Local teen rockers are a band to watch
A leisurely stroll past Dorothea Dix Park on a hot July afternoon may just turn into a full day of music, food trucks and outdoor field day fun. On the fourth Saturday of each summer month, locals and visitors alike can follow the sounds of live music into the magical festival grounds for the first annual, free concert series, “Y’all at Dix Park.”
Games of tug-of-war, hula-hoop relay races and music from up-and-coming bands are sure to attract younger crowds. Four teenagers attending, however, will not be found eating, dancing or playing games. With performances at Raleigh’s First Night, the Cat’s Cradle’s Battle of the Bands, Artsplosure and more already under their belts, rock band “UrMom” is set to play to packed crowds on Saturday, July 22, at Deep South’s “Y’all Dix Park” series showcasing the next generation of new talent.
According to Dave Rose, President and Founder of Deep South Entertainment, the selection process for “Y’all at Dix Park” was challenging, but “UrMom” stuck out from a previous performance at the concert series Oak City 7.
“We really enjoyed having them perform at Oak City 7, and we look forward to giving them an even bigger platform to reach an audience with the Y’all series,” Rose said. “We’re excited to have them back.”
Sisters Elizabeth and Callie Klein, Heritage High School junior and sophomore respectively, make up half of the young band, with Elizabeth on vocals, guitar and piano, and Callie on drums. Ely Yancy, a Cardinal Gibbons High School junior and guitarist, and Simone Provencher, a Ravenscroft High School junior, vocalist and bassist, round out the tight-knit group ready to rock the Dorothea Dix stage.
The Klein daughters were exposed to music and performance at a young age in part due to early music lessons at Progressive Music Center, as well as their father’s position as business manager at the Durham Performing Arts Center.
A shared love of alternative and classic rock drew the sisters to the center’s Rock Academy Program, leading to the formation of their first all-girl group. This would eventually lay the mold for what has now become “UrMom.” Yancy was the first boy to join the group last November, and while at first a temporary fill-in, he soon became an integral band member.
“We got a video of Ely shredding on the guitar and we were like, ‘Okay, yeah, we need him,’” Callie says.
The band’s cohesion is guided by the spirit of rock n’ roll. In Monday night group lessons, rhythms and chords are solidified. At a jam at one of the teen’s houses, potential songs are thrown around and harmonies experimented.
In the school hallways, “UrMom” is recognized as a versatile punchline rather than the band already boasting successful gigs.
“It’s sort of a separate part of my life, and once I leave school and go to practice or a gig, it’s something completely different,” Elizabeth says. “I like having the separation of band and school.”
More frequently, their music appeals to an older crowd than their peers. “A lot of younger kids don’t really know that kind of music that we play,” she adds.
Of their dedicated groupies, the most faithful, found in the front row, are the same folks attempting to fall asleep to the banging of drums and paying lesson bills. “There’s a lot of parent involvement in the band,” says Callie. “We’re so grateful to them. Without them we wouldn’t have a band at all.”
In the coming year, “UrMom” aims to spread its soundtrack to crowds beyond the Triangle by going digital. Listeners who like what they hear at “Y’all in Dix Park” should look forward to an album accessible online and on CDs. The record is expected to have five songs, including at least one original.
And what happens when high school band members are handed diplomas?
“Long term, we’re not quite sure what we’re all going to do when we get to college, but music’s still going to be a part of our lives,” says Callie. “I can’t imagine not doing anything with music.”