Proceeds will also benefit
local humane society

AUBURN—Concerts for a Cause, the new concert series at Auburn’s First Universalist Church, Unitarian Universalist will host Bold Riley, a local folk group known across southern Maine for its soaring vocal harmonies and diverse instrumentation.

The concert, to be held at the church on the corner of Pleasant, Elm and Spring Streets at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 6, will  raise funds to help the church promote more community-related activities, such as Concerts for a Cause, as well as for the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society (formerly know as Lewiston-Auburn SPCA). The GAHS functions to protect animal rights and welfare and shelter stray animals in their state-of-the-art facility in Lewiston.

In a message the members of Bold Riley expressed their excitement over being part of this Concerts for a Cause. “One of our missions as a band has been to do as much as possible to give back to the community that provides so much support and joy for our music.  We are delighted to be included amongst the other performers in this series, but even more delighted to know that our music can contribute to the well-being of this community—especially those among us without a voice.  We love our own furry companions and are excited to help support the great works of the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society.”

 Bold Riley is comprised of artist-educators Dennis Boyd, Jr., Julia Edwards, and Michael Hayashida as well as John Gunn, a research ecologist studying forests and climate change, and Erin Sampson, a consultant to the textile industry. The band started as a simple music project among friends, but quickly gained momentum thanks to the group’s contagious enthusiasm and commitment to bringing joyful acoustic folk music to the greater community. The quintet’s goosebump-inducing vocal blend has enchanted audiences from Harrison’s Deertrees Theatre to pubs and concert halls up and down the coast of Maine.

Andrew Harris, artistic and executive director of Deertrees Theatre, characterized Bold Riley as “the kind of musical group that adds lines to your face…in the very best possible way. They are accomplished musicians, with an exciting repertoire which appeals to a broad audience.”

Dennis Boyd, Jr. plays bass and sings for Bold Riley.  Boyd is the director of choirs for the Oxford Hills School District for grades 7-12. In addition, he serves as the Choral Vice President for Maine Music Educators’ Association and president-elect for the American Choral Directors Association of Maine. Having come from a musical family, Boyd grew up watching his dad play guitar for many years, so it is only fitting that he joins Bold Riley in sharing that passion. Previous to Bold Riley, Boyd was in the vocal band, Sidecar Heroes, where he honed his vocal and arranging chops.

Julia Edwards offers vocals, guitar, accordion and the occasional addition of joyful tambourine. During the day, Julia teaches choral music at RSU 16 in Poland, but her other loves include playing the oboe, spending time with family, learning about science, and spreading enthusiasm for learning. When it comes to musical influences, Julia’s are eclectic. At any given moment she could be listening to Peter, Paul, and Mary, the Indigo Girls, Radiohead, Bach, Copland—all of these fuel her love for music.

John Gunn’s musical heroes include Pete Seeger and the Kingston Trio. His clawhammer-style banjo playing draws from the folk revival period and Appalachian traditional music. John sometimes rounds out the Bold Riley sound with percussion on the Irish bodhran and the cajon—a popular box drum that approximates a full drumset sound without the full drumset.

Michael Hayashida plays guitar, fiddle and sings in Bold Riley. When he was in third grade he got goosebumps when two sixth-graders sang harmony at a talent show. When he was in fourth grade he got goosebumps when his orchestra played Ode to Joy. He continued playing viola in a public school orchestra program, learned guitar after college, became an engineer, almost became a minister, almost became a musician, and is now a high school math teacher. He still gets goosebumps a lot, particularly listening to Crooked Still, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, U2, mighty choirs singing spirituals, or any song that grabs onto the human experience and celebrates it.

Erin Sampson sings harmony and the occasional lead for Bold Riley. She grew up singing along with The Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and pulled her early music education from a variety of genres including folk, jazz, and 60s/70s rock. Her childhood love affair with the jazz divas led to a job at Verve Records in New York City,  where she spent countless nights soaking up the city’s rich musical history. She moved back to Casco, Maine seven years ago where she lives with her husband, two children and two dogs.

Concerts for a Cause is a new concert concept started in the autumn of 2016 at the church to bring special concerts to the L/A community while raising money for area charities. The concerts are produced by local musician and church choir director Dave Rowe with a lot of help from a capable committee of church members.

For tickets or more information about this Bold Riley concert and other Concerts for a Cause, visit <> or call the church at 207-783-0461.

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