Those who do not show up to the State Theatre on Saturday are bound to miss something really special, says singer-songwriter Joe Scorsone, better known by his stage name, Flintface.
Scorsone, a national recording artist and a former resident of Bethlehem and Whitehall Township, and his band will headline the inaugural #TAKEBACKYOURVOICE anti-bullying fundraiser concert at the historic Easton landmark. Eight opening acts, each made up of Lehigh Valley high school students, will open the show: Beautiful Oblivion, Blind Choice, Counting Clockwise, Alyssa Garcia, Julia Gross, Abby Illingworth, Jameek Jones and Rhys Williams.
Members of the Phillipsburg High School Chorus and North Hunterdon High School Choir will join Flintface at the end of the night to help the group sing their song "Ready for It." A pre-show performance by the Easton School of Rock's Bank Street Band will take place in the Easton Hospital Gallery.
"I was excited before but now I'm elated. It's amazing," Scorsone said Wednesday evening during a phone interview. "They (the audience) are going to be blown away by how good these high school students are."
Scorsone is a longtime advocate of anti-bullying and suicide prevention. He said the end goal of the concert is to encourage students to open up and be able to communicate with each other, school administration and their families. "One of the things I'm excited about is to see a message we all share, a message of creativity in a healthy way, and getting to see that message in motion, seeing people play out what we're talking about," he said. "This is not a show about rock stars, and that includes Flintface. Everyone's on an even plane."
He later added, "I'm really hoping the consciousness of bullying is raised to the point where kids are speaking up, kids are telling authority figures that their friends need help. We got to eliminate the victim."
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the State Theatre's annual Freddy Awards program, which recognizes excellence in high school theater. (Scorsone was a presenter at the 2015 Freddy Awards.) Scorsone is hopeful that #TAKEBACKYOURVOICE will one day become the Freddys for student bands and musicians. "That's our dream, our vision," Scorsone said. "It's an honor to be a part of it."
During an August news conference at the theater, State Theatre President and CEO Shelley Brown remarked, "This is what we live for here, to be able share this stage with the kids, because they're the people who are going to be running the place, the Lehigh Valley, in the years to come."
Scorsone praised the State Theatre staff and the caliber of student talent that will be presented on stage. "(The students) play and sing like they've been playing for years. They're writing intelligently, they write songs with depth," he touted. "People are going to be shocked if they don't know how talented these kids are in the area. They're going to hear some incredible music.
Flintface headlines the inaugural #TAKEBACKYOURVOICE concert 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at the State Theatre in Easton. Tickets cost $21, $11 for students. A pre-show featuring the Easton School of Rock is 5:30 p.m. in the Easton Hospital Gallery.