm really proud of them.”

Clift, a youth pastor at Sequim Vineyard Community Church, said Saturday he was grateful to fly to Los Angeles, where the show is taped, with his son, Zach, who is Chadwick's best friend from Sequim High School.

“That was epic. It was awesome,” Clift said of surprising Chadwick at “The X Factor” studios last week.

“I just told [Chadwick] I was radically humbled and that I was really blessed.”

Clift met Chadwick through his friendship with Zach and helped Chadwick through a challenging time in his life, he said.

“I could really tell Drew was a hurt soul,” Clift said.

Clift said he and his wife, Angela, became parental figures to Chadwick, with Clift eventually taking Chadwick along on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in 2010 soon after a massive earthquake struck neighboring Haiti.

During the trip, sponsored by international nonprofit Children International, the mission team's work included caring for Haitian refugees pouring over the border with the Dominican Republic.

Clift said it helped shape Chadwick into the man he is today.

“While we were there, Drew was exposed to all that, and it really had an effect on him,” Clift said.

While visiting Chadwick in Los Angeles, Clift said he talked with Chadwick as if they had never been apart and gave him advice on how to stay grounded while living and working in the entertainment industry.

“I was really able to give him a lot of pep talks and keep his head on straight,” Clift said.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 24. 2012 6:23PM
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