Big names join locals for fundraiser concert

first_imgCANYON COUNTRY – The sound from the Golden Valley High School amphitheater stage prompted several adults, including the head of backstage security, to cover their ears in self-defense. But the smiles on more than 200 teenagers in white T-shirts emblazoned with “SECURITY” on the front and the Summer Meltdown concert artwork on the back showed a different perspective. “It’s fun to help out and listen to the music,” said Nik Wunrow, a student in the Yes I Can program for teens with Asperger’s syndrome, which organized the Saturday’s multiband concert. “The first year, we just had bands from other schools, but now we’re going for professionals.” The third annual fundraising concert by Sick of Detention Productions – the name picked by Yes I Can students at Valencia High School, where the program was launched – attracted an impressive list of bands destined for the Warped Tour, including I Hate Kate, Kriya, Japan’s IQ20 and punk trendsetters Fishbone. Miles Meredith, a freshman at Golden Valley, said he wrote the rap he performed with Asperger’s classmate Matt Adams. “I practice rap at school and at home,” he said. “Sometimes I steal other songs. But I made sure to use eff-ing instead of the real word.” Lieberman said that Friday’s regular class session was organized chaos, with students sorting shirts, putting stickers on wristbands or stringing all-access passes. “It was like a sweat shop,” he joked. “They were putting labels on water bottles and taking care of last-minute sponsors, which made it a little hectic, but when I see them smile, it’s all them. That’s why I do this.” Jason Curtis has been a student of Lieberman’s for the last three years. Before the first concert, he posed for the Sick of Detention logo, head down on his desk. “I love the program and get to be in class with all my friends. It teaches everybody tolerance. And whatever we do, Mr. Lieberman’s right there, behind our backs, making sure we got everything we need. “I would tell everybody who’s reading this, if they go to Golden Valley, Canyon, West Ranch or Rancho Pico, to join Yes I Can. You’ll learn how to put on a huge concert like this and you’ll learn a lot about kids with special needs.” Curtis, who goes by “J.T.,” said he remembers the first day he came into class as “a bad one.” “I was angry and was throwing chairs around,” he recalled. “I had a lot of those days before I got into the program, but I haven’t had one for a long time.” Canyon student Michael “Banks” Bender has been a mentor with Yes I Can for the last six years. “I helped start the pilot program at La Mesa Junior High, where we met with the Asperger’s kids once a week at lunch,” he explained. “It helped me keep an open mind.” [email protected] (661) 257-5252160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsThe concert kicked off Saturday afternoon with the national anthem and a set by He Loves the Cinema. It was due to wrap up about 81/2 hours later with Fishbone. Rap and dance numbers were built in as bumpers to cover band changes. More than 500 tickets were sold before the gates opened and as many as 1,500 people were expected to swell the school’s amphitheater before the concert was through. “There’s 200 kids here working together to put on this concert,” said Bret Lieberman, who coordinates Yes I Can, a socialization and education program for Asperger’s syndrome students. “They’re from Canyon, West Ranch, Golden Valley, Saugus. Unity through music and education, that’s what it’s all about.” Asperger’s syndrome is a neurobiological disorder that causes autistic-like behavior, impairing communication skills and social interaction. Many of Saturday’s performers were local high school students. Golden Valley Yes I Can students Miles and Matt performed an original rap number to introduce Urban ?uest, a rap group composed of five Canyon High School students. last_img