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Friends & Neighbors: Slater teens showcase original music

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

From left to right: John Parker, Hayden Hutchison, Ashton Fry and Dylan Voeck of Slater rehearse several of their original songs. Their band, The Lazarus Effect, recently won first place in Slater Fall Festival's talent show and third place at Brunswick's Pecan Festival.
(Sarah Reed/Democrat-News)
They gathered in the living room, three of them placing guitars on their knees while one organized his percussion instruments. Some members of The Lazarus Effect have been playing together since they were in junior high, but now that the four are seniors, their music has been refined to match the challenges and celebrations of growing older.

Made up of John Parker, Hayden Hutchison, Ashton Fry and Dylan Voeck, the band pursues Christian concepts with as much energy and flavor as an acoustic garage band.

"We actually started out doing metal," Parker said. "Not a lot of people are fond of Christian music, especially today. We're kind of experimenting with both -- Christian and (secular)."

The band laughed at the thought of transitioning from strong power chords to a softer tone, but the change from a heavy sound to one more melodic wasn't difficult. Their sound remains full with a mixture of rhythm and harmony.

"More people like it and enjoy it," Fry said.

Although Hutchison says criticism is sometimes a challenge, The Lazarus Effect has met much support in recent weeks. It placed first in Slater Fall Festival's talent contest this past month, and recently placed third in a similar contest at the Pecan Festival in Brunswick. As with any musician, playing original work is their primary goal.

"We've been playing a lot of our own stuff," Parker continued. "We've been writing like crazy."

The band boasts a handful of original songs written just before the fourth member joined roughly a month ago. In the living room, Voeck and Fry begin picking at strings while the others came in with varying strums to fill in the sound of "Strawberry Hill."

"I wait for you on Strawberry Hill," Parker sings, among a medley of strong acoustic chords.

Their work carries several tempo changes and pitch changes, and evokes an organic sound that is both personal and poignant.

"It's great," Larry Hutchison, Hayden's father, said of the music. Larry has been a significant supporter of the band, providing them space to play on a daily basis. He gave his son a drum set at the age of 10, and Hutchison has played percussion since then.

"The feel of making my own music is just a great feeling -- putting it out there," Hutchison said.

For these musicians, practice is almost as religious as saying grace. They jam. They write. They have fun. They bring an element of creativity to Slater High School -- garnering a growing fan base along the way.

Contact Sarah Reed at

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