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Local bands unite for a cause at Relay for Life kick-off show

The Roman Counterpart, one of four local bands performing at the Relay for Life kick-off show on April 7, 2016, play an acoustic song in front of a large crowd in the North Pod of the Memorial Union. Photo by Josh Fabel, Contributor.
The Roman Counterpart, one of four local bands performing at the Relay for Life kick-off show on April 7, 2016, play an acoustic song in front of a large crowd in the North Pod of the Memorial Union. Photo by Josh Fabel, Contributor.

Four local bands united to perform and help fundraise for Relay For Life, in the North Pod of the Memorial Union on Thursday, April 7. Relay For Life is a nonprofit sponsored by the American Cancer Society that raises money to fund cancer research.

The concert began with an idea from New England School of Communications student, Lucas Kinney.

“It’s been a crazy long process,” Kinney said. “Way back towards the end of August, I was playing in a band, and we were originally asked to play this show [Relay For Life Kick-Off Show]. So we played for a while that band I was in [sic], and things went pretty sour between us. So I had to tell them, ‘Unfortunately, I don’t think we are going to be able to play.’ But I’m like, ‘I really love this idea,’ and at this time that’s when I really started to tap into freelance live sound work. So I took advantage of the opportunity, and I met with two of the people through Relay For Life and kind of threw some ideas around with them about putting on this event to raise money for Relay For Life and cancer research.”

Being from Bangor, Kinney had to find the resources that would allow him to make the show a success. After meeting with a couple of staff members from the University of Maine’s student-run radio station, WMEB 91.9FM, Kinney decided that a collaboration between the two would be a great way to organize the show.

“We actually met Lucas [Kinney] a couple months ago at a Central Gallery show in Bangor,” WMEB 91.9FM Program Director, Laila Fatimi, said. “He asked Collin Wilkinson and I if we wanted to pair up and do a show, and if we’d know any connections at UMaine because he’s from Husson. So we said that we’re the connection and it took off from there.”

By having the opportunity to work with Relay For Life, it allowed both Kinney and WMEB 91.9FM to combine their interest in music as well fundraise for a cause.

“Relay For Life for me means a great resource to raise money for cancer research,” Kinney said. “I don’t think there is any other event or organization that raises as much money or puts as much awareness out as Relay for Life. I mean everyone knows what Relay For Life is. To be able to work with them is really great … it’s awesome.”

“I’m excited that we got the opportunity to partner with Relay For Life,” Fatimi said. “We definitely owe them a big thank you. I hope it gave them publicity for their event as well as raised as much money as possible for cancer research.”

The show featured four different local bands that originate out of Orono and Bangor: The Cards, The Roman Counterpart, Broken Empire and Turner. Each band performed for roughly half an hour. Although each band played for a short amount of time, they still made sure to make the best use of their time and engage with the intimate crowd.

“So many good bands emerging out of the Bangor music scene,” Kinney said. “Like the guys playing here, you’ve got the Cards, and you’ve got Turner, Broken Empire, the Roman Counterpart … But then there are other awesome groups too. A ton of people in Bangor just killing it in music. I kind of feel like right now there is all this music coming out, but no one to do the sound for it so that’s where I’m trying to step in. So far it’s going well. This is the first official, big show that I’m doing.”

A majority of the people who attended and helped facilitate the event had a deep connection to its purpose. Every band made sure to remind audience members to donate to Relay For Life. Audience members respectively made their way to the Relay For Life donation buckets and donated whatever cash they could.

“The show went pretty well for us,” lead vocalist of The Cards, Collin Wilkinson, said via email. “I wish it would have gone a little longer to be honest, but understandably it couldn’t. My band mate Harry and I definitely enjoyed it! As a performer at a Relay for Life event, as well as one of the people who helped organize the show, it was very rewarding. We were proud of how well everything went too. Everyone is affected by cancer in some way in their lifetime, for me it was watching my mother go through treatment for breast cancer, and beat it. But cancer sucks, there’s no two ways about it, and music really doesn’t suck, so it was a good way to bring everyone together and enjoy ourselves, while simultaneously contributing to the end of cancer’s life.”

“One of my friends in high school, his father was really sick and ended up dying when we were teenagers to cancer, which was terrible,” Fatimi said. “I kind of learned Relay For Life through that and I participated in it in high school. So it was very cool to be part of it here as well.”

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