How did Olympia native Derik Nelson wind up as the lead guitarist on the TV show “Glee”?
One factor was his loyalty to his bandmates.
Nelson, who’ll perform Friday (Aug. 7) at Capital Mall with siblings Dalten and Riana, appeared in five seasons of the Golden Globe-winning Fox show, and it all started with an audition for a single episode.
Not long after graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in popular music, Nelson heard about a television show that was looking for a band. When he called about an audition for his band, the casting director told him the auditions were only for individual musicians.
“I told all the guys in my band, ‘Hey, we got the audition,’ ” Nelson said in a phone interview last week. “We all showed up, and before she could put up a fight, we were all set up and ready to play.”
The band didn’t get the gig, but the casting director called a few weeks later and offered Nelson the guitarist role on “Glee.”
“She said, ‘You stuck out in my mind because of the importance you placed on the friendships with your band members, and those are the kind of people we like to work with,’” said Nelson, a Capital High graduate who splits his time between Los Angeles and Olympia.
The role was supposed to be just for one episode at the end of season two, but Nelson wound up working for the rest of the series, which ended in March.
He and siblings, also Capital High graduates, are now performing together and working on their first album.
“It’s pop-folk music with a focus on three-part harmony,” Nelson said. “We do music in the style of John Mayer, Fleetwood Mac, Crosby Stills & Nash — it’s kind of a ’70s acoustic sound that’s been brought into the 21st century.”
Nelson grew up performing with Capital Playhouse and Harlequin Productions, as well as with the Capital High drama department. He also worked behind the scenes at the playhouse as a sound designer and sound engineer.
“I am very grateful for all of the arts opportunities that were available to me here,” he said.
The Nelsons’ concert kicks off the mall’s summer Concerts In The Promenade series, intended to raise money and awareness for the American Red Cross.
“We are super-excited,” said Kayla Waldron, the mall’s marketing director. “It’s an opportunity for Capital Mall and our owners, Starwood Retail Partners, to give back to the community.”
CONCERTS IN THE PROMENADE
What: Capital Mall offers a free outdoor concert series with Washington artists, starting with Derik Nelson & Family. Nelson was the lead guitarist on the TV show “Glee.”
Where: Capital Mall on the promenade next to Chico’s, 625 Black Lake Blvd., Olympia.
When: From 3-8 p.m. Fridays Aug. 7-28.
Also: Bring a chair and money to buy food from local food trucks; a portion of proceeds will go to the American Red Cross. There also will be a silent auction happening all month long to benefit the Red Cross.
3-5 p.m. every week: Rhythm Fire School of Music and Performance.
6-8 p.m. Friday (Aug. 7): Derik Nelson & Family, based in Olympia, performing both original pop and covers.
6-8 p.m. Aug. 14: Free Rain, a Seattle band covering dance music past and present.
6-8 p.m. Aug. 21: Soul Siren, a Northwest cover band playing music from the ’60s to the present.
6-8 p.m. Aug. 28: Jones & Fischer, a Seattle country band.