Concerts reflects on semester

Lily Bohlke

bohlkeli@grinnell.edu

UNiiQU3, Gallant, OOFJ, Field Report and the many other concerts in Gardener Lounge this year did not come together on their own. Concerts committee, headed by Concerts Chair Mark Spero 16 and Assistant Concerts Chair Corey Simmonds ’17, has been working hard all semester to bring these artists to the College.

This semester concerts committee brought 14 shows to Gardner Lounge. All of the shows were free and open to the public. Over the course of the semester, concerts committee came together to get a lot of work done, according to Spero.

“There was a lot to do and stress levels were high,” Spero said. “But from what I’ve heard, people seemed to like the shows. They went well because of the amount of work everyone put in.”

According to Simmonds, the community dynamic of concerts committee made the success of the concerts possible.

“Everybody seems to be having a positive experience,” Simmonds said. “There are conversations when problems come up, and for that reason there is a transparency that lends itself to a cohesive group.”

One of Simmonds’s favorite parts about being on concerts committee is having conversations not about logistics, but about music.

“It’s awesome to watch people’s faces light up when they talk about specific bands or groups,” he said.

This semester was the first time concerts committee had an Assistant Concerts Chair as well as a Concerts Chair. Spero said that the position was created to gradually train the next Concerts Chair and write a handbook that can be used in the future.

“I never trained with a handbook,” Spero said. “I spent all summer going through four years of emails, trying to figure out what it was to run these shows and combining it with my knowledge of doing concerts for three years.”

Simmonds said he thinks this position will make the transition easier.

“What will make it easier is the familiarity,” he said. “There’s an accountability that comes with the job that means you’re at every concert and every meeting and you understand the community well.”

During concerts, even with a well-organized committee, problems can arise and an important part of concerts committee is dealing with these situations, according toSpero. For the past year, there was a speaker that was not working well and would shut off unexpectedly.

“We would run back and forth, wondering if it is going to turn off,” Spero said. “We were able to get a replacement for it, and it is amazing the difference in sound quality. Stuff doesn’t overheat, and everything’s just better.”

Once the committee’s hard work sets things in motion, students show up to the concerts and, according to Spero, seem to really enjoy them.

“I crashed my bike before my two favorite concerts—Gallant and OOFJ,” Spero said. “I really, really enjoyed those even though I was sort of limping around.”

Simmonds agreed that Gallant was one of the concerts he was the most excited about.

“I loved Gallant before and seeing him live was something that I will remember forever,” Simmonds said.

Not only do the artists themselves excite the committee members, according to Spero, the entire process is incredibly interesting.

“I’m an audiophile,” Spero said. “Some of their sound set-ups and musical instruments were really cool.”

Both Spero and Simmonds expect more great concerts next semester, and according to Spero the lineup is about 75 percent ready.

“Details are under lock,” Simmonds said, “but it will be exciting.”