By Kiki Whartenby
Local high school band Summer Avenue’s impressive success shows the significance of young voices in today’s culture.
Summer Avenue is a local rock band composed of drummer/vocalist William Trotter, guitarist Chris Dunn, bassist Will Kelley, and Mike Kelley who plays the keys. All are sophomores at Christian Brothers High School, except for Dunn who is a junior. The band formed eight years ago, but it wasn’t until their fifth year together that they moved on from performing covers and began to write their own songs. A big turning point for the band was winning their school’s Battle of the Bands in the seventh grade, winning ten hours of recording time at Ardent Records. With this recording time, they were able to independently release two singles, “Under the Carpet” and “Some Things”, to iTunes and Spotify. This past summer, soon after these releases, they performed at Loflin Yard. Trotter talks about how “it was just really cool to see people who we didn’t even know singing along; it was kind of a crazy experience.” But within the next few months, the band officially signed to Blue Barrel Records where they are currently recording a full album to soon be released. The band finds inspiration from many pop rock bands including Weezer, Jet, and Foo Fighters.
I was finally able to see Summer Avenue perform live Friday, October 28 at Christian Brothers High School. I went in anticipating an incredible show, but their performance somehow managed to exceed the high expectations I had set for them. I knew from listening to their recordings that each of their songs has a unique sound to it, making it simple to distinguish one from the next. But, their large stage presence and upbeat attitudes drew me in and enabled me to hear their music in a new way.
Madeline O’toole (11) agrees, saying “My friends and I always love seeing Summer Ave live and their performance at Christian Brothers was no exception. I think what I like most about seeing them perform versus listening to their songs on iTunes is that they always have so much fun on stage. At this performance, they mixed a couple of their better known songs with some lesser known ones which made this performance really stand out. I was also super pumped to hear one of their new songs! They were also all dressed up for Halloween and it was funny to see Mike Kelly's try to perform while his ghost costume was falling off.”
Through all of their performances, they are actively promoting and displaying the participation of youth in the local arts. Will Kelley says “I think that it is important to start young so that you learn the basics of whatever art it is that you do, so you can you really grow with it.” Fan of the band, Annie Leatherman (10), believes that “the arts are the best way to give our generation a voice. It allows us to express our feelings and expose parts of culture we have made our own.” Watching them perform emphasizes the idea that the youth of today are responsible for the future of artistic expression, challenging teenagers, as Trotter says, “to see the arts as not just a hobby, but something we could really do.”
To get updates on details regarding upcoming events, simply follow their social media,
Instagram (@summeravenueband) and Twitter (@summer_ave).