‘Dispatch’ Lead Plays Pub

‘Braddigan’ entertains the Thursday-night Queen’s Head crowd

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Kevin Martinez

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Former Dispatch member Brad Corrigan performed in a crowded Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub last night, in a set interspersed with testimonies from victims of spinal cord injuries.

Corrigan—along with the two other members of his new “solo-act” band, Braddigan—performed for Harvard Concert Commission’s (HCC) “Rock for a Reason.” In addition to playing a mix of Braddigan and Dispatch songs, the group aimed to increase awareness about spinal cord injuries.

“I want to draw in students who just want to hear some music,” Corrigan said in an interview earlier this week, “and [they] might hear a story that could change their life.”

The performance aimed to publicize the upcoming launch of SPINALpedia, a Web site for spinal cord injury victims created by Brittany J. Martin ’08. The site plans to show videos of paraplegics and quadriplegics demonstrating how they perform everyday tasks.

“My goal was to create a support resource that uses the power of people’s injuries to motivate people with new injuries to adapt their lives,” Martin said.

SPINALpedia is being developed by Martin and two other Harvard students, Elizabeth A. Kolbe ’08 and Madeleine E. Ballard ’11.

After a 45-minute set, Corrigan introduced Kolbe and Martin’s father, Paul Martin, who are both quadriplegics. The pair spoke about their experiences living with spinal cord injuries and the importance of having a support network. The band then concluded the night with another set of music.

Kolbe, who was injured at age 14, said that she was thrown into a new environment—one in which she didn’t even know how to tie her shoes.

Kolbe told the crowd that the Web site will help answer questions like, “How do you wear the right prom dress so that it doesn’t get caught in your wheels when you dance?”

Paul Martin described his feelings of hopelessness after being paralyzed in a car accident. While in rehab, he was inspired by a fellow quadriplegic, who was able to open and drink a bottle of water on his own.

“Right then, I knew I wanted to survive,” he said.

Paul Martin first met Corrigan when they were speaking at the same event about drug and alcohol awareness last year.

“We had such an incredible time together,” Corrigan said.

With Dispatch, Corrigan often performed in the Boston area, and he said the city was where “we really cut our teeth as a band and built our fan base.”

When he first heard that Martin’s daughter went to Harvard, he expressed interest in performing on campus.

“I was like, ‘Oh man, I’m there,’” he said.

Corrigan emphasized that the Pub show was primarily aimed to share the stories told by Kolbe and Martin.

“As a musician, I love stories that are real,” Corrigan said, “and there’s nothing more real than someone sitting in a wheelchair, saying that there’s always hope.”

—Staff writer Sue Lin can be reached at suelin@fas.harvard.edu. —Staff writer Arianna Markel can be reached at amarkel@fas.harvard.edu.