Concert to Honor Valley Teen and Benefit His Memorial Scholarship
Published on October 31, 2012
Hunter Tompkins, a student in the Midd-West Area School District, will present a concert on Nov. 2 honoring her late friend Brandon Bitner. Brandon was the Susquehanna Valley teen who, on Nov. 5, 2010, stepped in front of an oncoming tractor trailer along Routes 11 and 15 and took his own life after years of being bullied.
The concert will be held in the Midd-West High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. Nov. 2. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. Admission for children 12 and under is $3. For ticket information, visit www.brandonbitner.com. All proceeds will benefit the Brandon E. Bitner Memorial Scholarship Fund at Susquehanna University, established by Brandon’s family to support the talents of Susquehanna music majors.
Tompkins will be presenting the concert Brandon planned more than two years ago as his senior project. “I just really wanted to do this for him,” says Tompkins, a lifelong friend of Brandon’s who is carrying on his love of music by organizing the concert as part of her own senior project. She said she hopes the concert promotes awareness about bullying and suicide, and encourages young people to get involved in music.
Brandon’s mother, Tammy Simpson, said: “I think Brandon would be—and I know I am—thrilled that Hunter is holding this concert in his memory.”
“Brandon planned this concert at the beginning of ninth grade,” Simpson explains. “He made a Web page and invited friends two years in advance. He also made a video to promote the concert. He was very serious about it. He had his songs picked out, the time, the place, even the intermission.”
The concert will be a mix of rock music and classical violin pieces, along with a song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra—the kind of band Brandon dreamed of forming one day to fuel his passion for playing traditional and electric violins. Simpson says Brandon planned on playing all the music on his violin, but because most people don’t play rock music using this medium, most song will be sung. SCANDELLE from the rock/pop/dance band LADYBOI will make a guest appearance as well. One of the band’s debut singles, Halfway to Dawn, was inspired by and dedicated to 14-year-old Brandon, an accomplished violinist who played in what was formerly the Susquehanna University Preparatory Program’s Youth Orchestra.