Miller Lite

O.A.R.

O.A.R.

Performances

September 10 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard
September 10 - 4:00 PM @ AmFam House Stage

O.A.R.

O.A.R. might just be music’s biggest best kept secret. The platinum-certified Rockville, MD band has quietly sold out Madison Square Garden twice, filled Red Rocks Amphitheater a dozen times, earned platinum and gold plaques, lit up the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, and built one of the most committed fanbases in the world. The group—Marc Roberge [lead vocals, guitar], Richard On [lead guitar, backing vocals], Chris Culos [drums], Benj Gershman [bass], and Jerry DePizzo [saxophone, guitar, backing vocals] accompanied by Mikel Paris [keys, backing vocals, percussion], and Jon Lampley [trumpet, backing vocals]—ring in 25 years together by strengthening this special bond with audiences everywhere. 

“When we were kids during summer, we’d hijack a minivan from one of our moms, head to the local amphitheater, and watch our favorite bands,” recalls Marc. “On the way, I’d look out the window and think, ‘I’d like to be in a band that gives this to people’. We’ve got an original crew. It’s like Stand By Me, The Goonies, or Stranger Things. We put the essence of neighborhood friends into our songs.”

The implications of this secret have become downright mythic over the years. As legend has it, O.A.R. took the stage for the first time at the eighth grade talent show. “That is still one of my proudest moments,” grins Marc. “I love the fact we had the guts to do it.” A few years down the road, Jerry joined the fold at the Ohio State University. While in high school, Marc instituted a sales rep program, asking friends who had gone away to college to sell boxes of CDs and document the names and emails of each buyer, attracting a grassroots following. Tens of thousands of hours later, they sold out Madison Square Garden for the first time in 2006 only to repeat this feat one year later. Along the way, two singles—“Love and Memories” and “Peace”—and the live album Any Time Now went gold as “Shattered” achieved platinum status. The 2011 anthem “Heaven” emerged as their most successful song on the West Coast. 2019’s The Mighty marked the group’s third consecutive Top 15 debut on the Billboard Top 200. Piquing the curiosity of media, they’ve incited think pieces by everyone from the New York Times to Sports Illustrated and performed on The Today Show, The Tonight Show, Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Special Olympics Opening Ceremony, the ESPYS, and more. They have done it on their own terms.

“We’ve always had an independent spirit,” affirms Jerry. “The crowds give us the energy to forge our own path. We’re not beholden to traditional cycles, schedules, or any of that bullshit. We contribute a soundtrack to people’s lives, and take a lot of pride in it. Internally, we’re a cottage industry. This is a small business run by five friends, and we do it daily. It comes down to always super-serving the crowd.

We put ourselves in a fan’s shoes, think about what we would want from our favorite band, and do our best to execute that.”

The ardor and adulation of the fan community comes through loud and clear among forums of diehards. Beyond indulging this community, O.A.R. gives back as well. The band’s Heard The World Fund supports youth, education, and the under-served in the United States, raising, and contributing millions to benefit various schools, students, and organizations. They established a scholarship at their alma mater, the Ohio State University, and provide scholarships to veterans and gold star families via Folds of Honor. The Concert For Dreams, performed at NYC’s famous Beacon Theater, raised north of $1 million for Garden of Dreams. Additionally, the band has gone to bat for causes, including Connor’s Cure to stand up to pediatric cancer. They raised and donated $100,000 for the Jimmy V Foundation.

“We feel a moral obligation to help,” adds Jerry.

At the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, O.A.R. engaged listeners in a different way. The frontman launched “I Feel Home with Marc” on Instagram Live, playing acoustically, communicating from the heart, and bringing a little light to the world. Impressively, he drew tens of thousands of viewers on a regular basis. 

“I didn’t want to do it,” he admits. “Then, everything changed. My daughter asked, ‘Hey, are you going to sing songs again? Are you going to write?’ So, I thought, ‘I’m going Live. Let’s give it a swing’. I’m sitting in the house, playing guitar, and it’s like getting on stage at a little club or a bar. We all need to be together even if we can’t do so in-person. I fell in love with the process.”

In the end, the bigger this secret gets, the more special it becomes.

“We’re in a constant state of appreciation,” Marc concludes. “This isn’t something we have to do; it’s something we get to do. It comes from a pure place of imagination. O.A.R. is not only a declaration that we’re here, but that we’re going through what you’re going through. To all of us, O.A.R. is a stable, concrete foundation. We’re all doing this for the right reasons, and we’re a family.”

“Each day since I was five-years-old, I’ve woken up and chased my dream,” Jerry leaves off.

“This is a manifestation of the same dream. We won’t ever take it for granted.”

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