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School assembly morphs into surprise rock concert with a message

February 17th, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

Story & Photos by Jessica Sonderegger

PROVIDENCE—Spring Creek Middle School students crowded the gymnasium to attend what was scheduled to be just another school assembly. There was a dull chatter among peers and any effort to quiet the hum was ineffective.

As the students organized themselves into tidy rows, each took a seat as they had done hundreds of times before. For all they knew, this was nothing more than yet another attempt to discourage drug use, encourage school attendance and promote a bully-free campus.

Members of the Spring Hill student orchestra and band join Going Second on stage. JESSICA SONDEREGGER photo

Members of the Spring Creek student orchestra and band join Going Second in mass performance on stage. JESSICA SONDEREGGER photo

But those expectations were quickly abandoned as their “lecturers” invited them to rush the stage and properly enjoy the upcoming, full-production rock concert.

By 10:05 Tuesday morning, that middle school gym was less about dodge ball and more about neon lights, thumping bass and squealing teens.

“Make sure you thank your principal,” said Going Second’s lead vocalist Ferril Trevor, as the crowd cheered and the band concluded their first song.

Going Second is a Salt Lake City-based pop-punk band on tour with the Music Makes Music foundation, a nonprofit organization advocating drug-free lifestyles and education. The band travels from school to school sharing an important message in an important way.

“Do I have some musicians in this place?” guitarist Mike Crowder asked the audience.

The students screamed their answer as they collectively celebrated the school band, orchestra and choir programs. Trevor and Crowder told the kids their had it good at Spring Creek, because many schools are going without any music programs.

The band members took every opportunity between songs to educate and motivate their audience. Their main objectives were music education, higher education and avoiding drugs and alcohol.

Going Second, deemed as both the Music Makes Music guinea pig and “the ambassador band,” were performing their 215th Tuesday morning concert and are currently on an 80-school, “Music is Sick” tour.

The band Going Second is No. 1 with students at Spring Creek. JESSICA SONDEREGGER photo

The band Going Second is No. 1 with students at Spring Creek. JESSICA SONDEREGGER photo

The band visits each school with a full agenda: a morning assembly, lunch with the kids and class time with teachers. They reinforce their message in all three settings, and involve the students by asking what music means to them. The whole purpose of this program is to “educate, motivate and inspire tomorrow’s musicians.” And the foundation claims they are on to something good.

The Music Makes Music website says: “The unique MMM School Events deliver positive messages in a format that teens admire, relate to, and become involved with. Through the MMM Social Networking program, teens have a safe and positive place to spend their Facebook/MySpace time while reinforcing the core messages we deliver. Our Community Concerts give teens and parents the opportunity to experience wholesome and entertaining live music shows.”

Having traveled from Las Vegas to Logan, and before heading on to Idaho Falls, the Going Second band members agreed that it does not matter how big or small or urban or rural a school is—the kids generally react the same. “No exaggeration either,” said film producer David Adams, who is documenting the tour, “they lose their minds.”

And, as the Spring Creek students “lost their minds,” the music went on.

One song lead to another and soon audience members were recognizing covers of Lady Gaga and Carly Rae Jepsen material. Without much direction, the sea of students took over lead vocals and finished out Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

It seemed as though circumstances couldn’t get much better, when the band invited Spring Creek’s own student orchestra and choir to the stage. Students were not only cheering on rock stars, but their friends and schoolmates were now sharing a stage with their most recently adopted icons.

“We try to involve as many students as possible,” Crowder said.

Together, they performed a Going Second original and celebrated their passion for music. At the conclusion of the improvised collaboration, Trevor shared his message.

“A lot of people don’t make it out of that lifestyle,” he said, referring to his own experience with drug addiction. “I am very lucky to have made it out of that lifestyle.”

As the crowd applauded his recovery, he continued, “All of this would be absolutely impossible if drugs were still in my life. A lot of people will tell you drugs are bad. I’m here to tell you drugs are awful.”

The Music Makes Music Foundation seeks donations to continue what they’ve started. The foundation supports multiple bands throughout the West to spread the word and to move it forward.

“Help teens to become involved with music,” the foundation website says, “continue their education, and live a drug-free life.”


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