fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Alternative rock band The Veer Union performs at Ashland High School

Ashland High School students were treated to a free concert on the quad during lunch Wednesday, performed by the up-and-coming alternative rock band The Veer Union.

The band is touring middle and high schools around the country with the nonprofit Youth Can Be Anything Foundation aimed to inspire young musicians and support school music programs in danger of disappearing.

The foundation, which formed officially in June, helps promote bands on major record labels to their teenage audience in hopes that the band will make it big and donate some of its proceeds back to the foundation, said Deavon Burnes, the band's tour manager.

The Veer Union, from Vancouver, British Columbia, has performed in more than 100 schools, recently signed with Universal/Motown Records and will release its major label debut CD, "Against the Grain" on April 21. The band's single "Seasons" releases to radio on Feb. 24.

High school leaders agreed to let the band perform because of its hopeful, optimistic message. The student leadership class proposed the idea as a way to build community in the absence of school assemblies while the gymnasium is under construction.

"As long as they meet my standards of appropriateness, I want to work with the leadership class," said AHS Principal Jeff Schlecht. "The quad is a great venue for this. It's the place where kids chill."

Willie Michiels, a sophomore in the leadership class who also plays the clarinet in the band, said the opportunity to have a band play at lunch "just sounded really cool."

"It's really nice to make it so kids want to come to school," she said. "That's the goal of leadership."

After band members finished their sound checks at the beginning of lunch and started to play, students rushed to the stage and whipped out digital cameras and cell phones to snap photos.

Senior Ryland Karlovich gave the band a thumbs-up as he munched on a granola bar after the performance. The concert was one of the best activities on the quad since his freshman year, he said, and there were "absolutely" more students on campus for lunch than usual.

"Most of the time the quad is practically empty," he said.

In the afternoon, band members met with music students to share some of their experiences and encourage aspiring musicians. The band's own theme of hope developed as they made sacrifices to pursue their dream, something required to pursue any type of art for a living, said Crispin Earl, 25, the band's lead vocalist.

"The only thing that got us through the tough times was knowing there was something better around the corner," he said.

They tour schools and want to see music programs receive continued funding because school was instrumental to their success, he said.

"We all started out in junior high," Earl said. "If it wasn't for our school music program, we wouldn't be doing music."

But their favorite part of visiting schools is the students' reactions, said Eric Schraeder, also 25, on guitar and vocals for the band.

"Kids get pretty stoked when we come and rock out at their schools," he said.

Staff writer Julie French can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or jfrench@dailytidings.com.