Teen NationTour Kicks Off in Milford

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Screen-Shot-2012-02-28-at-7.30.22-AMBy Terry Rogers

The Teen Nation Tour, a concert series with an anti-bullying message, kicks off in Milford on April 19, with a concert at Lulu M. Ross Elementary School in the morning, a concert at Benjamin Banneker Elementary school in the afternoon, and a one-of-a-kind, red carpet event at Milford Skating Center that evening.

The red carpet event begins at the skating center at 6 pm, and doors open at 6:30 pm. The concert, which features young recording artists, is from 7 to 9 pm, and the rink will hold an open skating session afterwards from 9 to 11:30 pm. Tickets for the event are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, and includes the open skating session after the concert. Skate rentals are an additional $2. In addition, those who purchase the first 30 tickets are able to walk the red carpet and receive VIP access to the stars.

“Milford is the first stop on a 32 concert tour for Teen Nation,” said Lee Wilson of Wilson Star Entertainment, who created the tour in an effort to promote anti-bullying directly to those that need to hear the message. “We wanted to deliver a message using a method that was not only informative, but also be entertaining. This is a Disney-type concert that lasts about two-and-a-half hours, and ticket holders will have the opportunity to meet and greet the artists, get autographs and actually talk to them one-on-one. The tour has seven great artists, not just one.”

The tour consists of Drew Logan, who began singing at age four in Mississippi, and just recorded his first cover song, as well as Karoline Rhett, who was pulled on stage at an Amy Grant concert at a young age, where her voice wowed not only the famous singer, but the audience as well. Karoline recorded her first CD at the age of 10. Beamer Wigley, whose name comes from his initials –BMW – began playing drums at the age of three, learned guitar at five, and is the youngest person to win first place in the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver. Maria Diebolt, who is the oldest member of the tour at 14, sang the National Anthem at a Chicago White Sox game, and has several original songs available on iTunes. With a strong anti-bullying message, Matthew Pinkham, who is the youngest member of the tour, discusses how music helped him when he was confined to a wheelchair with a bone disease at the age of four. Matthew used music to occupy his time when he could not go outside to play with other children. His bones healed themselves, and he is no longer wheelchair bound. Matthew has appeared on stage with his idols, Dirks Bentley and Keith Urban.

Headlining the concert are Riley Roth and Tristan Blaine, both part of Radio Disney’s Country Pop Rock Tour. Riley recorded her first CD at the age of 11, and Tristan is a regular at Six Flags Over Texas as well.

“This is the second concert we have done like this at Milford Skating Rink,” said Carmen Gray Kemper, owner of the rink. “I especially like that it is an anti-bullying event, as I want to make it clear that bullying has no place here at the skating rink, outside the rink or anywhere else in Milford. It lets the children see that talent doesn’t only come in adult form, too.” The red carpet event is a new addition to the concerts, and Carmen hopes that it will add an air of elegance to the concert, with the glitz and glamor a red carpet event provides.

“The fact that the first 30 tickets get the kids onto the red carpet with the stars and that they get time to sit and talk to these stars is a wonderful opportunity,” Carmen said. “Some of these stars have suffered from bullying and they can offer excellent advice to other children who may be suffering the same thing.” Lee Wilson agrees with that assessment.

“For example, Matthew’s disease stunted his growth significantly,” he explained. “He is twelve, and he looks like he is only six years old. He talks about how other kids bullied him because he looked so different and how a guitar literally got him out of a wheelchair.” The Teen Nation Tour has been endorsed by many anti-bullying organizations, including Sara Smile and Project Believe in Me. Tickets are available at Milford Skating Center.