Word of Mouth band hits a note with dental students

Tarwinder Rai - 22 January 2015

When Stephen Allred and his friends got together for a musical jam session during their first year of dentistry school, it was to escape the stress of studying. Little did the quartet realize that they'd end up forming a band, meeting a Nashville music producer and that they would become a popular choice for providing entertainment at events.

More importantly, they didn't realize that through their music they would end up forming lifelong friendships.

Rightly titled, Word of Mouth is a folk-rock music group that has band members Allred on lead vocals and the banjo, Donald Simonara playing the mandolin, Josh Luebbert on guitar, and Lauren Mcleod hitting a high note with the violin.

"We folkify current music," says Allred, adding the group can on occasion be heard performing outside the Strathcona Farmer's Market on Saturdays. "The people at Starbucks love having us play just outside their shop."

While the group learned and experienced many new things, being approached by the Nashville producer beats them all.

"The producer heard us during an open mike night and asked if we had ever thought about recording. We said no because our classes keep us so busy. But, if we were to ever release an album we'd call it 'These teeth wear crowns,'" Allred joked.

Now in their fourth-year and preparing for graduation, Allred says the group often plays whenever the opportunity arises.

"We're preparing for our final dentistry exam," he said. "It (playing music together) is a good way to spend time with the people in your class that's not related to dentistry."

Allred is no stranger to the performing arts scene. He not only writes songs for the band, but he's also an actor. He's performed in musicals like Drowsy Chaperone and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Most recently, this past holiday season, he performed in West Side Story at Festival Place.

"Performing is something I love doing personally. You experience a sense of freedom in your artistic performance," added Allred. "Whether or not we decide to go further, it's fun to be creative."