The Youngsters will celebrate music and the ‘connection’ at the Rex with the benefit show on June 16

TJ Murphy, left, and Matt Conway of RecoverYdia outside West High School before a fundraiser for their organization featuring The Youngsters, a group formed by Murphy and his West High School classmates at the era. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – From a quick scan of the headlines of any given day, it becomes clear that our society is falling apart. Individuals are isolated and alienated from each other – issues exacerbated by the pandemic, political wrangling pervasive[1]and a quagmire of violence and selfishness, leading to spikes in addiction and mental illness.

“We all know that something is unraveling and that unraveling transcends politics,” said TJ Murphy, drummer for Manchester band The Youngsters and co-founder of RecoverYdia, a non-profit organization dedicated to using technology. art and storytelling to bring people together. make meaningful human connections.

And one of the ways humans connect is through music.

“I’ve always been drawn to music as a way to bring people together,” said Matt Conway, a Derry native and Murphy’s partner at RecoverYdia. “It’s our common language. It is the Rosetta Stone.

On June 16, The Youngsters, featuring Milford-based folk trio Decatur Creek, will take the stage at the Rex Theater in Manchester to commune and connect using said common musical language.

The Youngsters formed in 1980 when the band members were freshmen at Manchester West High School, and for the past four decades have continued to meet almost every year. Although the musicians live on separate coasts, they find ways to connect and keep playing the music they love.

The band started with guitarists Jeff Guild and Chris Williams, who shared an affinity with classic rock legend Neil Young, hence the band’s name. Afterwards, Murphy joined the couple to “jam until dawn” in their parents’ basement, Murphy said.

The Youngsters perform in 2021 at The Rex for the annual RecoverYdia benefit concert. Photo/Carol Robidoux

And the band was born. The Youngsters then added bassist Chris Fox in the late 80s, rounding out the sound.

In June 2021, after playing their 25th high school reunion at Murphy’s Tavern in Manchester, the Youngsters reunited to play their first show at The Rex in support of 10,000 Candles for New Hampshire, an event organized by Recoverydia to raise awareness of the suffering caused by isolation and to remember loved ones lost to substance abuse and mental health issues.

“It was a great opportunity to bring the 10,000 candle message together with the reunion,” Murphy said.

Matt Conway shows off this year’s Youngsters t-shirt, available for $30 to benefit the work of RecoverYdia. The concert is their main fundraiser for the work they do to tell the stories of those in recovery as a source of hope and inspiration.Photo/Carol Robidoux

Conway – who grew up around music and dabbled in harmonica, guitar and piano – said the show is a microcosm of the message of connection that RecoverYdia shares in New Hampshire communities. “We can come together in love, support each other and know there is hope,” he said. “Hope can be created out of nothing.”

Conway and Murphy began hosting awareness events in 2019 after attending a candlelight vigil in Derry for people who have lost loved ones to addiction. The idea for 10,000 Candles was born out of the two men’s goal to bring together 10,000 people across The Granite State in the communities of Manchester, Nashua, Dover, Derry and Keene to share stories of recovery and music.

“We bring people together for a common cause and to connect the community with music,” Conway said. “The answer is the other.”

Based on the dislocation theory of addiction by psychologist Bruce Alexander, the two founders of RecoverYdia believe that by bringing communities of people together to make the aforementioned connections, hope is engendered and addiction-related suffering and to mental illness can be alleviated or even eradicated.

“We try to lift people’s spirits by being together and enjoying the music,” Murphy said. “We no longer communicate and [humans] are hardwired to commune, as all primitive cultures have.

Matt Conway, left, and TJ Murphy outside West High School, Murphy’s alma mater. They recently took a quick tour of Murphy’s former stomping grounds ahead of the June 16 benefit show at The Rex. Photo/Carol Robidoux

RecoverYdia is non-denominational and all profits raised are donated to 10,000 candles and the organization of future events. “We never took a paycheck,” Murphy said.

As for those consumed by the cynicism that pervades modern times, who remain dubious about the healing powers of human connection, Murphy’s message is simple. “I would tell them ‘I love you and come see us,'” he said.

Conway agrees. “Just go out and connect,” he said.

Tickets for The Youngsters Reunion Benefit featuring Decatur Creek are $25 and can be purchased online or at the Rex Theater box office. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.


[1] In the interest of total candor, this correspondent cannot be excused when it comes to writing cynical or incendiary columns, agitating the political populace and, at times, fanning the flames of negativity. .

Tickets for the June 16 show at the Rex Theater are $25 and available here. Show time is 7:30 p.m.

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