Tuck Stocking ’96 and Rock Dojo Students Take the Stage with Noah Kahan
September 07, 2023
Photo credit: Kata Sasvari. Tuck Stocking and his Rock Dojo students on stage with Noah Kahan at the Bank of NH Pavilion.
If you’re a musician in the Upper Valley, then you’ve probably heard about – or if you’re lucky, witnessed – the magic happening for students at Tuck’s Rock Dojo. TA alumnus Tuck Stocking ‘96, described by his wife and business partner Kata Sasvari as a “multi-instrumentalist Vermont boy,” opened the Dojo in 2009 with a mission to “train the Upper Valley’s musical ninjas.” It seems to be working.
Stocking, who, after graduating from TA, formalized his music education at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, now teaches private lessons and runs a performance program for teens from his studio in Etna, NH. A practicing musician himself, Stocking has toured nationally with bands like Syd and The Conniption Fits and Katie Barbato, and has opened for Cake, Hootie and the Blowfish, Big Head Todd and The Monsters, Rusted Root, Boston, and Blue Oyster Cult.
This week, on Sept. 6 and 7, 2023, Stocking’s students were invited to take the stage with another local musician, Noah Kahan, whose journey from Strafford, VT to selling out stadiums all over the country and the world has also inspired young musicians everywhere – but especially here in the Upper Valley. Kahan’s viral single “Stick Season,” particularly resonates – if you know, you know.
Kahan, a graduate of Hanover High school, is a former music student of Stocking’s, playing in the school’s bands before working at the Dojo for several years. It was still a surprise, though, when on a sunny Monday morning in June, Stocking and Sasvari received an invitation for the Dojo bands to join Kahan at one of his tour stops.
Local folks might have seen Stocking’s students performing at events like Lebanon Opera House’s NEXUS Fest, the Quechee Balloon Festival, the Norwich Fair, the Hanover Street Fest, or the CHaD Half Marathon’s main stage. But this week, with Kahan’s invitation, Tuck’s Rock Dojo bands performed at their largest venue yet – the Bank of NH Pavilion in Gilford, NH.
“This event is special, because…well, we get to play at the biggest concert venue in New Hampshire – but we are also part of a huge production. The kids love Noah’s music, so for them to get to play at his concert is mind blowing,” said Sasvari. When Stocking’s students played through their sets together last week, the excitement was “literally touchable and through the roof.”
The performing bands include 11 students from Norwich, Hartford, and Thetford, VT (TA’s own Andre Whiteberg ‘25 on keys!), and Hanover, Lyme, and Ackworth, NH and range in age from 10-18. As they rehearsed, Stocking enlisted guest musicians including Hans Williams, Spencer Bladyka, Stevens Blanchard, and vocal coach Jenn Langhus to help inspire them.
In Gilford, the Dojo bands performed before Kahan’s set on the venue’s Hazy Little Stage. They watched the main stage sound check and learned about how large-scale performances work. “We are always looking to give the kids a variety of experiences, connecting them with their peers and the community through the music they love,” says Sasvari. When Kahan invited the Dojo students to the main stage to join him for “Stick Season,” he gave them one experience they’ll remember forever – performing live in front of 5,000 people.
“Noah’s invitation lifted up the community in so many ways, everyone is very excited for them and the kids have worked really hard to bring their A game to the concert.” Sasvari also noted that this project is supported in part by a team of supportive parents and a grant from Music Helps. For our part, we at TA are both excited and proud – both of our alumnus and “musical ninja” Tuck Stocking ‘96 and of junior Andre Whiteberg, who performed on Wednesday.
Please meet the bands representing the Dojo at the biggest concert venue in New Hampshire at the Noah Kahan Concert.
Lila Bucci (vocals)
Tessa Cullen (vocals, guitar)
Alex Riley (guitar)
Andre Whiteberg, TA ’25 (keys)
Felix DiGeorge (drums)
Gideon Langhus (vocals)
Lanie Goodwin (vocals)
Jacob Vahey (drums, guitar)
Elena Simon (bass)
Henry Souza (drums, bass, guitar)
Tessa Cullen (vocals, guitar)
Jaden Stocking (drums)