Teeter’s musical legacy

Published 10:27 am Thursday, November 18, 2021

By KAREN THIEL

Plenty of tears were shed last weekend, but the smiles, laughs, and “Teeter stories” overflowed as hundreds of area rock music fans gathered to celebrate the life of Michael Vernon Teeter, a popular area rock musician who died suddenly on October 15th at his Washington home. Organizers of the event have already put into motion a plan that will keep the memory of “Teeter” alive and, simultaneously, give new life to the hopes and dreams of area youngsters whose families don’t have the money to help them pursue a future in the music industry.

“By the time he was six years old, Teeter was playing a guitar. He was 57 when he died. It was his life’s dream, and he shared that dream with kids right up to his last gig. We want to make sure that there will be a way for that kind of support to continue,” said Connie Davenport, a longtime friend of the musician and owner of the Market Street Pub, where Teeter’s celebration of life was held.

Davenport and several of his closest friends have already contacted an attorney and a local music store so that a 501c3 non-profit group can be formed that will give grants to youth who meet the financial and talent criteria needed to be part of the program. “It’s going to be called ‘Michael’s Wish’ and is intended to provide instruments and music lessons for children in need. We plan on reaching area school band and music teachers every year to find needy kids whose talent deserves an investment,” she said.

No matter who was interviewed at that gathering, every response included a “Teeter story” and most featured his friendly nature and heart for kids. “He was a rare individual, wide open like sunshine. He just loved everybody. As long as he was playing music with someone, he was happy – especially if he was jamming with a kid,” said Jack Willard, who founded “Rock-d-Pamlico” in 2015, where Teeter was a regular at the events, which were held at the Turnage Theatre. “One of our members had a son on the autism scale, who would come to the jams. He came in with a brand new guitar one day, and Teeter tuned it for him. They were best buddies in about two seconds.”

“His whole thing was about reaching out to the up and coming,” said Washington resident C. Connely Blake, a high school friend of Teeter’s who ended up singing with his band. The celebration of life was her idea. “We want to keep his heart’s fondest goal going with this nonprofit. It will give life to the dreams of kids who deserve it… and keep Teeter alive in its own special way.”