Batesville High School senior Evan Prunty believes it’s “real important” to get more area residents interested in music by bringing live shows here.
Recently he has collaborated with Gibson Theatre owner Kim Powell on three shows in January, June and July. The first and last concerts featured four bands while the middle one boasted a whopping seven and lasted from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. “That was an interesting situation,” trying to switch out the musical and sound gear for each group without giant pauses in between. “Even a venue with more experience than us would have had trouble,” he maintains.
The sounds have been diverse, but mostly alternative. Through the band Hawthorne Heights, getting ready for a national tour, he met musicians in Follow Me Forward, “really nice guys ... they’ve connected me with different people.” While the majority of groups have been from Indianapolis, others drove to Batesville from Fort Wayne, Cleveland, Wisconsin and even Nebraska. Follow Me Forward and The Day After have played twice, the others just once. “All the bands really enjoyed it,” the teen reports.
He got the word out on Facebook, posters and the theater marquee.
About 100 stood in front of the Gibson stage at each show, according to Powell.
“The Gibson made no money off of the shows ... I didn’t do it for that,” the owner says, but rather to provide youth with a safe place to socialize. “If they’re in the Gibson having a good time, they’re not doing something they shouldn’t be on the outside.”
He reflects, “These are good kids. I really enjoyed working with them. We have had no trouble whatsoever. They did all their own advertising. They cleaned up afterwards. I could tell when Evan and his band came in, they were in it for the music and to have a good time and put on a show for the kids. There were adults there, too.”
One of the concerts showcased all Christian music. PowelI observes, “It amazed me that he got kids that would come to a show like that. One band from quite a ways away – they were awesome,” hanging out and talking with Powell and an employee. “You just don’t see that these days. You get a good hope for the future when you run into kids like that.”
Powell and Prunty are e-mailing back and forth about future shows.
Meanwhile, the senior is busy with school and his latest alternative band, Home For Vacation. The guitarist enjoys creating music with three BHS juniors, pianist Peter Heil, bassist Christian Hopkins and drummer Stanley Fryman. “We do a lot of acoustic stuff, too.” At a recent Walhill Farm date, they played a mix of originals and covers, including “The A Team” by Ed Sheeran.
He’s especially proud of Home For Vacation’s original tune “Count.” According to Prunty, “I wrote the words, Peter wrote the music.” The soft piano and guitar piece “is about a person in a relationship who pays attention to the smaller details: ‘You count the days, I’ll count the heartbeats, you count the miles, I’ll move the inches, you forget the hours, I remember the seconds.’ It’s kind of a sad song. At the end, it says everyone deserves a second chance. We like to write songs you can relate to.”
The Cleveland native, who has lived in Batesville since first grade, says, “We got offered to play at Thompson House in Newport (Ky.),” but the group usually performs around here. “I just want to be prepared.”
The only child of Bill and Cindy Prunty began playing music with the encouragement of former band director Adam Kruse, first a saxophone in fourth and fifth grades. He switched to guitar when Kruse offered “really nice” after school guitar classes. “I play drums, but not well.”
After participating in the Batesville Middle School choir in sixth and seventh grades, he is still working on his singing voice. “You just have to have confidence in yourself.” The student practices music “every chance I get. It’s a good stress reliever.”
Prunty, who turns 18 Aug. 30, is already signed up to vote. He looks forward to seeing Hawthorne Heights (please see related article) perform at Bogart’s, Cincinnati, Oct. 8 as part of the Scream it Like you Mean it Tour. When asked about pastimes, the teen reports, “I like doing a lot of things with video” and taking nature photos.
A year from now he will be in college, perhaps at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in business and electronic media (video and sound production).
Music will remain an ambition. “It’s a lot of fun whether it’s a more serious band setting, or myself and a few friends playing. It’s a good thing to have in your life.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.