Banding Together

Senior Margaret Wilkerson´s band, Furthest Point, explores a unique way to reach those in crisis

Joshua+Hezel%2C+Zach+Daubert%2C+Margaret+Wilkerson%2C+and+the+rest+of+their+band+music-make+in+harmony+on+the+night+of+their+Red+Cross+fundraiser.

Photo courtesy of Margaret Wilkerson

Joshua Hezel, Zach Daubert, Margaret Wilkerson, and the rest of their band music-make in harmony on the night of their Red Cross fundraiser.

By Essy Ingram, Francis Howell Central High School

The night dims its sound and light to make way for a new flavor of ambiance. Metallic strings and dense speakers buzz freely in the basement air like static energy. Closer to the source of soft lavender beams, senior Margaret Wilkerson stands among her band mates, a guitar slung about her middle, microphone in hand; she is poised for action. And it begins.

They embark on their own rhythms, positioning themselves according to the noise they intend to achieve. It’s a cacophony, but something about the sum of each person’s unique cadence makes sense over the humming of the speakers.

Although difficult, each of the five members takes time out of their lives to be able to contribute their own sounds to their band, Furthest Point.

“We’re all kind of young and we’re all very busy and have jobs, so it’s kind of difficult to really get together and fully mesh with each other,” Wilkerson explained.

However, when the time comes to assemble again, they pick up right from where they were.

“We’re very separate and sort of always doing our own thing, but when we’re all doing our own thing in the same room, it sort of comes together,” lead singer Zach Daubert said.

The shared compatible chemistry between band mates was developed as friendships were created.

“I think we’ve all been friends for so long and [we] respect each other as creative people that we all kind of just have fun with it,” Wilkerson said.

Various inside sources concluded that the atmosphere of the band is not unlike that of a family.

“Zach and Sam are the oldest ー they’re both college [aged] and then it’s me, Everett, and Josh that are all in high school. It’s kind of like they’re our gay dads and they’re trying to get us to play music,” Wilkerson said.

Within the band, the members take on a plethora of roles. Wilkerson explains her ever-changing part.

“I’m a rhythm guitarist, mainly, and I play lead on a couple songs, and I play tambourine on one. Whatever we need to do, I’ll fill in the role,” Wilkerson said. “I’m also kind of the main person that, if something breaks and everyone’s panicking, … [I’ll] pull out duct tape and just be like ‘Okay, everyone calm down. We’re gonna just wrap it up and keep going’.”

Daubert, originator of Furthest Point, also takes on a few parts, collaborating with bassist Joshua Hezel on poster and merch design as well as songwriting.

“I’d say I write about 85% of our songs and the rest is our bassist, Josh. I like writing the songs because it feels good to express my feelings in words, but also it feels good when something I write comes together and everyone’s playing it,” Daubert explained.

The past year has been one of developing the band and setting up more events for anyone to come and enjoy their music. In the week prior to January 24, 2020, the band promoted an event on their Instagram (@furthestpointband) concerning a basement show where all proceeds were to be donated to the Australian Red Cross. The members found many ways to make profit.

“[Tickets were], you know, kind of pay what you want. We had a big bucket and we donated all the profits to the Australia fund,” Wilkerson said.

Making and selling merchandise was another medium of money-making that they weren’t afraid to get creative with.

“We just bought a bunch of white shirts and we sat there for four hours, hand-painting every one, and it took us so long … I think it was worth it,” Wilkerson explained.

Deciding where to donate the money wasn’t a difficult task. The idea of the Australian humanitarian aid was suggested by Daubert and unanimously supported among Furthest Point.

“[The] benefit show in January was during the peak of the Australian fires … We had made it known prior to that that we were supporting Australia… so it just made sense to give the money to the Australian Red Cross,” Daubert said.

This benefit wasn’t the first time they had transferred their profit to a charity. At a show last year, they donated most of the profits to a domestic violence cause.

“[Our cause] is just whatever thing, at the time, is affecting the world the most or hurts our hearts the most … and there’s a lot of people hurting in Australia so we might as well help as much as we can, even though it’s only a little bit of money,” Wilkerson said.

Evidently, it was easy enough to become passionate about the cause.

“We were all like ‘All right, we’re gonna get an Australian calendar, we’re gonna get a flag. We’re gonna put it in the back’ … We still have the flag up in the back,” Wilkerson said, laughing.

More often than not, young adults are told they aren’t old enough to make an impact just yet. This untruth can be easily disproved when one looks at the work ethic in groups like Furthest Point. Supporting these groups in one’s community could be the droplet of water needed to create a lasting ripple effect. The proceeds of the show amounted to $130 at the end of the night, which was all given to the Australian Red Cross.

“We just thought that we had a chance to do something little so we might as well make somewhat of a difference even though it’s not huge,” said Wilkerson.

According to Daubert, all that’s really needed to make a change is the will to do so.

“Your actions always have impact, whether you see it or not,” Daubert said. “And I think it’s important to keep going at it no matter what because impact and change won’t happen without action.”

Wilkerson discovered that she could find somewhere to make a difference, even though it was beyond her comfort zone.

“I struggled for a long time, getting out there and doing things and being a person, and then [Furthest Point] gave me the opportunity to have fun … and not be scared of things anymore,” Wilkerson shared.

Using high school as an excuse to claim oneself as useless is to no one’s benefit. The student themself will lose important opportunities to find their preferred niche.

“I think it’s really important to take as many risks as can while you’re in high school because it’s a time when you have a lot more freedom and ability to be stupid that you don’t get after you’re out,” Wilkerson said.

Taking advantage of every way to get involved during these last years can contribute to these positive ripples, and the ripple can only continue to have a positive impact if more people can stand behind a movement and create the momentum needed for change. An easy and potentially enjoyable way to take part in said momentum is to support bands in one’s community.

“If you’re into music, [you’ve] really gotta check out your local scene! Find concerts on Facebook or Instagram and start going to people’s basements. The best music you’ll hear is right down the street … You just gotta look for it,” Hezel said.

This story was originally published on FHC Today on April 9, 2020.