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Concert carried somber message

It was music with a message.

Aberdeen Green, featuring Culpeper’s Carley Chilton, released the duo’s first album, “The Oak Tree,” Thursday night at a reception at Culpeper’s State Theatre.

On stage, Aberdeen Green, along with Jessica Cayne and Alexa, wowed a packed house with original songs and great harmony.

The show and reception was part of a three-week summer tour by the four up-and-coming Nashville musicians.

But this was a show with a message.

The tour is sponsored in part by Dan Harrington’s “Help Save the Next Girl” nonprofit organization.

Harrington is the father of 20-year-old Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who disappeared during a Metallica concert in Charlottesville in October 2009. Her remains were found in Albemarle County three months later and authorities say she was murdered.

Harrington spoke about the program’s mission onstage and on a one-to-one basis with patrons at the CD release reception.

“Young women need to look out for each other,” Harrington said. “They should not let alcohol or drugs cloud their judgment and they should always let their friends know where they are.”

It is unclear how Morgan Harrington left that Charlottesville concert or with whom she went.

Her killer or killers have never been brought to justice.

“That night everything went wrong,” Harrington said.

“Help Save the Next Girl” uses social media to raise awareness about the perils that can befall young women.

“We’ve had great letters from families telling us that we have helped,” Harrington said.

The initial chapter of “Help Save the Next Girl” was formed at Virginia Tech, but now there are chapters at Clemson, Michigan State and Sweetbriar, Harrington said. There are also chapters at two state high schools.

Cayne sang an original song, “Pretty Girl,” dedicated to the memory of Morgan Harrington.

While the message was somber, the music was bright and bouncy. Cayne, who appeared on “The Voice” two years ago, set the early tone with her powerful voice and commanding stage presence.

Alexa smoothed the session with her ballads and keyboard ability but it was Aberdeen Green—Chilton and Amanda McIntosh—who gave the home folks something to scream for.

The show, which also featured percussionist Pino Squillace, was part of the “Other Side of 615” tour that included stops from Pennsylvania to Atlanta.

Donnie Johnston: