Mount Abe teen hosts benefit rock concert

BRISTOL — When Mount Abraham Union High School senior Harper Davis struck up a conversation with the members of the band The Kin after a concert last September, the New Haven youth had no idea what was to follow: a promise to play at his high school, the mind-boggling work of planning a professional concert, and the excitement of a major musical event a few months down the line.
At the time, Davis was simply interested in chatting with the members of The Kin, a pop rock group that opened for Rusted Root at a concert in South Burlington in September. As that show wound down, Davis, 17, struck up a conversation with the musicians in the four-person band led by Australian brothers Thorry and Isaac Koren.
The guys got to chatting about Davis’s high school, and his plans after graduation. Then, one member of the band sprung an unlikely question on Davis.
“How would you like for us to play a concert at your high school?” he asked.
One thing led to another, and now Davis is organizing a Feb. 13 concert at Mount Abe that will feature The Kin alongside two local bands. The proceeds from the concert will go to the Have-a-Heart Food Shelf in Bristol.
For Davis, the experience has been an eye-opening one: There’s definitely a lot more that goes into putting on a professional concert than one might think, he said.
“Before this whole thing, my concert experience was buying a ticket and walking in on time,” Davis said. “I’ve definitely learned that there’s so much that goes into it.”
First, there was the issue of getting permission for the event. Davis headed to administrators at Mount Abe, and the reaction, he said, was incredibly positive.
“But I was kind of blind to the obstacles,” Davis admitted.
Those obstacles kept mounting, too. First he needed to find a space for the show, and then he needed to track down some of the equipment that the band would be using.
Plus, Davis needed to find someone to do a sound check for the band, and run the sound equipment during the show.
“And I had to do this with a budget of zero dollars,” Davis said.
But things started to fall together. Davis even managed to find two bands to open for The Kin — Delirious Four, a group of students from Mount Mansfield Union High School, and Gang of Thieves, made up of graduates and current students from Mount Abe and Vergennes Union High School.
The Kin will be performing at Mount Abe between two other tour stops — one at the Mercury Lounge in New York City and the other at a theater in Fairfield, Conn.
Davis is confident the band will make a favorable impression on the Addison County audience. They don’t get much radio airplay, he admitted, but the music is up-tempo and the band’s lyrics are clever.
“It’s pretty upbeat but it’s not head-bangingly loud,” Davis said.
He was immediately won over when he saw the group play in September, he said, particularly by their use of unusual instruments — including the didgeridoo, a wind instrument developed by indigenous Australians.
The concert will take place at Mount Abe on Feb. 13. Doors to the show open at 6 p.m., and the concert kicks off at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $8 in advance and $10 at the door, and those interested in purchasing a ticket in advance can e-mail Davis at poopotomus@gmavt.net.
Concertgoers can also make donations to the Bristol food shelf — in the form of cash or nonperishable food items — at the concert.
Davis said he hopes that the event will draw in more than just high school students.
“What I’m hoping is that it’s a community event. Just because it’s held at the high school doesn’t mean it excludes people who are no longer in high school,” Davis said. “I would love it if people of all ages, from all over Addison County and beyond, came to the show.”

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