SoundBoard features Beneke

Elena Amesbury

Tom Beneke, the winner of LU Live, was featured Sunday in this year’s second installment of SoundBoard. SoundBoard kicked off two weeks ago with Mark Johnson hosting.
Skyler Silvertrust and now-graduated Paul Solomon brought SoundBoard to campus last year, an idea which musician Jon Brion conceived and still continues in Los Angeles.
SoundBoard’s goal, as projected by Silvertrust, is to have a “weekly place, kind of like Jazz night, where musicians rather than bands can collaborate.”
Sophomore Christie McCowen, an attendee of Sunday’s SoundBoard, commented, “It’s great how it acts as stable programming for the musicians on campus.”
For the uninitiated, in each weekly SoundBoard, a musician from campus – either student or alumnus – plays onstage at the coffeehouse for about an hour. Usually the musician will have a set to play, but occasionally they will take requests from the audience.
Often other musicians are “randomly” pulled from the audience to play a song with the host. For example, during the inaugural performance, Mark Johnson sang “Baby You Can Drive My Car” with Silvertrust, Julie DeBoer and Patrick Ehlers.
Sunday’s musician, Tom Beneke, won LU Live, Lawrence’s annual talent competition. Silvertrust heard him play and worked to get him on SoundBoard.
Beneke’s bluesy slide guitar style set was peppered with songs from artists such as Robert Johnson, Harry Davis and Sarah Armour.
Beneke is especially talented at “taking lyrics from other songs and writing a new song around the lyrics. It’s taking something old and making it new,” said McCowen.
The typical atmosphere at SoundBoard is laid back, and in attendance are the usual bunch of regulars and the mandatory friends of the performer.
Because the venue serves beverages and is right downstairs from the grill, it is easy to grab something to munch on, sit back and listen. Homework is not discouraged.
SoundBoard “regular” Sarah Page enjoys the event because “it’s nice to see talented musicians from school.”
Next week’s guest will be one of the founders of SoundBoard, alumnus Paul Solomon.
For more information about performing in or lending a hand with SoundBoard, contact Skyler Silvertrust at skyler.j.silvertrust@lawrence.edu.

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