Five Questions: Something Underground on ‘Sing it to Me Santa’ benefit concert

Photo: Something Underground's Seth Larson
Something Underground's Seth Larson

Denver-based rock band Something Underground will continue its history of charitable work on Dec. 19 at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood with “Sing it to Me Santa – Colorado Rocks for Teachers.”

The concert benefits Teach for America, an organization that works in partnership with urban and rural communities to expand educational opportunity for children in poverty.

Something Underground will be joined on stage by outlaw country singer/songwriter Ryan Chrys, 1970s and 1980s cover band Tracksuit Wedding and special guest Neyla Pekarek of The Lumineers. And the concert is hosted by a slew of high-profile Coloradans including Gov. John Hickenlooper, Colorado Sen. Mike Johnston and businessman Zack Neumeyer.

CPR News sat down with Something Underground’s Seth Larson to hear more about the concert and the organization it’s benefiting this time.

The band has supported Denver-based nonprofit Concerts for Kids since its inception, sought donations for victims of the Aurora theater shootings and toured through Southeast Asia in an effort to raise awareness and funds for elephants injured in land mine accidents.

CPR: Why is Something Underground interested in supporting educators?

Seth Larson: Something Underground is interested in supporting educators largely because all our members have received the benefits of public education. We all have teachers in our immediate and extended families, including our drummer Trevor’s wife and parents. We believe that supporting teachers and education is crucial to the continued evolution of the human race.

CPR: What is it about the Teach for America program that inspires you?

Seth Larson: The part of the program that stuck out for me was the Native Achievement Initiative which expands educational opportunities to Native American and Native Hawaiian students. It’s a relatively new program but is projected to place 1,500 teachers in Native American schools by next year. As someone who moved around a lot growing up, I feel that meeting and working with people from different parts of the world greatly influenced and benefited me. Even if students won’t experience living in other places, connecting them with people from other cultures and places will have a huge impact on their lives and broaden their understanding of the world.

CPR: What makes rock music such a powerful medium for galvanizing support for social causes?

Seth Larson: Music in general is one of the most powerful mediums for galvanizing support for just about any and every social cause. In particular, rock music has a certain energy and history that lends itself to change. Rock music is inherently about breaking the rules and has become a symbol for radical change. There's also no denying that the heartbeat of rock music is a great way to energize people through large celebrations.

CPR: Why was getting the support of Gov. John Hickenlooper and other dignitaries so important?

Seth Larson: Hickenlooper is a huge music fan, so his presence is a perfect fit for a fundraiser like this. I’ve personally seen him introduce bands from Red Rocks to back yards in Denver. His endorsement not only shows support for Teach for America, but for the local music scene as well. The wider the spectrum of support is, the more people get reached. Music and education is a beautiful way to bring people together for a common purpose.

CPR: What are some of the highlights of the program?

Seth Larson: The only thing better than playing music is playing music with friends. As a band, we are thrilled that we will be playing with a lot of our friends at this show. We will be joined by musicians from The Moderators and Tracksuit Wedding, as well as some very special guests. And Rock & Roll Santa a.k.a. Ryan Chrys will be sharing the stage with all of us. Something Underground thrives on co-creation and this event is all about cocreation, not only via the music at the concert, but also the cause.