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Musicians to play Saturday benefit concert for ELHS

Clinton Cunanan of Pumpkin Center performs on guitar with his band, Another Lost Year.

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

 

“When it’s all said and done, it’s about the students,” Clinton Cunanan, lead singer for Another Lost Year, said. He and three other musicians formed the alternative rock band in February and are set to play a benefit concert for Cunanan’s alma mater, East Lincoln High School, Saturday night in Denver.
An Iron Station native, Cunanan recently moved to Pumpkin Center with his family.
The concert is part of the band’s Plan B Tour. Manager Matt Tyson is currently working on getting additional campuses in the region to jump on board with the tour, including schools in Iredell, Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties.
“Our goal…is to raise money for as many schools as possible,” Cunanan said.
The event, which is open to both East Lincoln middle and high school students, is a unique type of fundraiser that the four-member group hopes school officials everywhere will adopt in the near future.
“Maybe if we can start thinking outside the box…fundraisers can begin to meet financial goals and help educate future students about what’s important,” Tyson said, “instead of teaching them how to sell cookies to neighbors.”
He knows all too well how difficult it’s been for schools to raise the funds they need.
“My mother is a school teacher in the Cabarrus County School system,” he said, “and she is constantly telling me about how the schools never have enough money and how the parents are growing tired of handing out money to the schools.”
Cunanan more than agreed with his manager about the number of items schools need to purchase each year.
“With the rising number of students, budget costs, employee cuts and minimum funding for things such as technology, food and school renovations, schools need more funding now than ever before,” he said.
The band said ideas for the concert stemmed from their desire to do something with a “philanthropic purpose.”
“We wanted to achieve a new goal, bettering the youth in our audience,” Cunanan said.
In addition, the group put much thought into the tour’s title.
“Education comes first,” Cunanan said, “education is always Plan A.”
Cunanan even attended UNC-Charlotte following high school in order to further his education.
“This gave me the career needed to survive while I initiated my music career, my plan B,” he said.
He noted that often times plan A needs “a little help to reach its goals” and that’s when plan B “steps up to the plate.”
Through the Plan B Tour, Another Lost Year hopes to increase their fan base.
“This demographic is most likely to download our music and hang our posters on their walls,” Cunanan said of area high school students.
In addition, the band recognized that today’s high school students are tomorrow’s police officers, politicians, nurses and teachers, among many other influential positions in the community.
Cunanan praised East Lincoln Principal Tim Woody for allowing the band to play at the campus and also noted that funds for the concert will be put directly back into the school. A 2000 Mustangs graduate, Cunanan noted how he was flooded with memories when he recently returned to the campus for the first time since graduation.
“I could not help but be overwhelmed with nostalgia while walking through the halls,” he said. He was also excited to see several of his former teachers but was not surprised that they still remembered him.
“I wasn’t the quietest in school,” he said.
Starting early next year, the band plans to embark on another national tour, stopping at locations east of the Mason-Dixon line in addition to finishing up their first full-length album, which they recorded in Tennessee with help from 12 Stones’ vocalist Justin Rimer.
The band said they have plans to be the opening act for a well-known group that “everyone recognizes” but have yet to release tour and festival dates at this time.
In addition, earlier this month, Another Lost Year was honored in a special ceremony at Halton Theater in Charlotte for being the Charlotte Music Award’s “Best New Rock Band” of the year. They received official word of their special honor several months ago.
They also chose to shoot their upcoming music video for their album’s title track song, “The War on the Inside,” in downtown Lincolnton at night.
“It is a true storyboard video meaning the video consists of the band performing while acting,” Tyson said.
Another Lost Year will also be releasing their official website, www.anotherlostyear.com, simultaneous to their music video in early 2012.
While they’ve met with several record companies this year, they’ve chosen to continue doing things on their own without signing a deal.
“There are too many horror stories out there for the smaller bands,” Adam Hall, backup vocalist and guitarist, said. “It’s going to have to be a golden deal for us to agree.”
The band has several famous connections in the music industry, individuals that are currently mentoring them, Hall noted.
“Our contact list is crazy,” he said. “I sit back everyday and think how ridiculous it is that I have every day conversations with ‘rockstars’ that I grew up listening to.”
Saturday’s benefit concert is set to begin at 7 p.m. at the East Lincoln High School gymnasium. Doors open at 6 p.m. Concessions and band merchandise will be available for purchase. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door and $20 for VIP seating, which includes special floor seats and a backstage pass for after the show.
Checkout the band’s Facebook page at “Another Lost Year” or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/AnotherLostYear.

Image courtesy of Contributed

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