Riverton teen recruits rock star for charity concert

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RIVERTON -- For only $5, you can see the lead guitarist from the band Dashboard Confessional live in concert Friday night, and you can thank a high school student from Riverton for bringing the musician to Utah.

Since 1982, Operation Smile has provided free surgeries for over 150,000 children.

Dawson Oler is a big fan of Dashboard Confessional and the president of the Operation Smile club at Riverton High school. He worked for over a year to get the band's lead guitarist from the band to play here, all to raise money for the charity.

You may not know John Lefler by name, but you've probably heard him play the guitar before.

"When you say Dashboard Confessional, it usually gets people's attention," Dawson said.

Dawson wanted to hold a charity concert for his Operation Smile club, so he got on Lefler's Twitter page and sent him a tweet.

Operation Smile Benefit Concert
Featuring John Lefler
Friday October 22
Davis High School, 325 South Main St., Kaysville
Tickets: $5.00 at the door

"I got, maybe a year ago, [a tweet] from Dawson, and I thought, ‘He said something funny.' And I wrote back to him," Lefler told KSL News during a phone interview.

The two tweeted back and forth, and Dawson asked Lefler to come to Utah to play.

"I truly did not expect him to. I thought he would say, ‘I have a lot of stuff going on,'" Dawson said.

But Lefler said yes, and he'll be in Utah Friday to play. All the money raised during the concert will go to Operation Smile -- an organization that performs reconstructive surgeries free of charge on children with cleft lips and palettes in third-world countries.

"If we can get 100 people at $5 per ticket, that's $500," Dawson said. "Each surgery that Operation Smile performs is $240, usually."

Lefler said he is happy to come back to Utah -- he's been here before with Dashboard Confessional. "It's always probably one of the best stops we have on any tour," he said.

But for this concert, Lefler will play solo.

"He's kinda like alternative rock; and he's playing an acoustic show, so it will be very intimate. It's going to be great," said Riverton High student Mason Stott.

Lefler said he is pretty impressed a high school student made this happen.

"Dawson seems very passionate about it. The fact he's been asking me for over a year says a lot," Lelfer said.

The concert will be held Friday in Kaysville at Davis High School. That's because this weekend is Riverton's homecoming and the auditorium wasn't available for the concert.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. and costs $5. Local artist John Allred will also be performing.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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