By Connie Leinbach and Peter Vankevich
Take 2, the singing duo of twin young men from Manchester, Vermont, were the big celebrities on Ocracoke on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old duo, who have competed on the X Factor and The Voice, were on the island to share their love of singing and promote music during their “Dream Big Tour” launched in September.
They met with students at the school to discuss and play music, gave two interviews at the island’s radio station, one for the new show Island Girl Talk, co-hosted by students Maren Donlon and Emilia Jordan. In the evening they performed a concert in the school gym with part of the proceeds benefiting the school.
An important reason for this tour is to draw attention to the importance of music as part of a school’s curriculum.
“We attended schools as kids growing up that didn’t plug music as we would like and a lot of music programs get cut, especially in Vermont where we are from,” said Adrian. “Our message is to let kids follow their dreams and get music into schools. We want to inspire kids to pick up an instrument.”
“So awesome” was Julian’s response when he heard how the Ocracoke community rallied to successfully restore the arts program at the school that was cut for one year due to budget reasons.
The boys, who graduated from high school in June, began their singing careers early, their mother Heather explained while the twins performed on the Ocracoke School gym stage Tuesday night before about 80 students and adults.
“We always sang around the kitchen table,” she said.
Then, when the boys were in third grade, their school had a performance time called “Lunch Box Special” where the kids could perform during lunch. Adrian and Julian sang funny songs.
“They got people laughing and they liked that,” she said. “It was all about laughing.”
Then, one day, they sang “Little Surfer Girl” and all the harmonies, she said, and that was the start of their musical avocation.
They then taught themselves the ukulele, guitar and the piano by watching YouTube videos, she said.
When they were 14, they were among more than 100,000 auditioning acts for X Factor, she said, and they made it into the “boot camp” round, which was the top 100.
“Their first television appearance was in the world premiere of an X Factor commercial during the 2011 World Series,” she said.
“All of these little things kept escalating,” Heather said about the successes of last few years. Their music videos have generated more that 2.5 million views on YouTube.
The family, whose father Gordon also helps with the promoting the act, live in Manchester, which is in southern Vermont and has a population of 805.
Before graduating from high school this year, the twins toured 44 schools in the spring semester.
They had so much fun that they’ve decided to chase their biggest dream–to tour in every major city in the United States.
In the duo’s tour, they give daytime concerts in schools and share their experiences in the music business with kids of all ages and sing original tracks from their debut album of original songs “End of the Night.”
From Ocracoke, they will travel to Florida for several performances then take a break.
“We tour for three weeks and then go home for a week,” Heather said about this fall’s activities.
In January, the boys will be on their own touring. Next September, they are considering enrolling at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida to study music production.