I don’t know about you, but my first instinct when running into young people doing things way better than I can isn’t always healthy (some combination of jealousy, resentment and cranky-old-dudeism). But when I ran into the kids from Pie Corner at the Speedtrap in Palmer Lake in June 2018 (Ashtonz were playing at the Villa right across the street), it was full-on appreciation at first sight.

Named for the Palmer Lake street about 100 feet from where they were playing that night, this teen quartet exuded positive energy and musical chops aplenty … and they were nice (!), with just the right amount of rock and roll attitude.

“They’re all friends who enjoy hanging out, and the music has created a strong bond,” says Katrina Lusk of Palmer Lake, the de facto ‘team mom’ whose daughter Grace handles lead vocals for the band. “They were brought together by music teacher Dennis Sanderson for a recital at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in early 2018 and it went really well. ‘Why stop now?’, they thought, and here we are today with performances at Stargazers, Sunshine Studios, the Briargate and Monument locations of Back East Bar and Grill, The Villa, O’Malley’s and Palmer Lake Pub under their belts. It’s a lot of work for them and the band families, but we want to encourage this healthy outlet for their talents and energies.”

The PC crew (in addition to Grace) consists of Chase Olivier on lead guitar and bass, Rowan Hauck on drums and Max Reisinger on bass and guitar. Grace, Chase and Rowan are all freshmen at Palmer Ridge High and Max is an eighth-grader at Discovery Canyon Middle School. They all play other instruments besides those you’ll see them wield onstage with Pie Corner, and they’re working on original compositions to complement the rock/pop covers that are the band’s staple at present.

“Rowan and Max go way back as friends … well, about as far back as kids in their early teens can go,” says Katrina. “My youngest daughter Quinn and Rowan’s sister Sophia are best friends too, so the connections keep us together in and outside of the musical realm — we even rotate hosting Taco Tuesdays for fun and band practices.”

Katrina credit Dennis Sanderson (owner of Monument Music, a music-instruction school located between Monument and Palmer Lake on Colorado 105) with keeping the kids motivated and focused. “Dennis has the behind-the-scenes MVP in their efforts, providing guidance and great mentorship,” says Katrina. “His energy and enthusiasm make sure it stays fun, too. It’s definitely a family thing; the kids love performing and the parents enjoy being involved, which often means serving as the band’s roadies.”

Aside from our youthful exuberance and abundant musical gifts (wink), Pie Corner and Ashtonz share other common threads: the aforementioned Speedtrap was the site of each of our first public performances in the area (June of last year for PC, April of 2013 for the ’Tonz) and we’re each scheduled to appear there in November. You can catch the kids Nov. 22, with Ashtonz taking the stage there on Black Friday, Nov. 29. Find Pie Corner at Facebook.com/Pie-Corner and at Instagram.com/pie.corner.rocks.

Charlie Searle has lived in Monument since 1994 and is active in a variety of pursuits in the Tri-Lakes area, as his tagline “Meat, Motors, Music, Media” attests. Contact Charlie at AlongTheDivide@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

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