Your Story Matters: Mental Health Benefit Concert

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Collin Cooper | @coop.97

Saturday night, I got to attend the Mental Health benefit concert put on by Hope For Help in our own Grand Ballroom. The event started with an explanation of the movement, and an introduction of the idea that your story matters. They invited the group of students in attendance to stand and enjoy the show, and it was off to the races.

The first group to take the stage was Springville Synthpop duo, Coral Bones. The group consisted of Chris Bennion, who took vocal duties, as well as some guitar and synth work, and Landon Young, who played synth and operated their samples. “I’ve tried to document my journey with mental illness through my songwriting, though it may be kind of hard to tell from behind our shimmering pop sound,” Bennion said. When asked how he related to the issue, the vocalist answered, “Personally. I have bipolar disorder, and have been going through treatment for it for three or four years, now. I love student events like this, that try to remove the stigma from mental illness.”

The next act up was singer-songwriter Aubrey Liz, and her acoustic guitar. She wrote songs of consolation and of loss, and took the time to explain how one of her songs related to a theme introduced earlier in the evening, that “people need people.” She played songs that she had written for people who she had lost, who she had empathized with in a Youtube comments section, and for people who were feeling alone. Before her set was done, she told the audience her story. “In my junior year of high school, I struggled with depression really severely, and it was to the point that I didn’t want to be here anymore… I think that this is a very important thing to talk about, and events like this would definitely have helped me when I was going through hard times.”

Lastly, the crowd welcomed hometown heroes, Foreign Figures. The band opened with ambient guitar lines, washing synths, and cymbal swells, eventually building a fortress of sound that could only be opened up by their passionate performance and great songwriting. “To me, Foreign Figures is more than music,” singer Eric Michels said,” it’s hope, and it’s encouragement. And I want it to be that to all of you as well, so every song we play tonight is dedicated to you guys. Thanks for showing up!” The band played a lengthy set, displaying a wonderful blend of musical talent, band chemistry, and stage presence that brings one to question why it has taken them upwards of a year to really break into the local music scene. After their set, they left the ballroom and stayed out front to chat with those who would stick around to do so.

I hope to see all of the evening’s acts again soon, as it’s events and people like these that keep me excited about our local music environment in Utah County. Remember everyone, Your story matters.

Photos: Collin Cooper | @coop.97