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Area musician gives back to her influences with Hopefest

By Michael Summers


Fort Wayne Reader


Good ideas can sometimes start in the weirdest places.

For Megan King, an area musician who performs original blues and folk-inflected material, the idea for Hopefest began with a random encounter with her elementary school music teacher, Karilyn Metcalf, in a supermarket. They got to talking, and King says her teacher seemed depressed.

“She said that she was really concerned about budget cuts in school,” King says. “They weren’t emphasizing the music program, and participation in the band and choir was going down drastically. That really bothered me because it was such a huge influence in my life when I was in school.”

Metcalf taught King at North Webster in the Waawaasee school district, and King says she probably wouldn’t have gotten in to music at all if it wasn’t for Metcalf. “When I was in 4th or 5th grade, my family couldn’t afford to buy me an instrument,” she says. “Mrs. Metcalf ended up giving me her clarinet. If she hadn’t done that, I don’t know that, I ever would have gotten involved in music. It’s basically changed my entire life.”

King had already been trying to put together a multi-band showcase with a few area artists, and hearing about Metcalf’s plight inspired her to organize Hopefest to raise awareness and money for the Waawaasee school music programs.

If the mission behind Hopefest is a serious one, the concert itself promises to be a blast. It takes place on July 31 at Spike’s, the open-air, beach front bar and grill in Warsaw, and boasts a fantastic line-up of area talent. The Possum Trot Orchestra will start things off with their take on folk and bluegrass. Next up will be Rue Melange’s eclectic mish-mash of styles, and favorite area jam band the Wailhounds will round things off. King herself won’t be performing, but says she might jump on stage to guest on a few songs here and there.

King is the stage manager at Spike’s, and says she’s grateful how enthusiastic everyone involved was about the project, especially Spike’s owner Scott Woods.

Organizing an event like Hopefest requires a lot of work. Bands need to be contacted, schedules worked around, dates and times need to be set. But King tends to downplay that side of things, and even her own role in it. As she explains it, she simply saw a need, a chance to give back a little something to the teacher who inspired her, and maybe pass on a little bit of the passion she feels about music to another young musician.

“It’s sad, because I remember the Waawaasee school district was nationally recognized for its band and choir,” she says. “I’m sure it’s the same in a lot of schools, with funding for arts programs being cut. But so many times people sit around and don’t do anything about it. I just decided it was time to do something.”

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.