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Concerts lineup released

By Saiham Sharif

The fall semester concerts lineup features 11 acts from various genres, many of which fall under indie rock or hip-hop, two genres which have typically been the mainstays of music taste at Grinnell for the past few years. Bringing artists that can fulfill everyone’s tastes can be a challenge. This year, the organization used a survey to directly attain student input. According to Luke Jarzyna ’18, the chair of the concerts committee, the survey yielded nearly 600 responses overall, and close to 300 in the first hour.

Concerts Committee has worked to make Gardner a better musical space for shows, learning about the production that goes into each artists’ performance.

“We’re replacing our analog soundboard with a digital soundboard that is a lot more powerful and easier to learn,” said Nate Williams ’20, a sound engineer for the concerts committee.

Dwynell Roland and Trapo, two young rappers, started off the semester last Friday, Aug. 25.

“I thought [the show] went great. We had a really good turnout and it was nice to see new faces,” Williams said. “It seemed like there were a lot of first years there.”

The show ended with a dance party, a serendipitous element of the concert.

Ric Tennenbaum ’18, outreach coordinator for the concerts committee, has new promotion strategies in store. In the past, Concerts has tabled during lunch the day of a concert, advertised with posters across campus and used social media to spread word of upcoming shows. Student support is essential to the success of concerts. Artists Steven Duong ’19 and Judith Tong ’20 have helped design posters for this semester’s shows. Although there were 15 concerts last fall, there are only 11 concerts this fall with the hope that fewer shows will encourage more to attend.

From now until the end of the semester, students can expect to enjoy some stellar performances. One act to watch out for is Lavender Country on Sept. 30, an openly gay singer. He is 70 years old and could likely be the oldest performer to ever play at Grinnell.

“I connected with a Grinnell alum, who is the manager of Lavender Country, and she said let’s make a Grinnell date happen,” Jarzyna said. “We’re hoping to do a kind of queer history/queer folk tradition programmatic event surrounding this queer country music.”

This particular show will hold another Grinnell connection: former GWSS professor AJ Lewis will do a banjo act with Lavender.

Meklit Hadero, an Ethiopian-American artist, sings in multiple languages and is also coming to Grinnell for a concert as well as an event with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which will be held the day of her performance, Sept. 27.

Jarzyna has been working with Freesound liaison Vera Kahn ’19 to cultivate a stronger relationship between the concerts committee and student performers on campus.

“We have a lot of talented musicians on campus and I hope to include more students acts and openers,” Jarzyna said.

Squirrel Flower, the performance name of Ella Williams ’19, will open on Nov. 6 for Lucy Dacus, an indie-rock musician from Virginia. These shows provide a unique opportunity for students to play with big artists.

As the winter begins, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, a multi-instrumentalist musician from Chicago, will play the final show of the semester on Dec. 1. His vibrant but experimental style of music will likely resonate with many students.

“Ultimately, I really do think that Concerts provides a unique space for Grinnell students to experience live music as a community and it’s my goal and intention to foster that community through any means that I can — not only by bringing the artist, but also making sure that everyone feels invited,” Jarzyna said. “And I think that the additional programming will give people a better reason to go.”

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