Senate initiative promotes performing arts across campus

Tyler McNeil

Creative Editor

Student performers are scheduled to showcase their talents across campus starting this semester as part of a recent Student Senate initiative.

“We just wanted to bring the arts to students in a way that’s really accessible, where they don’t have to come at night to a concert. Instead, we wanted to bring the arts directly into students’ lives by being in the common areas between classes,” said Everett McNair, Student Senate president-elect.

McNair and Manik Shibata, student senator, were appointed by Grace Harrison, Senate president, to lead the committee in charge of scheduling the performances, designating locations, and equipping performers.

“If you take a look at it, campus life is pretty dull. It’s pretty anti-social, so that’s the reason why we wanted to do this,” said Shibata. The original appointees both come from musical backgrounds, with Shibata having experience as a singer prior to attending Hudson Valley and McNair having experience as a musician in the Empire State Orchestra. Currently, the committee consists of McNair, Shibata, and Student Senators Deborah Johnson and Brandon Guerette.

Earlier this month, McNair played piano during free pizza Wednesday in the Campus Center in an effort to attract students to perform in the initiative. “I figured, how can I expect other students to perform when I’m not willing to perform?” he said.

The Senate initiative was inspired by Harrison’s educational background prior to attending Hudson Valley. “Since I’ve been involved in Waldorf education and an education that integrates learning through the arts, I wanted to incorporate that into the campus, and I also believe it brings a creative spirit that drives campus spirit,” she said. Harrison mentioned that the performing arts committee and the food pantry committee are two of the most active committees in the Senate this semester.

Performers are given a general 45-minute time limit for performances with prior clearance from a particular site on campus, such as the library or the Campus Center.

About a month and a half ago, freshman student cover artists Rory McAllister and Dante Carr were approached by the performing arts committee. “We’re doing it for the performing arts committee and to support a good cause. The whole point was to get people together on campus,” said Carr.

“I thought it was a great idea, that’s why I was so eager to participate in it. I gave them my e-mail right away,” McAllister said. According to McAllister, out of about 20 students, the cover duo are the only two to have signed up to perform as of yet. “I feel like there should be more people who are into it because I know there’s a lot of people who are musically inclined on campus,” he said.

Harrison said, “Everyone’s happy with just volunteering and playing for our campus.” Stipends were considered for performers, but the initiative was ultimately altered to volunteer work. Performers can collect tips when they perform on campus.

According to Shibata, with two performers scheduled and others expected to come, the efforts of the performing arts committee will continue into the next semester. “It was easy to get to know the performers around campus, but the difficult part is getting them in a schedule and putting them out there,” he said.

Currently, McNair is looking to recruit students from all areas of the performing arts, including acts such as poetry and juggling, which were both featured in this year’s talent show. “We have a lot of talented people with unique skills that they could show off to students for all to hear,” said McNair.

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