Years ago, Dispatch testified to Congress on behalf of Napster. Since then, the band—made up of Middlebury College friends Brad Corrigan, Chad Stokes, and Pete Francis—has not stopped taking a stand.
I first met them in the summer of 2007. I was fresh out of college, idealistic and wide-eyed at getting to work for a rock band. The band had just re-formed for three nights at Madison Square Garden to raise money for projects in Zimbabwe. We invited the African Children’s Choir to perform with the band and, those amazing kids changed my life—I’m currently working on a documentary on the choir called Imba!.
Now Dispatch has once-again reunited. Each of the three band members have causes close to their hearts that they work tirelessly on serving through their own bands, solo gigs and non-profits. On this tour a big part of the focus was on Amplifying Education Campaign.
They just ended their 2012 summer tour in Atlanta with a bang and sat down to fill us in on the impact they have made with their fans. “We are trying to shed light on the education crisis here in this country and encouraging volunteerism, tutoring, mentoring. Anything to get your feet wet,” Stokes said. “We’re also collecting books and we’ve done a bunch of cool service projects where we actually get our hands dirty with fans and try to pitch in at schools.”
The band held service days for their fans and the communities they performed in. Three of their favorite experiences were volunteering at a school for pregnant teens in Denver, performing with a school for the arts in Boston and building lasting relationships at a school on a Native American reservation in South Dakota.
It being election season, Corrigan and Stokes are not afraid to share what they think could be part of the solution. “We’re seeing that education is the common denominator across all the issues,” Brad explained. “I think funding for education should come from the federal and state level, but if there’s not ownership at the community level it won’t work.”
“We should allocate more attention and funds to education instead of defense,” Corrigan added. “And look at how much money is being spent on the campaign trail right now instead of on education.”
Now with the tour over, their work for education is not going to stop. “Kids and families in extreme poverty have changed the way I see the world,” said Stokes. “So we’re encouraging people to get involved in service,” Chad smiled. To learn more about things that matter to Dispatch visit Amplifying Education, Calling All Crows and Love, Light and Melody.