A typical teenage summer wouldn't include a stamp in a passport, sound checks and performances for thousands of international fans at a free concert. But the five members of the all-boy band Beyond 5 aren't exactly ordinary.
The members of Beyond 5 — TJ Ryan, of Salt Lake City; Zac Love, of San Antonio; Ammon Tuimaualuga, of Corona, Calif.; Tanner Myler of Eagle, Idaho; and Patch Crowe, of Gold Coast, Australia — spent their summer in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
For the five pop singers, it all began a little more than nine months ago.
The band was created by songwriter-producer Tyler Castleton and co-writer and business partner Russ Dixon.
Castleton put together the LDS-rooted boy band Jericho Road and worked with them for about 10 years. Dixon was part of a band called Colors.
"We joined forces," Dixon said. "He knew I had a lot of pop-music experience. He had the boy-band experience."
Dixon and Castleton decided early on they wanted to create a younger band. Beyond 5 ranges in age from 15 to 18.
Dixon said that he, Castleton and Seattle-based composer Scott Krippayne are responsible for most of the music.
Next came the vocal talent.
Where to find five boys with similar vocal abilities and high standards?
For Beyond 5, it was a singing competition. After nearly 500 hopefuls auditioned all across the country, the group was selected. They have one goal: to share their talents and the power of positive pop music.
And for the past month, they've been touring Asia. Their days usually began around 4:30 a.m. with enough time to pack up and hit the road for the next concert. After a morning devotional, the group — 13 including the crew — headed to the airport in matching Beyond 5 shirts.
When they arrived in their next city, there was usually a group of screaming fans and flashing cameras ready to greet them, according to Dixon.
In each city, the group checked into a new hotel and then headed to a two-hour sound check.
Behind the scenes and before the curtain, members from local LDS wards would help get the performers ready for each concert. Four of the five singers are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and one is Lutheran.
"Sisters from every location came with irons and ironing boards, getting them in ship shape for the show," Dixon said.
No later than 7 p.m., the 90-minute show started.
"(It was) like a Tae Bo workout in 100-degree weather with 90 percent humidity," Dixon said.
After the show, the band typically spent two to four hours greeting the fans — occasionally amassing more than 1,000 people. Back at the hotel, the group gathered each night to share the highlights of their day, Dixon said.
"It ended up being a pretty spiritual experience," he said. "It was fun and intense at the same time."
And Beyond 5 did all its performances for free. Not bad for a tour that can boast of 27 shows, eight countries, 22 flights and 25,000 people throughout Asia.
In fact, the five singers raised the money to be able to come on tour this summer.
"The invitation to tour in Asia came right in the initial development of the band. During a tour like this wouldn't normally come in the development timeline," Dixon said. "But we thought we would be crazy to pass up the opportunity."
And they are seeing success.
"We are gaining fans in countries we had never been able to reach. We are getting our music to a worldwide audience," Dixon said. "And after the tour, we'll have a band that will be ready to perform their little hearts out. People will wonder where these guys came from. They are polishing a show over here to take home."
But it's not just in the music scene that the band has seen a great response. The membership of the LDS Church in the Asian countries they have visited has been incredible, Dixon said.
"They have never had something quite like this, especially for the youth of the church," Dixon said. "This is unprecedented."
Dixon said that for one concert in Malaysia, the band was able to meet with 20 missionaries and individuals they were teaching.
For the band, it's been a lesson in future preparation — including missionary preparation. All four LDS members plan on serving a mission in the future.
And now, after a month-long tour of Asia, Beyond 5 has returned home.
“Couldn't have asked to spend a month long tour with greater people!! Love all of you guys!! I can't believe it's over! #B5Crew #Beyond5 #B5AsiaTour," Love tweeted through his Instagram account after returning to the United States.
Meanwhile, the band is enjoying a new single recently released on iTunes, and is preparing for a future CD release.
Beyond 5 is accepting donations and funding for the tour and future events through Legacy Music Alliance, located at 252 E. 300 South in Salt Lake City.
Emmilie Buchanan-Whitlock is an intern for the Deseret News with Mormon Times. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Contact her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: emmiliewhitlock
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