Riverton student's tweets persuade Dashboard Confessional guitarist to return to Utah

Published: Thursday, Oct. 21 2010 7:36 p.m. MDT

RIVERTON — It all started with a tweet.

Dawson Oler, a senior at Riverton High School, is a big fan of the rock band Dashboard Confessional. He had the opportunity to meet members of the band after some recent Utah shows, including lead guitarist John Lefler at a local music store.

Sometime after that, Dawson sent a message to Lefler through his Twitter account. The musician tweeted back.

"I got, maybe a year ago, one from Dawson, and I thought he said something funny, and I wrote back to him," Lefler said.

Additional tweets were exchanged until one day Dawson decided to ask Lefler if he would be willing to return to Utah to perform at a charity concert he was organizing.

To his surprise, Lefler eventually agreed.

"I truly did not expect him to," Dawson said. "I thought he would say, 'I have a lot of stuff going on,' "

It took a while to make all the arrangements, but today, Lefler will be playing at the Davis High School auditorium in Kaysville. The concert couldn't be held in Riverton, because of homecoming activities that weekend at the school.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit Operation Smile, an organization that operates on kids with cleft lips and palettes in Third World countries. Dawson is president of Riverton High's Operation Smile club, which helps raise awareness and money for the organization.

Admission to the concert is $5. Lefler will be playing music from his new solo album, "Better by Design."

Dawson hopes for a big crowd.

"If we can get 100 people at $5 per ticket, that's $500; and each surgery that Operation Smile performs is $240, usually," he said.

Lefler said he is happy to come back to Utah. He's been here with Dashboard Confessional several times. "It's always probably one of the best stops we have on any tour," he said.

Students at Riverton High are excited for the concert, too.

"He's kind of like alternative rock, and he's playing an acoustic show, so it will be very intimate," said student Mason Stott. "It's going to be great!"

And Lefler is pretty impressed that a high school student made it all happen.

"Dawson seems very passionate about it. The fact that he's been asking me for over a year says a lot," the musician said.

The concert at 325 S. Main in Kaysville begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds go directly to Operation Smile. Local artist John Allred will also be performing.

e-mail: abutterfield@desnews.com

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